Essential oils are the IT thing right now in healthcare. Could they also be healthy for dogs? The easy answer is yes. The complicated answer is most of the time. This article discusses some of the best essential oils to increase your dog’s health along with some risk factors associated with using certain types of essential oils, and especially essential oil delivery methods.
The Healthy Ones
The healthy essential oils for dogs worth discussing here are Yarrow, Cedarwood Atlas, Helichrysum, Lemon, and Lavender. Yarrow helps unblock things. Think of it as a lubricant. For dogs, the best uses are itchy skin, allergies, bites, and as a coagulant (for minor bleeding only, of course). Internally, yarrow is good for ears, kidneys, and arthritis. Go for the deep blue variety to get the best bang for your buck. Cedarwood Atlas helps to calm and strengthen and can also be used as a flea repellent. For kennel cough and sneezing, Cedarwood Atlas also does the trick. Finally, it’s a grounding oil for those shy or nervous pups.
Helichrysum is magical. It can be used as an antidote for pretty much anything. Whether it’s a bite or an irritant, Helichrysum is great to fight broken capillaries, broken bones, and it’s good for digestive system for the always-vomiting dog. Lemon and Lavender, I’m sure you’ve heard of. Lemon is great for clearing confusion and as a natural stimulant and antiseptic. It also increases trust. Lavender is good for the skin as it's the most soothing and gentle of all essential oils. It helps with burns, bites, and scars too.
Now that we’ve discussed the healthy essential oils, let’s turn our focus to the unhealthy and unsafe varietals. The American Kennel Club and others have warned against the overuse and misuse of essential oils in your pups. They have good points, which we will discuss here. First, just because the oil is natural doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Oils are chemicals from plants, and like any chemical, they can irritate your dog’s skin. And because they are rapidly absorbed into the system and metabolized through the liver, essential oils can pose a risk for unhealthy, very young, or very old dogs.
Watch out for the poisonous oils, like cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, tea tree, and wintergreen. These are toxic on the skin and ingested. As with anything, it’s very important to consult with your local veterinarian before making any decisions with essential oils. Even though the purpose of the essential oils, one could argue, is to avoid veterinarians, but they are the experts, and it’s incredible important to ensure that you are doing safe things with your dogs at all times.