by Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist & herbalist, founder of Earth Heart® Inc.
Dogs have 40 times more scent receptors than humans, allowing them to identify smells up to 100,000 times better than us. With their remarkable olfactory memory, and because their world revolves around scent, aromatherapy is ideal for use with dogs.
The use of aromatherapy with dogs is time-tested. Scientific studies in Germany and France regarding the medical effects of essential oils on animals and humans were quite advanced by the mid-1800s. Due to positive clinical results, the practice of veterinary aromatherapy was not uncommon in these countries by the mid-1900s.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, is the skilled and controlled use of essential oils to restore or maintain health and well-being. Essential oils are volatile, aromatic liquids in the rind, flower, leaf, stem, root, wood, bark or resin of aromatic plants that are obtained by distillation, expression, and CO2 or solvent extraction. Fragrance oils are synthetically produced and are not therapeutic.
How does aromatherapy work?
Scent has been called “memoristic” because the olfactory bulb links to the limbic system, which is the seat of emotion, memory and learning. Scent molecules enter the blood stream through the lungs (inhalation) or skin (topical application). In addition to the memoristic connection, there is a physiological response - lavender is chemically sedating and has an effect on the central nervous system.
Is aromatherapy safe for dogs?
Which essential oils can calm dogs?
While there are many calming essential oils, these are a few of my favorites:
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) can help balance emotions by soothing panic, snappiness, depression, frustration and irritability.
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is probably the most well-known essential oil for stress, fear, agitation, shyness and shock.
- Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is relaxing and grounding. It helps soothe muscle and digestive cramps, palpitations, excess sexual energy and grief.
- Rose Damask (Rosa damascena) is calming and stabilizing. It can help heal past abuse, nervousness, anger, fear and panic.
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) has a sedative action. It can soothe nervousness and insecurity, and it has been studied to help with nervous bladder issues.
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) promotes a calm state of mind and slows breathing during times of stress and fear.
- Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) is grounding and calming. It can heal deep wounds, whether physical or emotional in nature, and is very helpful with PTSD.
- Geranium Rose (Pelargonium graveolens) is calming and balancing with moodiness and fear or insecurity.
One way to help your dog relax is to use a calming essential oil remedy like Canine Calm® from Earth Heart® Inc.
- Apply spray or roll-on to your fingertips and gently massage dog’s ear flaps or chest.
- Lightly mist bedding and your clothing or apply the roll-on to your wrist.
- Use with other comforts like calming music, treats, anxiety wraps and crating.
EarthHeartInc.com is committed to help dogs and their families travel safely and calmly.