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Aromatherapy for Dogs

Dog's nose

Photo by Alberto Alerigi


Your dog’s nose is many times more sensitive than a human’s nose.  It’s no wonder then that the trend towards the use of aromatherapy as part of a holistic healthcare philosophy in humans is gaining popularity in canine circles as well. That’s right, dog aromatherapy, unheard of just a few short years ago, is now something that many pet owners are looking to for the answers to certan dog health problems.

Aromatherapy is a natural therapy that is gaining ground amongst veterinarians as one of several complimentary therapies being introduced to the profession to supplement more traditional forms of treatment for animals. Used in conjunction with homeopathy, acupuncture and other alternative treatments, these approaches can often reduce the need for more artificial interventions.

The basis of aromatherapy is the action of essential oils on the body in order to alleviate symptoms of various kinds. The mechanisms at work include an influence on the brain, in particular the limbic system, which is permitted by the uptake of the active ingredients from the olfactory system. In this way, a positive effect is generated without the need to resort to powerful drugs, which can have serious side-effects. Another mode of action for aromatherapy is the direct pharmacological effect of the essential oils on the body. It is unclear exactly how aromatherapy works, but it is believed that it helps the body to cure itself in a natural way by improving the immune response. Some studies have shown aromatherapy to have positive effects when used in conjunction with other techniques.

The raw materials of aromatherapy are the essential oils present in many plants, such as peppermint and lemon. These oils are extracted from their parent material via a process of shredding followed by mixing in a fatty oil. The mixture is then heated for a period of time before being filtered to yield the finished product. An additional step of distillation is sometimes performed in order to provide a more concentrated preparation, which is more potent when used during treatment.

Some of the benefits of aromatherapy include relaxation and clarity of mind, which is something your dog will apreciate just as much as you do. Specific essential oils are held to provide particular benefits. Some of the uses of essential oils for dogs are as follows:

One of the biggest benefits of aromatherapy for animals is that smells nice. This should not be overlooked because, no matter how much you love your dog, there are occassions when she smells a little “doggy”. I think we’re all familiar with the smell of a wet dog and most of us would agree that it is a smell best kept out of the house. A nice aromatherapy session when you get back from your walk is an ideal way to relax and simultaneously rid your dog of the dreaded wet dog smell. Calming aromatherapy for dogs with the added side benefit of a nice-smelling home for humans, if you will.

Add this to the health benefits to be had and you’d be letting both yourself and your dog down if you didn’t at least give it a try.


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