Updated: Dec 7, 2020
I've always loved essential oils.
I was an avid essential oil user, both on myself as well as in diffusers throughout my house. I didn't really think about how it would affect my dogs, to be honest, as at the time I just thought it was a nice way to make my house smell good.
But I started noticing that sometimes my dogs would lay really close to the diffuser, but other times they acted horrified and would literally run from the room! So I started doing research and that is when my essential oil journey really started. My respect for the power of the oils grew as well as my amazement as to how my dogs seemed to "intuitively" know what oils they needed, or wanted, and which ones they didn't.
Wait, dogs know what oils they need? But don't you need to be a pharmacist or medical doctor to know that? Nope! Animals can tell! But how, you ask? I'll try and explain.
1. How do dogs learn how to self medicate?
They actually don't learn, they are born with this ability, as are all animals. This
has been studied since the 1980s, and there's a lot of literature on the subject. So
all our dogs can do this. As soon as wild animals get sick, they'll start looking for
plants to help them. Of course, our dogs can't do that, because they are captive.
2. So how does my dog know what he needs or doesn't need?
Your dog isn't thinking, oh lavender smells good, I'll think I'll have some! It's
actually the chemicals in the plant that are being received by his brain, and if the
brain decides that your dog needs that chemical, it'll become really nice
smelling to him and he'll want to inhale it, or lick it, or have it put on his body
3. But don't dogs poison themselves all the time? If they can tell what is good or bad for them, how do poisonings happen?
This can happen either because it's artificial, so not a natural substance, and they
have no way of telling if it's bad or good, but also because sometimes we
humans make things that smell or taste really good, but it could be hiding
something in it that's really bad. Dogs live in "artificial environments" so it's not
the same as a wild animal living in its native environment and knowing all the
plants very well.
4. What kind of issues can essential oils help with?
There are so many areas where essential oils can help. Pretty much any physical
or behavioral issue can be resolved, and it's especially useful to consider if
traditional veterinary care has been unsuccessful. It's a pretty amazing tool to try,
but just make sure you ask your dog what it is that they want, never force oils on
an unwilling dog!
If you want some tips on how to offer oils to your dog, take a look at my free Essential oil remedy guide. It'll give you some quick tips on how to offer oils to your dog. Now go enjoy your essential oils...with your dogs permission!