ESSENTIAL OILS TO HELP YOUR DOG COMBAT ENVIRONMENTAL IRRITANTS – Earth Heart, Inc.
Living close to the ground, dogs encounter a wide variety of irritants as part of their daily lives. Exposure to lawn or pool chemicals, road salts, pollens, viruses, and bacteria, or long-term use of medications can cause some dogs to suffer from itching, swelling, skin problems, and other minor illnesses. Over time these irritants can affect your dog’s natural immunity. We went to Vicki Rae Thorne, founder of Earth Heart, Inc. to help us identify some key essential oils to help.
When asked to develop a remedy that could safely help dogs with immune system issues, I found several essential oils that have historically been used to bolster the immune system and support the lungs, liver and skin. While essential oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, bay, and thyme can do that, I wanted to formulate something that is both powerful and gentle. Three essential oils really stood out – niaouli, ravensare, and frankincense.
Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) is an Australian tree that is related to tea tree. It has similar properties to tea tree, a much more pleasant scent, and is gentler to the skin and mucous membranes. Niaouli has been used in remedies for first aid, and to soothe skin disorders such as herpes, roundworm, sores, and abscesses. It is helpful with viral, fungal and bacterial infections, including those that affect the ears and throat. As a natural antihistamine, niaouli can help relieve allergic reactions, especially those affecting the skin and ears.
Ravensare (Ravensara aromatica) is a tree that is related to the bay laurel and is native to Madagascar. It is a gentle yet powerful antiviral and antibacterial that can help support the immune system. Ravensare has been used in remedies to relieve flu, sore throat, bronchitis, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, chronic fatigue and shingles. Some canine practitioners have used ravensare to help dogs with compromised immune systems or during the vaccination cycle.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) has been an important commodity both socially and economically. It was used for thousands of years in incense, perfumes, and embalming agents, and more recently studied for its antitumoral activity. Frankincense is nontoxic and nonirritating to tissues, and because of its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antifungal and astringent properties, it’s been used in preparations for wounds, acne and boils, and to relieve dry, chapped or maturing skin. Frankincense can help support the lungs and immune system to relieve colds, flu, bronchitis and asthma. It has also been shown to slow and deepen respiration, which allows feelings of calmness, comfort and serenity – simply inhaling the scent of frankincense can be soothing during unsettling times.
Using pure essential oils of niaouli, ravensare and frankincense, either singly or in combination can help your dog (and you!) find relief from itching, sneezing and other symptoms related to environmental irritants. Earth Heart’s formulation of these three essential oils is called Guard Well, and is currently available as a water-based mist or diffusion blend.
Perhaps you are a DIY person and want to make your own aromatherapy lotion or oil. As a reminder, always dilute essential oils in a lotion or oil base before topical application, or diffuse them in the air for no more than 2 hours to prevent overwhelming your dog’s sense of smell, irritating the skin and mucous membranes, or causing sensitization.
To make your own lotion or oil:
- Start with a clean, dry 60ml plastic bottle and flip-top cap.
- Fill the bottle halfway with unscented lotion or unscented oil such as sweet almond, liquid coconut or jojoba.
- Add 1-2 drops each of niaouli, ravensare and frankincense essential oils (be sure to check the labels for the botanical names mentioned above).
- You can also use just one or two of these essential oils, and be sure the total number of essential oil drops is 3 to 6.
- Use a maximum of 3 drops total for puppies over 10 weeks of age, senior dogs, and dogs with sensitive skin, deficient immune systems or serious health issues.
- Use a maximum of 6 drops total for adult dogs with no serious health issues.
- Cap the bottle and shake 100 times.
- If the scent is too strong, add more lotion or oil, cap and shake again.
To use your finished lotion or oil:
- Place a few drops on your fingertips and apply to the outer ear flaps 1-3 times daily for systemic support when your dog has been exposed to environmental irritants such as lawn or pool chemicals, pollens, viruses and bacteria.
- You can also apply it directly to skin that is dry or irritated.
- Avoid using in the ear canal, the eyes and mouth.
- “Less is more,” so use as little as possible for the desired result.
As with any home remedy, it is important to know and follow the use and safety guidelines and to recognize when it is time for professional help from your veterinarian. Here’s to a sneeze-free, itch-free year using (safely diluted) essential oils!
Vick Rae Thorne has been formulating essential oil remedies since 1992 and follows guidelines learned in her certification programs that are also endorsed by professional organizations including the Alliance for International Aromatherapy (AIA) and the National Holistic Aromatherapy Association (NAHA). Her company, Earth Heart Inc., has built a reputation for designing safe, affordable and effective natural wellness remedies using plant-based ingredients to help create happier, healthier lives. Products are made in the USA, packaged in BPA free recyclable containers, and are easy to use in your home or business, and while traveling.