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I’m an animal healer and therapist, but I am also an aromatherapist and aromathologist, specialising in animal wellness. You may not be familiar with the term ‘aromathology’, but in a nutshell it’s an intensive form of aromatherapy. Aromathologists understand greatly each concentrated hydrophobic liquid which contains the volatile aromatic compounds of each plant oil that make up essential oils.
Dogs don’t react to aromatherapy in the same was as humans do. One of these differences is down to their sense of smell. A dogs’ olfactory system is much more enhanced than that of a human. Olfaction is the the act or process of smelling and this is a dog's primary sense. A dog's sense of smell is said to be a thousand times more sensitive than that of humans. In fact, a dog has more than 220 million olfactory receptors in its nose, while humans have only 5 million – something we need to consider when using essential oils with dogs. With this information, it is important to understand that when using oils with dogs that their need of them is much less than ours. Just 1 drop of lavender essential oil in a vaporiser can have vast relaxation and de-stressing benefit, whereby humans may need 5-8 drops to achieve the same level.
It really does promote fear within in for the safety of dogs when I read or witness dog owners almost dowsing their best friend in essential oils or worse still, allowing them to lick a bottle or applying them neat to the body!
The emphasis in animal aromathology is about understanding the chemical compounds that make up an essential oil. Just because essential oils are natural, plant-based products does not give free rein for them to be used (and abused) at will with our dogs. Essential oils contain a wide range of chemical compounds.