Posted on December 08 2020
Everywhere we look these days we see essential oils. More of us are turning to natural alternatives to prevent and heal not only ourselves but our beautiful dogs. Which is a wonderful thing! They are smell beautiful (mostly!), they can heal our skin, our ailments, and our emotions. But one thing we forget - although they are natural, they are still chemicals.
Knowing what they are is a good start! Essential oils are extracted from certain volatile compounds within plants. They come from (depending on the type of plant) the leaves, stems, flowers of the plant, or the skin of the fruit. It takes a lot of plant to make the oils – an essential oil is 100 times stronger than its plant source!
We all know how strong our hound’s sense of smell is, they can sniff out a carried BBQ chicken before we come in the door, puffing their cheeks in excitement. They have millions of olfactory sensors which are very susceptible to the particles in odours. Most other breeds you might say that they can’t tell you how they feel, but hound owners will laugh at that.
When using a new blend, watch for their reactions. If they get up and walk out of the room, you know they don’t like it – or maybe it’s just too strong. Dilute it further and try it again. If they still leave the room, they don’t like it or they are having an adverse reaction to it, so you may have to stop using it. We humans can process quite a bit, but animals are much more limited in what is safe for them.
Essential oils are potent for both humans and pets so diluting essential oils is vital! Their little systems can be overwhelmed by the strength of essential oils, and even for us most oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil.
Citrus oils are not safe for dogs. The derivatives of these oils (D-limonene and linalool) are used in many products to control ticks, fleas, and parasites. It is thought to be neurotoxic causing tremors, convulsions, and loss of memory. Whilst your healthcare professional may prescribe it, it is best avoided completely in other situations.
Just watch their reaction if you use a natural insect repellent – it’s the only time Penny & Henry wait patiently by the front door – as far away from us as possible!
When using essential oils around your pet, never spray directly into their face or ears. Always chose the best quality pure essential oils and take notice of any changes or reactions your hound shows.
- Essential oils should never be digested unless under the care of a professional.
- Diffuse oils only for a few hours (3 hours max), then take a break for a while, so as not to overwhelm their systems.
- Essential oils are not safe on puppies 10 weeks and under (or babies).
- This is applicable, even more so for cats. Cats are unable to eliminate essential oil compounds, they store them in their bodies. Over time this can lead to toxic build up.
- Always make sure your pet can get out of the room, if they need to take a break from the oils you are using.
- We recommend always checking in with your veterinarian before use.
Kristie Murphy is the founder of Freya’s Nourishment, an all-natural organic skin care company based in Melbourne. Freya’s Nourishment takes a holistic approach, incorporating self-care and emotional wellbeing. Kristie has a background in aromatherapy, massage, reflexology and the healthy food industry. She writes for wellbeing brands across Australia, and beyond.