When it comes down to the use of essential oils for any kind of medical or therapeutic use, a lot of confusion and discussions tend to surface. Essential oils are natural chemical components of plants that are extracted through distillation. They are extremely concentrated and using them usually requires to mix a few drops with another carrier substance, like olive oil for instance. Essential oils of different kinds have a number of benefits and properties, for example: antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, sedative, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), expectorant, immunostimulant, etc.
Human usage of essential oils is growing in popularity nowadays, so it’s not a surprise that these humans have been trying to use them on their canine companions as well, as natural alternatives to many physical and psychological ailments. It’s important to keep in mind that dogs can be more sensitive to essential oils than humans, so proper and careful usage is a must.
Lavender oil has many beneficial properties and is a favorite among many people, for personal use and for their dogs as well. Not only is it beneficial for its aromatherapy properties, but for its pest repellent action as well.
- 1 Top-Rated Lavender Oils for Dogs
- 2 Benefits of Using Lavender Oil on Your Dog
- 3 Dangers/Risks of Using Lavender Oil on Your Dog
- 4 How to Use Lavender Oil for Your Dog.
- 5 FAQ
- 6 Conclusion
Top-Rated Lavender Oils for Dogs
Benefits of Using Lavender Oil on Your Dog
Lavender oil is probably one of the most common essential oils used for dogs. It has powerful effects on the brain and it’s known to work as a mild sedative, producing a calming sensation. Therefore, it’s commonly used to calm dogs while traveling. With all the warnings surrounding essential oils, wondering if lavender oil is good for your dog is a natural response. Here is a list of other benefits of using lavender oil for your dog:
- Conditioning patients to a safe space.
- Helps allergies.
- Aids the healing of burns and ulcers.
- Relieves insomnia.
- Reduced car sickness and car ride anxiety.
- Great analgesic, anti-fungal, antihistamine, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.
- Helps skin irritations and itching.
- Repels fleas and ticks
- Reduces anxiety and nervousness.
So, is Lavender Oil good for dogs?
We say, absolutely! Lavender oil is a universal oil that can be used either directly or diluted, keeping in mind the proper dosage for the size of your pet. There are many reasons why everyone, including pets, should include lavender oil in their daily lives. It serves as a great natural alternative for treating many skin conditions, including allergies and itchiness, as well as a repellent for fleas and ticks. It also helps calm nervous dogs in stressful situations, such as when travelling by plane, in vet visits, car rides, separation from owners, and so on.
The website for the magazine The Bark states the following “lavender essential oil is soothing to the central nervous system, and a 2006 study showed that its use reduced dogs’ movement and vocalization during travel; the lavender species was not identified, but was probably Lavandula angustifolia. The study’s author went on to conclude: ‘Traditional treatments for travel-induced excitement in dogs may be time-consuming, expensive or associated with adverse effects. Aromatherapy in the form of diffused lavender odor may offer a practical alternative treatment …’ (Wells 2006).”
From this we can conclude that lavender oil is a great and natural replacement for a number of chemical products that can cause harm to your pet, from flea and tick repellants, to anxiety pills.
Dangers/Risks of Using Lavender Oil on Your Dog
As mentioned above, essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from plants. Since plants cannot move and escape predators, their chemical compounds act as their defense mechanism. These same chemical compounds have many useful healing and therapeutic properties, but must be used with care despite being natural substances. Determining whether or not lavender oil is safe for dogs depends greatly on the quality of the oil and the way you use it.
Lavender oil is a universally safe essential oil and its use with dogs is widespread. The main dangers associated with using lavender oil are the following:
- Allergic reaction or irritation. Mostly caused by low quality oil.
- Excessive drowsiness, caused by improper dosing.
- Burning and irritation if it gets directly in contact with the nose or eyes.
- Toxicity, when used too frequently and/or improper dosing.
So, is Lavender Oil safe for dogs?
