Deb D’Andrea, Nederland. Aromatherapy, a wonderful alternative and compliment to traditional medicine, uses plant oil to enhance and stimulate psychological and physical well-being in pets and people. By inhaling these plant oil aromas, there is a hard-wired effect linked to the limbic system, the part of our brain responsible for moods, emotions, and memories. Thus, if you decide to introduce aromatherapy to your pet to help calm them, it is essential that a positive, calming environment is created so they will have the best possible memory associated with that aroma.
As humans, we communicate verbally and can explain to each other why we’d use a particular aromatherapy and the beneficial outcome expected. With our pets, we need to create a positive association through our introduction to the aroma so they connect a positive association with the smell. When introducing anything new, we need to make their experience as pleasurable as possible.
Take, for instance, using aromatherapy to help alleviate the fear of thunderstorms. With a person, we can say “I would like you to use this aromatherapy every time you feel stress from the thunderstorm. As you breathe in the aroma, you will feel the calming effects of the oil.” Because you were told this, your brain forms a positive association to the essential oil; thus, allowing the calming effects to work. Considering our inability to communicate in the same manner with our pets, if you were to introduce aromatherapy oil during a thunderstorm, the association would be made with the scary thunderstorm, reducing any positive receptiveness to the aroma.
When using aromatherapy oils, they should be introduced in a positive environment. Take the oil, go to a quiet, happy space you and your animal enjoy and slowly introduce the oil while playing, having fun and relaxing. Over time, they will associate this aroma with a positive experience; then, if you know there is a thunderstorm on its way, or something your animal perceives as a negative, you can introduce the oil as a means to help them relax in a given situation.
Daisy Paw, a Boulder based company, has created Collar Companions and Daisy Blends for pets and people; with a diffuser that attaches onto your pets collar. “Let’s Chill” is a great calming blend of Vetiver, Geranium and Ylang Ylang, a similar combination used for us. With the collar companion, you can easily place one drop in the companion for your pet’s enjoyment. Never place essential oils directly onto your pet’s fur.
Aromatherapy with animals is not an overnight cure, but is a tool when introduced over time that can assist in calming; relaxing and helping them become comfortable in stressful situations. Because their sense of smell is so sensitive, it is essential to go slow, use very little, and watch their reactions closely when introducing any aroma. As with people, some animals really don’t like the smell of some things, and love the smell of others!
Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and will visit your home or Vet’s office to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.