Essential Oils: A Gift Of Nature For Dog’s Health. by Timothy Hodge, DVM

Essential oils and their many benefits have received a lot of play in the news and on social media of late. Knowing how much you love your pets, I also know that you are most likely willing to do anything to keep them healthy, happy and safe. We never want to see our pets suffer and many pet owners

are extremely uncomfortable with the disguised ingredients lurk- ing in common pet products and are seeking natural solutions. Essential oils fall into that category. So, let’s set the record straight on what are essential oils and their use in dogs. Remember to consult your veterinarian about essential oils before using them as they are most aware of your pet’s medical condition. Essential oil use with pets offers many health and emotional benefits, but safe use and knowl-

edge of these oils is extremely necessary. There are several oils that should not be used in dogs and some with other cautions. Cats are a whole different story as they have even more oils that should not be used or with a large amount of caution due to a cats unique metabolism. The use of essential oils should be

considered in the same way we evaluate prescription drugs. There are species differ- ences and variations, dosing levels and inter- val of use. This is normal in veterinary med- icine as medications are based on the type of animal being treated, its weight and prop- er dosing amounts. Just as a pet owner should not self-medicate, the use of essential oils for pets should be

implemented with the guidance of a veterinarian or qualified professional in the field. WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS? Lavender, lemon, black pepper, peppermint. If you’ve ever

enjoyed these scents, then you have experienced the wonderful aromatic qualities of essential oils. These naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers and other parts of plants. Essential oils provide plants with

protection against threats and play a role in plant pollination. In addi- tion to their plant benefits and being beautifully fragrant to people, essential oils have long been used for food preparation, beauty treatment, and health-care practices. Essential oils have been in use for thousands of years. Today, we have them in the purest form, free of toxins, pesti- cides, herbicides, synthetics and non-diluted, depend- ing on which oils you purchase. Buyer beware.


HOW DO I USE ESSENTIAL OILS ANDWHY? Essential oils are used for a wide range of emotional and

physical wellness applications. They can be used as a single oil or in complex blends in one of three methods: Aromatically, Internally and Topically. The needs of the pet determine the method of use or

methods used in combinations. This also depends on the oil being used, as some are not meant for internal use. Some are more effective when diffused for their aromatic purposes, as they are absorbed into the respiratory center, then the blood and the rest of the body, or pass easily to the nervous system. Topical use has both a local effect and systemic effect due to rapid absorption by the body. So, I use essential oils for my own pets and prescribe them for

my patients as part of a holistic and integrated medical practice. I like to keep all options on the table when treating disease and know that essential oils can play an important role. Many health and emotional conditions respond best to multi-modality treatment plans. Meaning, more than one therapy offers benefits as we are treating on multiple levels of the disease process. An example of this would be a patient of mine that had bone

cancer in its leg. The owners didn’t want to amputate due to the dogs senior age and their concerns for its quality of life—let the dog live for as long as possible, but without surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. So, we treated this dog with pain medication, anti-inflammatory medicine that can slow cancer growth, tPEMT (targeted pulsed electromagnetic therapy) for pain and inflammation and both topical and oral use of Frankincense essential oil. There are many studies showing the benefits of using this particular oil in cases of cancer. I have used essential oils for respiratory conditions, skin tumors,

bone cancer, natural parasite control, stress/anxiety disorders, GI issues such as vomiting and diarrhea, nasal cancer, and numerous others. Again, treatments are adjusted to the individual pet and decisions made on how to best support the pet and its medical conditions. I added essential oils to my treatment options shortly after com- pleting my training in acupuncture and herbal therapies. Knowing there was more than just surgery and medicine that could benefit my patients, both of my hospitals incorporate traditional western medical care and surgery. We also have clients that prefer natural solutions for their personal health-

care and want that for their pet as well. This all

comes down to benefit analysis for the pets. When I make a recommendation to use an

essential oil for a pet’s need, we use a single brand. Having spent a lot of time studying and educating myself on how these oils are created, tested and used, I know the purity and quality and the stan- dards of testing used on this particular brand.

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