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Aromatherapy for Pets
by: Liz Santher
Pets can enjoy the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy as
much as humans can. Aside from possibly eliminating bad
odors and giving your pet a pleasant perfume, essential
oils also serve many practical functions such as boosting
your pet's immune system, fighting off bacteria and
viruses, preventing the growth of yeasts and molds and
repelling insects.

Aromatherapy is used by enthusiasts, groomers and pet
salons to trea mild ailments such as skin inflammations,
itchy skin ear infections, rashes, bad breath, flatulence
and motions sickness. Psychologically, certain oils also
have a calming or relaxing effect on animals. For example
lavender oil not only helps kitties repel insects but it
also makes them feel sleepy or content. Roman chamomile
can be used to treat an ear infection as well as soothe the
nerves of a dog in pain.

Essential oils are also frequently used as home remedies.
However before you attempt to use aromatherapy on your own
pets, keep in mind that essential oils are always diluted
before they are applied to a pet's skin or sprayed on their
coat. Almond oil, olive oil and jojoba oil are common base
oils to which a few drops of the essential oil is added.
Usually all that is needed is about one ounce of the base
oil combined with two to three drops of the essential oil.

Essential oils can also be diluted in a spray bottle and
misted onto the pet or the pet's bedding. You can simply
dilute a few drops in distilled water or you can use water
and a mixture of aloe, witch hazel or cider vinegar. The
traditional recommendation is to use 20 to 30 drops of oil
per eight ounces of liquid. Any less might not be
effective and any more might be toxic to the pet.

Oils can also be diluted in vodka or brandy and dabbed on
the bottom of the pet's paws or on an acupressure point
such as the tips of the ears. This is the technique to use
if you are dealing with a panicky pet. Never feed your pet
alcohol or essential oil directly.

Essential oils are also effective flea and tick repellents
and are nearly as effective as sprays and powders that
contain a lot of toxic chemicals. Oils such as peppermint,
citronella, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, geranium, bay and
myrrh have been components of herbal flea sprays and flea
collars for many years. You can easily make your own flea
and tick spray by combining about 25 drops of any of these
oils into eight ounces of water. Shake the mixture well
and spray it on your pet, being careful to shield its eyes
from mist. This mixture can also be sprayed anywhere that
you suspect there may be a breeding bug infestation.

When using essential oils it is also essential for you to
remember that a dog or cat's sense of smell is much more
acute than our own. Signs that an aromatherapy treatment is
too overwhelming for your pet are tearing eyes, sneezing,
pacing or whining. Cats may lick themselves excessively and
dogs may rub their head on the ground in order to escape
the smell. Many pets also have allergies to essential oils.
For instance, chamomile is related to the ragweed plant,
which is a common allergen for both pets and humans. This
is why it is so important to use a mild solution at first
and use your powers of observation the first few times you
use an essential oil mixture on a pet.

About the Author

(c) 2005 Liz Santher - All Rights Reserved

Liz Santher is a aromatherapy enthusiast and freelance


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