Is Aromatherapy Safe for Dogs? Facts Every Pet Owner Must Know

Aromatherapy is an alternative healing approach using essential oils extracted from plants, such as lavender, rosemary, etc. These oils are inhaled or applied topically to treat stress, depression, and other ailments. Though there are limited studies about their effectiveness in treating diseases in pets, some studies suggest they aid in managing pain, depression, and other illnesses. 

Many dogs respond well to aromatherapy. They seem to enjoy the different scents, which humans find overbearing or unpleasant. Just like humans, how your dogs take an oil depends on their tolerance threshold. Note that it’s not unusual for dogs to completely ignore some strong scents even though they may enjoy more subtle odors.

Pet Aromatherapy: At a Glance

In veterinary practice, aromatherapy is now widely accepted as part of holistic care for pets. The essential oils used for pets are similar to those used in human aromatherapy. Pet aromatherapy can be helpful in veterinary settings by helping animals cope with various conditions. Examples include:

  • Calming a pet before a car ride, during grooming, or similar services
  • During visits by guests
  • Storms and fireworks-related anxiety

Note that aromatherapy is not for all pets. It’s always safe to ask your vets about safety considerations before using aromatherapy products on any animal, including dogs.

Animal Wellness Magazine says that the best essential oils to use are lavender, frankincense, geranium, chamomile, and ylang-ylang. Ensure to purchase 100% pure essential oil products that don’t contain any toxic additives or ingredients that can hurt your dog. Check that there aren’t any warnings on the label saying it is unsafe for use around pets. On top of these, avoid applying it directly to your dog’s fur because some oils can cause dangerous reactions when ingested by animals when they lick it off.

How Does Dog Aromatherapy Work?

Dogs have developed a fantastic sense of smell over thousands of years of domestication with humans. Research says dogs can smell anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more than humans. In other words, dogs can detect scents 10,000 to 100,000 times fainter than what a person can smell. That’s why many vets use it to help calm dogs during stressful situations or emotional stress.

The way aromatherapy works with animals is simple. The scent of the essential oils goes directly into the nasal passage to receptors in the limbic system. This part of their brain is responsible for emotions and memories, which gives aromatherapy an immediate effect on your dog’s mood because of their increased sense of smell. 

Experts say cats have 200 million receptors in the nasal cavity, and dogs have 300 million. A human only has 6 million. In short, we can’t even perceive a fraction of what our pets do. 

Some dogs may find it hard to relax during stressful situations or emotional stress as their brain thinks they need to be alert for any potential danger. Smelling essential oils from aromatherapy can help them calm down by activating those same parts of the brain responsible for mood regulation, triggering an overall body response that results in calming your pet down. 

But you have to remember that this is not always as easy as it sounds, as some essential oils shouldn’t be given to dogs smaller than 40 lbs because of the oils’ toxicity. Moreover, aromatherapy is just a part of your pet’s overall health care. They also need medical intervention as needed. You may visit this page for vet internal medicine in Glendale

Benefits of Aromatherapy for Dogs

Remember that not all dogs are affected by aromatherapy to the same extent. Some may be extremely sensitive to scent, while others could have no noticeable reaction. Try experimenting with various scents to see which ones work best for your dog. Most of all, consult with your trusted vet, such as, before trying aromatherapy on your dog.

  • Reduces stress and anxiety 
  • Promotes a positive mood 
  • Encourages relaxation and reduces pain 
  • Improves mental clarity and energy 
  • Supports respiratory health
  • Enhance your dog’s sense of well-being
  • Promotes overall wellness
  • Promotes sleep