Our Cocker Spaniel is now nearly 15 years old. We’ve used natural remedies to keep him healthy, ever since we first brought him home from a shelter. These have included herbs, homeopathy and essential oils. There’s growing awareness that aromatic blends can be used on dogs, as long as the right oils are used, and they’re applied sparingly.
However, please consult your vet before using aromatherapy oils. These are powerful extracts, and he or she can recommend the best approach for your dog. For instance, essential oils should not be used on pregnant females. Just to be clear. I’m not a vet. Just a dog owner who likes to use plant-based medicine whenever possible.
Essential Oil Recipes for Dogs
We’ve used essential oils for two common dog problems, ear infections and hot spots. This natural treatment was successful. No drugs were needed. With the hot spot, especially, there was no need to obtain medical care. A simple topical remedy, which we mixed up at home, with ingredients we already had in the house, solved the problem. (The irritation went away and the fur has grown back.)
Our dog had a yeast infection in his outer ears. Because he’s old, and we didn’t want to use a commonly prescribed drug, as it contains a steroid, we opted for a natural remedy. We applied a bit of a recipe containing lavender essential oil mixed with a carrier oil base to our dog’s outer ear. (We didn’t try to get the oil inside, where we couldn’t see. This was a totally topical application.)
Within a day, the intense redness subsided. After a week, it disappeared. We continued the treatment for another week, and now do periodic touch ups. If we were using a drug-based approach, we couldn’t use it for prevention. That’s because this drug contains an antibiotic, and there are concerns that random applications could cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Aromatherapy Dogs Essential Oils
We’ve used a couple of different aromatherapy recipes on our dog’s ears. Because he has long, floppy ear coverings, his outer ear is prone to yeast infections. I’m not giving medical advice, or telling you what to do with your dog, because I’m not qualified to do that. All I’m doing is sharing our experience. All health questions should be directed to your own vet. Here is a recipe, very similar to the one we first used on our dog’s ears.
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 5 drops of lavender oil (available here)
- 5 drops of geranium oil (available here)
We mixed these ingredients together and applied once or twice a day, with a Q-tip. It seems as if we were using only a little oil. That was the case, but only a little is needed.
Essential Oils Fleas and Ticks
We have never used a commercial flea product on our dog. I attribute his longevity to genetics, as well as to the fact that he’s led a relatively toxic-free lifestyle. Flea and tick solutions have been implicated in a number of canine health problems, including seizures. They’ve also resulted in unnecessary deaths from over-exposure to the active ingredients.
Humans are also exposed to these toxins, according to the National Resources Defense Council. This group has published findings showing that chemical flea collars are especially worrisome.
Here’s a very easy natural pest control treatment we’ve used. Once a week, or so, we tried adding a drop of geranium essential oil to our pet’s collar. I was careful not to apply it to his skin. This seemed to work, because he has a collar that absorbs these aromatics.
Homemade Flea Spray for Dogs
There are various natural flea spray products on the market. These are an excellent alternative to the widely advertised chemical-based offerings. But if you have a spray bottle, and a few essential oils on hand, you can make your own. (Just make sure the finished product isn’t aimed near your dog or near his eyes.)
Here’s a really easy recipe:
- 3 ounces of water
- 6 ounces of apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
- 3 drops of peppermint oil (available here)
- 3 drops of clove oil (available here)
You can spray this on your furniture and carpets. (Do a smell test area first, to make sure it doesn’t stain.) Vinegar is a great flea repellent. Insects hate the smell of clove and peppermint oil.
Home Remedies Dog Hot Spots
Lavender oil is helpful for healing dog hot spots. All we did was put five drops of lavender oil (available here) in one tablespoon of coconut oil. We could have used olive oil as well. But coconut oil has its own skin healing properties, so that’s what I opted for. We also could have added a drop or two of Roman chamomile (available here) if we wanted. If we did that, we’d need to use a little more coconut oil, so the mixture wasn’t too strong.
For Additional Reading
Here is a great resource on using essential oils for dogs. It includes recipes, as well as information on which oils not to use on your pet. It would make a great gift for a dog lover.
More Dog Care Articles
Dog Skin Problems Natural Remedy
Essential oils are often used on dogs to treat various skin conditions. Sometimes, hot spots can be stubborn. We were very fortunate our dog needed only one application of coconut oil and lavender essential oil before we noticed healing. However, I realize this may be more the exception than the rule.
So I also like to tell my readers about a wide-spectrum homeopathic remedy called Derma-IonX, designed for skin problems. You don’t necessarily need to work with a professional homeopath. The company that created this remedy, Vetionix, has two holistic vets on staff that are available to answer questions. This might be worth a try if you have no other natural options left. Derma-IonX contains a combination of individual remedies that are often used for skin conditions.
I’m a big fan of homeopathy. But I also have immense respect for its power. If I were using this formula on my dog, I would stop as soon as I saw significant improvement, and let the body continue healing. I’d hold off on additional doses unless they were needed.