This story was updated October 2018.
Do you use essential oils for your dog’s aches, itches and hot spots? I’m a novice at using these oils, but I like the idea of eliminating harsh pharmaceutical drugs. Essential oils offer a natural approach to healing and wellness. My only personal experience with essential oils was with my dog Bailey when she was a puppy. We used a blend of oils to stop her terrible case of car sickness.
Our experience with essential oils
Bailey got sick to her stomach every time she was in the car. It didn’t matter if I opened the windows to let in the fresh air or if we went for a long or short ride. I used techniques like distracting her with music and conversation and I even withheld food before a car ride. But nothing stopped Bailey from getting sick. Our veterinarian prescribed an anti-nausea medication. I was instructed to give it to her 30 minutes before getting into the car. The pill left my puppy so sleepy it was hard to wake her. We used the medicine so Bailey could comfortably get to her puppy training class. The drug made her so groggy during class that we discontinued using it.
Then one day a fellow blogger suggested we try essential oils. She was trained to make custom oil blends for dogs. The woman whipped up a combination of botanical oils and delivered them to us in a small dark bottle. I administered the treatment by massaging a small drop of the oil onto Bailey’s belly and running another drop across her spine. We were instructed to do this 15 minutes before Bailey got into the car. Honestly I had my doubts, but once we used the oil, Bailey had her first car ride without getting sick. From that day forward I have been intrigued about the power of essential oils. We continued to use the oil until Bailey outgrew her carsickness.
Essential Oils for dogs
There are a number of dedicated companies that make quality oil blends for dogs, but two of them are my personal favorites. Young Living offers 7 Animal Scents blends for dogs, cats and horses. Each of their products strictly follows guidelines set up by an independent Veterinary Advisory Council. I also admire this company because a portion of their proceeds from Animal Scents products supports Vital Ground, a nonprofit group that protects the habitats of grizzly bears.
The second company I like is Frogworks. It was founded by Frances Fitzgerald Cleveland who has worked with horses and zoo animals for more than 25 years. The company offers an array of botanical oils that enhance the well-being of pets. I was introduced to one of their propriety blends, Path to Comfort, when I interviewed canine aqua therapist, Kathy Carr. Kathy massages each of her patients with Path to Comfort after their swim. It soothes their sore muscles and eases pain from arthritis.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are pure oils that are extracted from flowers like Jasmine and Lavender, plants like Rosemary and from tree leaves such as Pine and Orange trees. They are used to heal lots of ailments. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal and spiritual properties. The healing properties are extracted from the plant by steam and then cold pressed into highly concentrated blends.
5 essential oil formulas from Young Living for your dog’s aches, itches and hot spots:
Achy Joints – Panaway is a combination of Frankincense, Copaiba and a patented blend of oils that works to soothe joint pain. Copaiba is an anti-inflammatory oil and the PanAway formula combines oils from the wintergreen leaf, cloves, peppermint and other flowers. Panaway is available in the Young Living formulas for humans. Massage 1-2 drops into the affected achy joint.
Itchy Dog/ Hot Spots – Infect Away, Mendwell and PuriClean are 3 formulas that work together to relieve irritated skin, dry skin and hot spots. The trio are used to repair skin damage. Together they include ingredients like: Myrrh as an antioxidant, Frankincense for purification, Lavendar to calm skin, Tea Tree Oil to support healthy skin, and oils from Lemongrass, Rosemary and Cinnamon. The complete list of oils can be found on each individual bottle. 1-2 drops are applied to your pet’s head, over the spine and down to the tail.
Stinky Dog – RepelArmona eliminate odors by improving the digestive system and emotional wellbeing of your dog. It is a combination of Citronella which prevents food spoilage, Idaho Tansy for the digestive tract, Palo Santo for spiritual balance and Tea Tree oil.
Note: All of the essential oil formulas for animals from Young Living are pre-diluted and ready to use. If your animal is small, you can dilute it further with vegetable or olive oil.
Here are 2 more animal essential oil blends from Young Living:
Nervous Dog – T-Away supports a dog’s mental wellbeing. It is often used for dogs after a trauma or abuse. It is a blend of Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood for emotional balance, Frankincense for mood lifting, Valerian for relaxation, Lavender, Spruce and Geranium. It also includes Helichrysum which has restorative properties for skin, liver and the nervous system.
Upset Tummy – ParaGize promotes healthy digestion in dogs with chronic upset stomachs. The blend includes Fennel for digestion, Ginger to soothe the digestive tract, Juniper to detoxify, Lemongrass, Patchouli and Rosemary for overall wellbeing. It also contains Peppermint for normal digestion, Spearmint to fight nausea and Tarragon to support digestive health.
One special blend for dogs with mobility problems:
Path to Comfort – This blend from Frogworks is designed to be used for dogs with limited mobility, arthritis and sore muscles. It is also used to relieve stress and anxiety. Path to Comfort is NOT recommended for cats. It is made from sweet Marjoram, ginger, helichrysum, carrot seed, grapefruit, vetiver, rose in a base of safflower oil.
How do you apply essential oils?
The small bottles of these highly concentrated oils are applied topically in tiny 1-2 drop doses that are massaged into the skin or by breathing them in with the help of a home diffusing machine that releases the oils into the air. Dosages are based on a dog’s weight and applied to the skin around the effected part of the body. Some of the oils may have to be diluted with vegetable or olive oil, depending on your dog or cat’s weight.
The use of essential oils for your pet’s ailments is becoming more popular and part of mainstream veterinary medicine. An article in The Bark magazine discussed how laboratory studies have proven the properties in these oils have therapeutic benefits for pets that range from treating infections, anxiety, the immune system and more. One study in particular found that dogs who were given lavender to relieve the stress of traveling a long distance did better than those who were given a traditional medication.
Do you use essential oils for your pet? I’d love to know which oils worked best for your dog or cat’s condition.
Disclaimer: I am not a veterinarian nor do I give medical advice. This story reflects my personal experience with essential oils. I am not being compensated for this story, but I am an Amazon affiliate which means I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you if you make a purchase.