There are three techniques to administer essential oils on dogs. Either by massage (finger kneading) or by diffusion (inhalation) or by mouth (oral application). Whichever technique you use, the benefits of canine aromatherapy are countless. From a personal point of view, I very much prefer using the massage technique as it gives me an added opportunity to build a closer relationship with my dogs. Furthermore, all dogs crave and need human touch for their domestic survival. Having said, there is no denying that all three techniques of canine aromatherapy work equally well (extra caution is needed when using oral application).
Three Techniques to Administer Essential Oils on Dogs
This is the most commonly used technique. It uses essential oils to penetrate the skin through the pores and hair follicles, where they are absorbed by tiny capillaries and reach the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, they can affect adjacent organs and structures and circulate throughout the entire body until they are excreted. Usually organic vegetable oil (sunflower or wheat germ or peanut) is used in conjunction with the essential oils. The role of the vegetable oil is to dilute the essential oil so that it will be absorbed through the skin without causing burning sensation.
Now all dogs, irrespective of whichever breed they come from, love massages just as much as their human counterparts do and nothing gives them greater pleasure to get their entire body oiled so that their fur becomes soft and silky while the feeling instills a sense of bliss in them because pampered canines are fortunate to get the love from their masters because a black golden doodle full grown remains just as endearing to its owner as he was in puppy form.
Only a few drops of the diluted mixture are required to massage onto hairless areas like armpit or inner thigh. Preferably use it on areas where your dog can’t lick them—an excellent area is on the inside of the ear tip—otherwise your dog will be forced to wear Elizabethan collar.
Three to four minutes of gentle massage is need for the oil to be absorbed. The effect usually wears off after four to six hours but it is highly recommended to do the treatment twice daily for 5 days period for complete recovery. Aromatherapy has a speedy action; it takes only two to three days’ treatment to see impressive results especially for minor illnesses i.e. hyperactivity and anxiety disorders.
Never apply undiluted essential oil directly to the skin, as the strong concentration can cause your dog to develop rashes or soreness.
For essential oils to affect the dog’s body is through the sense of smell. This technique requires a diffuser to evaporate the oil which is than inhaled by the dog. Incoming aromatic molecules enter the body through the nose. The tiny olfactory hairs pick up the aromatic molecules and bind them to receptors. Messages are then sent along neurons to which affect the brain where moods and emotions are seated.
The diffuser should be left in operation with the dog in the same room for about 30 minutes so that sufficient oil is absorbed. You should be able to see result if you repeat this procedure twice daily for five days.
You can buy diffusers in almost any health food stores or pharmacies and they are very inexpensive unless you bought those from the higher end beauty parlor stores. Avoid those diffusers that are heavily coated with lacquer, get those that are very earthen looking.
Never leave the burning diffuser unattended. Avoid placing it near window as the draft from the window or air con may blow curtains towards the flame.
Although essential oil can be given by mouth, it is least used by many. As a matter of fact, many holistic veterinarians prefer recommending using the above two methods (massage and inhalation) to having the owner administer oral application. As I stated before that essential oils are highly concentrated liquid, one tiny drop can be very lethal if consumed orally.
This method should ONLY be used under strict supervision of an expert in aromatherapy techniques preferably an aromatherapist who works with canines or domesticated animals in general.