A dog can be a steadfast companion in every aspect of your life. Caring for a dog is about more than just loving and feeding your pet. You also have a responsibility to protect him from pain and suffering whenever possible. Helping your dog handle anxiety is an important part of that responsibility and aromatherapy can help.
Why Dog Anxiety Is Serious
Just like people, dogs can run into difficulty dealing with the stresses they experience from day to day. Your pets are at a disadvantage compared to their wild ancestors because they are living in a industrial world full of stimuli and situations for which they have no hereditary coping mechanisms.
Loud noises, new experiences and unfamiliar people can all trigger anxiety in dogs. Over time, untreated anxiety can lead to more serious health problems. The chemical changes in your dog’s nervous system caused by anxiety can trigger issues like persistent digestive trouble. Behavioral responses to anxiety, such as, hiding, escaping, gnawing/chewing on the fur can also put your dog at risk of more serious illnesses.
How Aromatherapy Can Help
As you probably already know, aromatherapy is an excellent way to manage stress and change your moods. It’s highly effective for humans because the scents involved are transmitted directly to some of the most potent sense receptors in the brain. Imagine the impact aromatherapy can have for a creature with an even more evolved nasal system!
Aromatherapy can help your dog deal with stressful incidents as they occur. Having an aromatherapy treatment handy will make it easy to calm a dog that is frightened by an unexpected disturbance like a thunderstorm. Aromatherapy can also be used to condition your dog. Helping your pet build associations between a particular scent and a safe environment will make that scent even more effective at calming him later.
Proper Use Of Essential Oils
Good aromatherapy calls for the use of pure, natural essential oils. These volatile distillates concentrate some of the most potent ingredients found in plants. The same therapeutic techniques used to give humans the benefit of essential oils work for dogs too. Air diffusion is excellent for the sort of positive safety association mentioned above.
Many dog owners consider topical application to be the most effective way to use essential oils on their pets. This means taking one or more essential oils, diluting them in a “carrier” oil and then, gently massaging it into your dog’s fur and skin. This allows for immediate absorption of the oils, leading to faster relief from anxiety.
Oils which are particularly well-suited to treating anxious dogs include peppermint, lavender, chamomile, and niaouli. Niaouli is great for treating bacterial infections and allergic reactions.
Diluting your essential oils isn’t just about getting more out of these extremely concentrated products. It is also an important safety precaution. Undiluted essential oils are so potent that they can cause skin irritation and other adverse reactions.
When you are treating your pet’s anxiety with aromatherapy, you also need to steer well clear of oils that are known to have harmful effects on canines. These include (but are not limited to) anise, pennyroyal, wintergreen, and tansy. Research your oil selections carefully before exposing your dog to them. Whenever you have any doubts, it’s a good idea to consult with a certified aromatherapist.
If you can tell that your dog is having adverse reactions to stressful situations, you really need to take steps to treat your pet’s anxiety before it causes more serious long-term problems. There are many different ways you can do this, but aromatherapy is a particularly attractive option since it’s gentle and all natural. Give your dog the support he needs to deal with stress in a healthy fashion!