When we first started working with essential oils about 10-12 years ago, while not considered exorcism-worthy, aromatherapy still had a bit of a woo-woo vibe. The information was spotty at best and there were just a few trusted books on aromatherapy and animals. Now the internet is flooded with "books" and info of various levels of credibility.
The hard part is in discerning what info to trust and what should be discarded when it comes to safe essential oils and aromatherapy for dogs. Most, ok many, people are relatively well-intentioned and share information they believe to be accurate. But like that old game of telephone or gossip where the original message gets completely twisted after being retold just a few times, finding good info online can be tough.
Essential oils are natural products extracted in a variety of methods from plants with specific aromatic properties. Not all plants can produce essential oils.
Fragrance oils are man-made, synthetic products that smell a certain way. They do not have any of the natural, inherent healing potential that essential oils do. Fragrance oils are appropriate for use in candles, cleaning products, bath and body products for human usage and other more cosmetic purposes.
Never use anything called fragrance oil on yourself, your pets or anything living with the intention that it will have healing properties, it cannot. It's science.
Essential oils are available in a wide range of quality levels, of course. Some safe essential oils and aromatherapy products for dogs are more expensive than diamonds due to the complicated extraction process and the precious little oil that is gotten from large amounts of plant matter. Some are heavily diluted with carrier oils and sold as "pure."
The good news is there are many dedicated people working hard to provide safe essential oils and aromatherapy products for dogs that are exactly what the label says they are. We are dedicated to being among that group.
While we try to never make sweeping generalizations, in this case we will. Essential oils should never be used on our dogs undiluted or neat, as that is called. For one thing, that is an assault to their infinitely more sensitive noses. For another, many oils can burn, as in leave a mark!
If you are using essential oils on your own, dilute, dilute, dilute. Use a high quality carrier oil such as jojoba oil, grapeseed, a good olive oil or blend. Use a dilution rate of 1-2% essential oil to carrier. Math: Use ten drops per ounce of carrier oil to start with.
Our safe essential oil aromatherapy blends for dogs are mixed according to these principles and formulas. We greatly dilute the blends to ensure compatibility with any size of dog. In other words, we blend for the smallest. Those with giant dog breeds can apply more frequently, if desired. The same goes for puppies, use on puppies over 8-10 weeks of age. For toy breeds possibly 10-12 weeks, for giant breeds (those over 20 pounds test at 6-8 weeks. Use your own good judgement and as always less is more.
In conclusion, do your homework and take into consideration your dog's age, size, breed type and predisposition to allergic reactions when choosing calming essential oils for dogs.