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How Your Dog Can Benefit From Essential Oils
DogsHealth

How Your Dog Can Benefit From Essential Oils

Jack, Critter Culture Staff
Updated Sep 24, 2020

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Essential oils, naturally occurring compounds extracted from various parts of plants, are used as an alternative treatment for sleeplessness, nausea, anxiety, allergies, and pain. Many people are reaping the benefits of essential oils. This holistic approach boasts many health advantages for our canine friends, too.

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Why use essential oils on your dog

Essential oils can help keep your dog happy and healthy. GeorgePeters / Getty Images

Today’s pet owners recognize the many advantages that essential oils have over drugs and harsh chemicals for helping their dogs with various health and emotional issues.

These natural alternatives can treat skin problems, deal with fleas and other parasites, and calm nervous, anxious, and distressed pups. That’s why essential oils are increasingly being used in pet-dedicated care products such as shampoos.

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Essential oils that are great for anxious dogs

Lavender is a popular choice for nervous dogs. w-ings / Getty Images

Lavender is probably one of the best essential oils out there for helping to calm a stressed dog. If your pup suffers from separation anxiety when you go to work, place a few drops in the diffuser before you leave the house to help them feel more relaxed.

Chamomile is another soothing oil that calms the mind and elevates the mood. It makes a useful socialization tool as the scent helps with feelings of nervousness, fear, anger, panic, and restlessness.

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Essential oils that benefit your dog’s skin

Some oils help to relieve sore, itchy skin. magdasmith / Getty Images

Carrot seed oil is particularly great for the skin. It is especially suitable for treating overly dry and flaky skin that is prone to infections. This handy oil also has both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it helps with healing too. Helichrysum oil, with its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, is another excellent oil for relieving skin discomfort in your dog. When rubbed into the appropriate area, it can also reduce tissue inflammation both internally and externally.

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Essential oils that help to improve digestion

Peppermint is an effective digestive aid for dogs and humans alike. kokopopsdave / Getty Images

Peppermint oil is a good digestion aid. It is carminative, which means that it is gas relieving, which is a blessing for you too. It can also counteract nausea and vomiting and help with stinky breath.

Ginger oil is another effective remedy for tummy problems and digestive issues. It’s also an excellent oil to make use of if your pup suffers from motion sickness while in the car.

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Essential oils for dealing with fleas

Natural remedies are excellent against pests. pedrojperez / Getty Images

Eucalyptus oil is an incredibly popular and effective natural remedy for dealing with fleas. Many shampoos created specifically for this purpose contain this helpful essential oil — and it smells great, too.

Cedarwood is another terrific natural pest repellent. It can fight against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and even bed bugs. Lightly mist your pet’s coats with a diluted form of the oil, and they are good to go.

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Essential oils with other benefits

Essential oils have a variety of applications. Christopher Ames / Getty Images

Geranium oil is a potent anti-fungal oil that can soothe skin irritations caused by yeast infections. This oil is also great for treating ear infections and can help keep ticks away too. Niaouli oil has powerful antibacterial properties. It can be used in much the same way as tea tree oil, yet it is far less likely to irritate the skin. It can be applied to disinfecting minor wounds and treating bacterial infections.

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Things to keep in mind when using essential oils on your dog

Dog's noses are incredibly sensitive. Capuski / Getty Images

Many of the essential oils have multiple applications. However, just as with people, every dog is different and will respond differently to various scents and ingredients. You may have to look around a bit to find the best options.

As with any other kind of treatment, it’s always good to consult with your vet before using essential oils. This is especially the case if your dog is pregnant or suffers from any underlying health issues.

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Essential oils to avoid

Make sure the oil is safe for your dog before administering it. gradyreese / Getty Images

Not all essential oils will have the same benefits for dogs as they do for people. While many have been deemed safe for pets, others could trigger various issues, such as allergies or negatively interfere with the body’s natural processes.

You should always carefully research any oil you plan to use and, if in doubt, speak to a vet. Some oils to definitely avoid are tea tree oil, pennyroyal, wintergreen, pine, anise, clove, garlic, horseradish, juniper, thyme, wintergreen, and yarrow.

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Using a diffuser for the essential oil

Aroma oil diffuser lamp on table against blurred background belchonock / Getty Images

Diffusing a scent into the air is a great way to unleash its calming qualities. Just keep in mind that your dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than your own. What may be subtle to you could be overpowering for them. When using an oil for the first time, pay close attention to how your pup behaves. If they seem uncomfortable, you might want to consider reducing the amount of oil or even switching to a different one.

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Applying the essential oil topically or putting it in food

Be careful not to give your dog too much. Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Getty Images

For skin treatments, the best way to administer the essential oil is topically; just make sure to dilute the oil before application. Essential oils need to be mixed with carrier oils. Experts recommend almond, coconut, or apricot kernel oil.

Use between three to six drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil for both topical application. While some essentials are not harmful if ingested, it's best to talk to your vet before feeding your dog essential oils.

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