We’ve talked about the potential benefits of aromatherapy for your pup before--turns out there are specific essential oils that can help your dog during the winter months. According to Vicki Rae Thorne, certified aromatherapist and herbalist, and founder of Earth Heart Inc, integrating the right ones into your pup’s routine can soothe dry skin, support the immune system, and ease joint pain. Here are the four she recommends when it's cold outside:
Try: Niaouli oil
For: Congestion and allergies
Niaouli has strong antibacterial properties, so it's great for pups who have skin irritations and infections caused by allergies. So if your dog gets super itchy during the cold months or suffers from congestion, this is the oil for them. It's an antiseptic oil, so it can also help fight bacterial infections.
Try: Frankincense oil
For: Increased immunity
Try: Ginger oil
For: Joint pain
Just like humans, joint pain can be more intense during the cold months for pups. Ginger essential oil has pain relieving qualities and acts as an anti-inflammatory. It can also help alleviate arthritis pain and sprains. Bonus: the ginger can help with digestive issues and nausea caused by motion sickness.
Try: Lavender oil
For: Dry skin
Who isn't suffering from dry skin right now? Among its many healing properties, lavender oil helps soothe irritated skin, as well as infections and abrasions. Not surprisingly, it has the same calming effect on dogs as it does on us humans.
How to safely use essential oils on your pup
You should never use undiluted essential oils on your pup, says Thorne. It’s best to stick to dog-friendly products from reputable sources, which will already be formulated to accommodate your pup’s olfactory prowess. If you can’t find the scent you’re looking for, you can dilute essential oils on your own but use caution since they can be dangerous if not diluted properly. The exact ratio for dilution will depend on the oil, and the dog's age, temperament, size, rescue status, and health. But Thorne recommends .25% to 2% (1 to 12 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier, which is 600 drops).