Lavender oil is not only safe for dogs, but greatly beneficial. Keep in mind that proper usage must be considered, as with any other kind of substance. The blog Experience-Essential-Oils tells us the following: “Most of the problems associated with essential oils whether they are for human or animal use, stem from the fact that people are using perfume grade oils for therapeutic use. Or people simply are NOT using them correctly!”
To ensure that you dog isn’t at risk with the use of lavender oil, make sure that your read the safety label on the lavender oil you have purchased. Take all the proper precautions as you would with a baby. Generally, lavender oil doesn’t require to be diluted, but for your pet, is always best to begin with a diluted solution depending on the purpose of its use.
How to Use Lavender Oil for Your Dog.
Using lavender oil on your pet can replace a number of chemical based treatments that can turn out to be even more toxic and harmful in the long run, such as flea and tick repellant, anxiety medication, perfumes, etc.
Keep in mind that I am not a vet, and you should always make sure you consult with your veterinarian before using any kind of essential oil on your dog. Holistic veterinarians are on the rise and they may be best suited to give you the best advice on how to use a specific oil on your pet.
The manufacturer of essential oils Young Living tells us that the animal’s size affects the amount of oil you should use on them. They provide the following guidelines:
- “For smaller animals like cats and small dogs, use 3–5 drops. Be sure to dilute 80–90 percent prior to application (for example, for every 1 drop of oil, use 4–5 drops of a diluting agent, such as V-6™Vegetable Oil Complex).
- For larger animals, like large dogs, start with 3–5 drops. Unless otherwise indicated on the product label, dilution is unnecessary.”
According to the way in which you want to use lavender oil, there are different instructions and applications. The blog Ruff Ideas details the following usage recommendations:
“Direct application of the concentrated oil: For flea and tick control, add a drop of the oil to the back of your dog’s neck, and a drop to the base of the tail. Additionally, for an effective way to freshen his bedding, add a couple of drops when you wash it.
Dilute application of the oils: You may wish to dilute the oil, either for milder complaints or if you prefer to try low concentrations initially. If so, add 15 drops to a small spray bottle filled with water. This can then be sprayed on your dog’s skin for flea and tick control, skin healing, or relaxation. Adding it to your dog’s bath water is another effective way of applying a dilute form of the oil to his skin for flea and tick control. It can also be sprayed onto bedding or furniture for odor elimination, or even used as a room freshener. Alternatively, add a few drops to a carpet shampoo before cleaning household rugs.”
If you choose to use lavender oil diffused for aromatherapy purposes, then you can add a couple of drops of the concentrated oil to a handkerchief and hold it close to the dog’s nose, or tie it around your dog’s neck so it can inhale the smell. This will produce a calming and sedative effect.
Natural News also provides the following recommendations to take in considerations before using lavender oil on your pets:
- Dogs cannot tell you what is or is not working. As such, you must closely watch their reactions. Excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining are all signs to watch for.
- Always dilute the oils. A common acceptable dilution is 25% of the adult human formula.
- Giving essential oils internally is not generally recommended.
- Do not use any oils on medium-large breed puppies under 8 weeks, and small or toy breeds under 10 weeks. Hydrosols are a much better choice.
- Gradually introduce the oils.
- What is good for a large dog is not good for a small dog. Size matters, and less is definitely more when working with oils, for animals or humans.
- Sick, frail, older, or pregnant dogs have special considerations, just as in humans. Do not administer the same dose to them as you would to a healthy animal of the same size.
- Never use oils near the eyes, mouth, nose, or genital area.
Also remember to always wash your hands after handling essential oils to prevent them from accidentally getting in contact with your eyes or mouth.
Choosing Essential Oils
As I have previously explained, choosing the right essential oil is important because not all of them are created the same. When it comes to personal use or for your dogs, you need to seek the highest quality therapeutic grade essential oils.
The purity of an essential oil is a common issue, and this is because its achievement is expensive. For example, it takes nearly one hundred pounds of lavender plants to produce one pound of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil. Because of this, many producers will dilute lavender oil with other carrier oils or even add artificial fragrances to create a greater production. Natural News gives us the following guidelines to make sure you buy the purest therapeutic essential oil:
- EO’s should not be oily or leave a greasy residue.
