There is a huge misconception out there about essential oils and their application with dogs, especially around safety. The misconception is born because this is an unregulated plant based industry (by the FDA) without much vetted information out there, so most of it is anecdotal. There are many cases you hear about people using essential oils with dogs or other pets incorrectly, or the dog eats the whole bottle and has to go to the hospital. #hysteria
The essential oil industry is all based in education, how to use the oils correctly to benefit you and your animals, and this is the place to start before you administer oils with your pups. Just like conventional medicine, you would be prudent with choosing the right one for your dog before using it on them!
So I was super excited when another doTERRA Wellness Advocate also known as The Essential Oil Vet, Dr. Janet Roark, hosted a webinar on her Facebook Live a few weeks ago on the top 10 essential oils to use with dogs, how to administer them safely, and how to support them in their health.
Janet is a veterinarian in Austin, Texas, who loves using medical grade essential oils (doTERRA) with her clients, which include, dogs and horses!
I took notes from her presentation along with all the tips and tricks to use essential oils with dogs and am sharing them with you in this blog because I know this information would be so helpful to dog owners out there.
I learned so much from her call, and it was helpful to hear this from a vet's perspective and experience. I never knew that essential oils could help dogs in so many ways. While I don't have a pup of my own at the moment, I am thinking I will in the future and it's great to be prepared now with how to use essential oils in their holistic care: mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The Most Important Note: Dilution
If there's anything you get from this article, it's that dogs need the oils to be diluted!
This means you add carrier oils to the essential oils to dilute them before using. In the beginning, lean towards more dilution when introducing them to your animal.
Carrier oils include fractionated coconut, extra virgin olive oil, almond oil, jojoba, etc.
Each animal is an individual, and may be more sensitive to certain oils over others. See safety testing at the end of this article!
Allow your pet to choose which oils they like. To do this, show them the oil with the cap on, and see what their response is. They will be able to smell it through the cap. Licking their nose is a positive response, if they turn away that's a bit too strong. In between maybe response is in the middle of these two reactions. See what oils your dog enjoys the most and use those for them. Janet even had a video of her golden retriever going through this process, it was adorable!
Ways to use essential oils with dogs:
Aromatic (room sprays, direct smelling, diffuser, on cloth and bedding) *If using the diffuser, make sure the room is open so they can roam freely and leave if they want to. Check the end of the article to get the recap on safety.
Topically (DILUTE, DILUTE, DILUTE) (directly on their spine, massage, ear tipping, areas of interest, in roller bottle, in shampoo, hot or cold compress). If you're putting it on the paw, apply it to the part in between because the paw would block it. Not all dogs like their feet touched, so use them here only if your dog is okay with this.
Internally (only use this in very specific circumstances, not on a daily basis. Talk to a vet that is versed in essential oils) Mixed with fractionated coconut oil in a veggie capsule, or in their water bowl with certain oils, read below for which oils can be used this way.
The top 10 essential oils to use with your dog:
Frankincense: The king of oils. This one is great for supporting nervous system. Aches, especially for senior dogs. Gets rid of bumps, the vet uses them with clients and gets rid of them completely. Heals bites and open wounds, say from other bites from other dogs or animals. Dr. Roark has used them to heal this way for many pooches, she shared some photos of the wounds before and after, completely healed.
DigestZen Digestive Blend: Great for gas especially if the dogs get in the trash and just to ease digestion overall if your dog has this problem. To apply topically add 1 drop per 2 drops of carrier oil, apply to their abdomen. Helps dogs with car sickness, nauseous, stress with cars and travel. Dogs that weren't able to go in the car at all then were able to travel cross country without any issues! Apply 10-15 minutes before car ride mixed with Lavender. Better to use topically vs. aromatically because it kind of smells like licorice, unless you like that smell. It goes well with the Terrazyme (digestive enzyme) supplement, she recommends that the dogs can eat these too mixed in their kibble!
On Guard Protective Blend: The immunity blend, great for protection in the kennel or meeting with other dogs, protecting from environmental threats. With antioxidants, its also a great cleaner for the dogs things and areas in the homes. It's spicy smelling with citrus, it contains wild orange peel, clove, rosemary, cinnamon.
Lavender: Great for anxious feelings, especially during fireworks and thunderstorms. Great for sleep, and for itchy skin. To help itchy skin, add with doTERRA Kids omega oil liquid (1/2 teaspoon for each 20 lbs of your dog). It helps with swelling and any bug bites.
Lemon: Urinary tract and adrenal system, natural cleaning agent, purifying the air. Cleaning with sticky substances like gum or pine gunk stuck in their fur. It supports respiratory system, especially with puppies. It uplifts the mood so you can add 1 drop to 2 cups of water with some honey - shake it up and they can drink it! For the dog with sadness, it can bring a positive shift in mood.
Peppermint: A cooling agent, add 1 drop to water and shake for them to drink.
To make a natural toothpaste add 2 drops to 1 tbs of baking soda, add solid coconut oil and voila.
Aromatouch Massage Blend: The massage blend, great for lymphatic flow especially for senior dogs. It helps circulation and eases muscles.
Breathe Respiratory Blend: Diffuse or add to their bandana for easy breathing. Great to add with On Guard in the diffuser to combat respiratory threats, especially in a kennel where they are susceptible.
Balance Grounding Blend: Like its effects on humans, this blend brings mental tranquility, and is very comforting. It already comes pre-diluted so you don't need to dilute it more. Diffuse it in the car to help ease anxious feelings, also in the fireworks and thunderstorm situations. Also great mixed with Frankincense and Copaiba for even more relaxation.
Copaiba: Cardiovascular, muscular, nervous,respiratory and urinary system support! It supports liver and is antioxidant, supports lymphatic system and mucus system. Great to mix with Frankincense and Balance, it helps with stress and overwhelm.
Recap for safety:
DILUTE for applying :)
Use a water diffuser for aromatic use. *If using the diffuser, make sure the room is open so they can roam freely and leave if they want to
Know your pets health status
Make sure you are only using CPTG (doTERRA) essential oils with your pet
Caution around pets that are nursing, pregnant, young or on certain medication
Do not use oils if using a topical medication or dermal patch
Observe pets behavior
How to handle adverse reactions should they come up (rare that this happens):
Add more oil to dilute, most resolve within 24 hours
Very rare: discontinue if distress, barking, drooling, vocalization, rubbing face
Oils to avoid with dogs (on their own, in blends they are ok): birch, melaleuca, and wintergreen
Use caution with hot oils: peppermint, clove, on guard, oregano
If you have your own dog and want to get started with these oils, you can get them at a discount in the Home Essentials kit (except Copaiba, add that one separately), which comes with a diffuser. If you'd like me to be your oil person and support you, you can get enrolled here
To learn more about how to use essential oils with your dog, be sure to do your research, pick up books, etc. and look into Dr. Janet Roark's work!