Wellness Corner – Pets and Essential Oils
Early civilizations – such as the Egyptians and Israelites – used to produce essential oils by soaking the plants in oil and filtering it through a linen bag. Since that time, essential oils have been growing in popularity and have several applications such as in aromatherapy, household cleaning products, personal beauty care, food preparation, natural healthcare treatments and also with animals.
Essential oils are found in different parts of the plants, including the flowers, leaves, barks, roots, resin, and peels. They play a role in plant pollination and protection, being responsible for the smell that a plant gives. Essential oils have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, acting as natural medicine without any side effects. More than 3000 varieties of aromatic compounds were identified. The nature of essential oil varies from plant to plant and from species to species, within botanical families. Its composition can also change, depending on the weather, year grown, method and duration of distillation, season and geographic location where its elements were cultivated. All these factors interfere with the quality of the essential oil, which can be applied in oil blends or as a single substance.
Thinking about wellness, we can expand the use of essential oils to our furry friends, given that these substances can also provide benefits to pets. There are some companies that designed a special line for calming and relaxation. The products can be ingested or applied topically. If you want to introduce essential oils to your pet, a good start is to diffuse it in their space or to apply to your hands and let the animal smell them. If your friend shows some kind of resistance, you may try to apply oil to yourself and stay near him/her for some time, so that he/she can be used to the aroma. The paws are a great place to apply essential oils for both cats and dogs, although some cats can be more sensitive to the smell. You can also put essential oils straight on the dog’s skin if it has been diluted properly. Alternatively, some essential oils can be mixed with the food and you can also put some drops in your friend’s mouth if a medical recommendation is given.
We would like to mention a few essential oils and their effects. For example, Lavender oil has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Its use is recommended for dogs experiencing separation anxiety. If you plan to travel and need to board your dog, it can be a natural and helpful strategy to overcome his/ her difficulty. Peppermint can be used both topically and orally, having an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and analgesic effect. Spearmint help to reduce weight, being also good for colic, diarrhea, and nausea. When diluted and used for a short-term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats.
If you decide to try essential oils, you must do it gradually. Dogs and cats are more sensitive to essential oils than humans and oils should always be diluted, even when just inhaling. There is a wide range of options! It’s a great opportunity to have fun with your pet and share moments of relaxation and pleasure!