- Packaging should include the common name (Lavender), the Latin binomial (Lavandula angustifolia), the country of origin, the method of distillation, the part of the plant used, lot number, amount of oil in bottle, contact information of the company, how the plant was grown, and the words “100% pure essential oil” orthe ingredients, if in a carrier or blend.
- Price usually dictates quality.
- Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.
- Why should I use lavender oil on my dog?
Lavender oil has many beneficial properties for your dog. It can heal skin allergies, prevent itching, prevents and repels fleas, and it’s soothing and calming when diffused in an aromatherapy fashion.
- Are there any side effects in lavender oil?
The only significant side effects when using lavender oil stem from the quality and proper usage of the essential oil itself. You need to make sure you have purchased a pure, high quality oil. You can determine this by reading the label closely. High quality oils will not be cheap and will not be diluted with another carrier oil such as jojoba oil. They will also always have the scientific name on the bottle (Lavandula angustifolia). You should also keep in mind that the dosage is important and that every dog is different. If your dog seems to be sniffing excessively, seems nervous or is agitated, then he/she might not respond well to lavender oil or you may have used an improper dosage. Always be sure to check with your vet and to read the instructions on how to use lavender essential oil.
- Can I use lavender oil on my puppy?
Since animals can be more sensitive to essential oils than humans, one much take extra precautions and really research the proper methods before actually using them on pets. It’s generally not recommended to use lavender oil on puppies until after they are 10 weeks of age. The amount used should be very little and properly diluted. Always consult with your veterinarian first.
- Does my lavender essential oil have to be therapeutic?
Yes. Unless you’re intending to use lavender oil just for perfume, you should always seek a high quality therapeutic grade essential oil. Any other kind will not have the beneficial physical and aromatherapy properties that you seek.
Perfume quality or oils that are labelled only for aromatherapy can cause more harm than good if they are used topically because they are distilled using solvents or are mixed with chemical fragrances or other oils. Pure therapeutic grade lavender oil will be steam distilled and will be guaranteed to not contain any chemicals.
- How do I use Lavender Oil for my dog?
Lavender oil is best used topically. You can mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as olive oil or jojoba oil and massage it in their skin. The amount of lavender oil to be used is determined by your dog’s size and weight, so be sure to read the label and do proper research.
Personally, my favorite way of using lavender oil is mixing 10 drops in 100 ml of 70% isopropyl alcohol and storing it in a spray bottle. I spray this on my Schnauzer to help treat and prevent bumps. It also keeps fleas and ticks away. I spray this on her bedding as well. I’ll even spray it on my furniture and on myself whenever I want to smell good.
Lavender oil can also be diffused to benefit from its aromatherapy properties. You can apply a few drops on a handkerchief and tie it around your dog or place it near its face, or you can apply it to your dog’s bedding.
It’s not recommended to use lavender oil orally.
- How to store lavender oil?
Lavender oil, as any other essential oil, should be kept away from heat and the sun. They should also always be properly shut or sealed after using. Lavender oil especially, contains not antioxidant properties, so it tends to oxidize when stored for long periods of time or if it isn’t completely sealed. Using an oxidized oil may cause an allergic response. Always go for top quality oils to prevent this.
Lavender oil is a highly beneficial essential oil for your dog. There is much evidence that indicates its use as safe and effect when applied properly. In many cases, it’s preferred over pharmaceutical and chemical laden treatments. Whether it’s for calming your dog’s anxiety, repelling pests or treating their skin, lavender oil should always be sought in its purest form.
Make sure to consult with your veterinarian before using any kind of essential oil on your pet. Even though lavender oil is one the mildest and most versatile essential oils, it’s always best to introduce it to your pet slowly and with proper precautions and indications. This way, not only will you ensure that no negative side effects occur on your pet, but your will be helping your dog lead a more balanced and natural lifestyle.