Aromatherapy massage for the dog? Yes, it's true. Our furry friends can benefit from the healing properties of essential oils, but take note that you must be even more cautious when using pure essential oils on pets. First of all, animals will lick off whatever you put on them wherever they can reach. Secondly, animal skin absorbs oil at a different rate than our skin.
According to The Essential Oils Book by Colleen K. Dodt, you can use essential oils to confront everything from flea control to depression. Lavender, tea tree, chamomile, bergamot, cedarwood, juniper, rosemary, sandalwood, geranium, patchouli, sweet orange, and eucalyptus are among the most successful oils. Colleen really stresses the point to avoid using pennyroyal essential oil on your pet, even though it is a popular flea repellant. It is just too concentrated in pure essential oil form.
I really like her idea of making an herbal bug-repellant pillow for your pet's bed. She suggests adding equal amounts of lavender flowers, cedarwood chips and pennyroyal herb (not oil!) to the stuffing of a pillow. You can also substitute pure essential oils for the dried herbs, but only use 5 drops total per pillow. Another trick is adding oils in a small amount to your pet's bathwater. Colleen recommends using 8 drops of essential oil total (such as eucalyptus, lavender, juniper, cedarwood, peppermint or tea tree) to two gallons of water.
Things to avoid when working with essential oils and your pets:
- No pennyroyal oil
- Avoid using citrus oils. They are too irritating.
- No pure essential oils with young puppies or kittens.
- Always consult with a qualified veterinarian before attempting to treat your pet's potentially serious condition on your own.