Dog aromatherapy usage is mainstream now. Ten or so years ago when I first created RELAX Roll-On Dog Aromatherapy using essential oils for dogs was still considered pretty woo-woo, even fringe. Over the last few years we have seen more acceptance of what were once considered alternative treatments. Seems like our great-grandparents actually knew what they were talking about.
It has been proven that smells connect us emotionally to events in our past and trigger memories, both pleasant (gingerbread cookies baking) and not-so-much. Since ours dogs have much more powerful noses than our puny sniffers, they will benefit even more from the light usage of essential oils.
Oils have also been shown to reduce anxiety and inflammation, fight infections by inhibiting bacteria, keeping fungi and viruses from growing and to soothe muscle aches and pains. Aromatherapy oils are also used to lessen stress, calm anxiety, activate memory and more…in people and their pets.
Ancient Egyptians were probably the first to use essential oils for emotional benefits. Those ancient Egyptians were sure busy, it seems they were the first to do so many things! They created distillation methods of extracting oils from the trees, herbs, and plants that were available. These essential oils were used in medical, spiritual, and daily activities and of course, for embalming.
Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese and native cultures worldwide all utilized some sort off distillation process to extract the essential oils. Keep in mind, there was no freeze drying or canning back then. This distillation allowed them to preserve the benefits of the various plants into a compact form that needed no preservatives.
Many have heard the story of the thieves who soaked themselves in a variety of protective antibacterial oils, then crept into the homes of those who had died of the Black Death or Plague and robbed the homes. When captured, they were given the option of telling the secret of the oils and being put to death quickly or not telling and being put to death…very VERY slowly. They spilled the secret.
French chemist and perfumer, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, discovered lavender oil’s ability to help heal burns after plunging his burned hand into a vat of lavender oil.
Plants cannot move to escape predators or disease (except on creepy movies), so they evolve to produce compounds that neutralize or repel pests and pathogens. Yeah, plants get stinky or prickly to repel threats! By using the natural defenses that plants have developed we can create healing substances for our health and well-bring and that of our dogs.
Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They enter the body and the blood stream and are quickly distributed to various tissues.
Aromatherapy oils and essential oils are essentially the same (bad pun) and the terms are often used interchangeably. There are also fragrance oils that are only supposed to smell like the specific scent, NOT have the properties of the essential oils.
There is a lot of misuse of aromatherapy verbiage in advertising. Everything seems to be lavender this or that…I can almost guarantee that there is little or no REAL lavender in any of those products. Those products are fragrance oils or scent additives to smell like that plant and is often created chemically. Like stuff that says it is "chocolatey."
For our purposes, we are talking about high quality essential oils NOT the scent-only oils you find in most consumer products such as room fresheners, etc.
Essential oils can be a powerful tool in your dog health care toolkit. Used properly, aromatherapy oils can help your dog lessen stress and anxiety naturally. No intense drugs, no sedation, just the natural soothing power of essential oils.
Very small amounts of aromatherapy can have powerful effects on your dog, but it isn't magical, oh I wish! For example, lavender has powerful calming, soothing effects on the brain and is a great oil for calming our dogs. It is not enough to just rub a bit of lavender oil on your stressed, rattled dog and walk away…it is part of a process.
if your dog is anxious, stressed or afraid of thunder/fireworks, etc. then RELAX may be the answer. For the aging dog who may be showing signs of forgetfulness, try AGE WELL and the hyper, attention deficit dog may need some FOCUS.