Aromatherapy for Pets
Aromatherapy has wonderful benefits for people, but did you know it can also be highly beneficial for your pets? That’s why Wondercide Flea & Tick Control for Pets + Home is made with therapeutic-grade essential oils and is specifically formulated to be aromatherapeutic for dogs and cats.
To help you learn a little more about aromatherapy for pets, we spoke with “Essential Oil Vet” Janet Roark, DVM about why aromatherapy should be integrated into your pets’ holistic lifestyle and the difference between aromatherapeutic essential oils and synthetic fragrances.
Note: The answers contained in the following interview are for informational purposes only, do not constitute veterinary advice, and are not to be substituted for an actual visit with your pets’ holistic veterinarian. As with any new therapies or products for your pets, please refer to label instructions and consult your veterinarian as needed.
Wondercide (WC): What are the benefits of using aromatherapy for pets?
Janet Roark, DVM (JR): Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils (EOs) can offer many benefits to pets, including emotional benefits, as well as physical benefits, since the olfactory system is directly connected to the limbic system, which affects behavior and emotions, as well as the hypothalamus, which regulates the endocrine system.
Therefore, just smelling EOs can be very therapeutic. Because EOs are lipid-soluble, they can be absorbed into cells through the cell membrane if used topically. This is one of the reasons they are so powerfully effective. Since they are distilled from plants, and no two plants are the same, EOs do not show the same bacterial resistance as some of our synthetically-made therapies.
This is very exciting as a scientist, knowing that we have one more tool in our toolbox to combat difficult-to-treat conditions, simply by enhancing an animal’s own immune system through a natural approach. These oils help at the cellular level to return the body to homeostasis.
WC: In what situations do you use aromatherapy for pets?
JR: You can use aromatherapy for a vast assortment of physical or emotional support, as well as to help with pain management. I recommend using aromatherapy for all pets!
WC: What’s the difference in effect when pets smell aromatherapeutic essential oils vs. synthetic fragrances?
JR: The majority of compounds found in synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemicals: phthalates that disrupt normal hormonal activity and may cause different types of cancer, as well as benzene derivatives, and a whole host of chemicals that are toxic to animals – especially our smaller pets – and are known to cause allergies, birth defects, nervous system disorders, and all sorts of other problems.
There are so many fragrances in products today, which are used to cover up the otherwise “chemical” smell of the product you are purchasing – this includes shampoos, colognes, laundry detergents, dryer sheets, air fresheners, scented candles, and so many other things you might not even think about.
Some “essential oils” may even contain these synthetic fragrances – which is why the brand you buy is so important. Most EOs sold in grocery stores are not safe to use around pets. So, it’s very important to be educated about what you are purchasing, and to purchase an EO that is actually therapeutic rather than just a nice-smelling thing that might actually be harming your pet!
What are some ways to get your pets used to aromatherapy?
Start slow, introduce oils with a water-based diffuser at first, in short increments, and then gradually increase the duration of diffusing. If using topically, use a 0.5% – 1% dilution to start out with, and apply the diluted EO more frequently rather than using a stronger concentration less often. Try to make it a positive experience with lots of praise and rewards like treats.
We were so glad to have the opportunity to talk to the “Essential Oil Vet” and learn about the different ways you can integrate aromatherapy into the lives of dogs and cats!
Have you tried aromatherapy with your pets by using Flea & Tick Control for Pets + Home or by diffusing therapeutic-grade essential oils in your home? We’d love to hear about it in the comments!