What is Animal Aromatics?
Animals have a natural ability to self-medicate and in the wild would find the most appropriate aromatic substance to improve their wellbeing. Have you noticed when you watch your horse in the field or dog out on a walk, how they can take great care in choosing the right piece of grass to eat? Or how they sometimes lick the dirt, or chew on different hedgerow plants? This is them self-selecting their preferred aroma.
It's vitally important to remember though that you should not need to put the aroma under the animals nose, instead let them come to you. The principles of animal aromatics are that the animal does self select - and not have anything forced upon them, because it's a non-invasive therapy.
You may sometimes find the term "zoopharmacognosy" used in relation to essential oils for animal health. If animals have the opportunity and the need to, they will self-medicate through foraging plants and their essential oils - Zoopharmacognosy is this process. ('zoo' meaning 'animal', 'pharmaco' meaning 'remedy' and 'gnosy' means 'knowing').
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are concentrated, volatile extracts from the fruits, roots, seeds, gums and herbs of aromatic plants and trees. They possess properties that can help to restore balance and promote physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing.
Essential oils are usually only for inhalation and topical application only, and some will vary as to how they should be used. If you compete your horse, some oils may not be suitable to use with horses prior to competition as they maybe classed as a prohibited substance (a trained therapist or Vet will be able to confirm).
What Can Essential Oils Help My Animal With?
As explained earlier, they can be used for general wellbeing. However, there are also many specific ailments that can be assisted.
Ailments which aromatherapy is often used to help include:
- Skin irritations (e.g, sweet itch, mud fever, bruises, etc)
- Tendon problems.
Anxiety may also be relieved by aromatherapy - including that caused by:
- Going to a show
- Settling into a new home/environment.
Lavender has been featured in one of our blog posts, read here to find out more about this essential oil. <
Research has also taken place confirming the value of using aromatherapy to help animal wellbeing. This includes looking at whether lavender can help dogs who get excited as a result of travelling, read on.
Using Essential Oils With My Animal
Whilst some essential oils can safely be used by the horse (or animal) owner, it is also important to remember that if the incorrect essential oils are used, (or are used for too long), it can actually be very harmful to your animal. Even with the principle of "self-selection", only a trained Veterinary Surgeon / practitioner can advise what oils should be considered for a particular situation.
Caution should be exercised using aromatherapy, and so have a consultation with a trained animal aromatics practitioner/Veterinary Surgeon first, at least for an initial consultation and guidance on what you should use and when (and if you can at all!).
You can complete an animal owners course in zoopharmacognosy (animal aromatherapy) so that you can learn more about using essential oils with your own animals as a "lay person".
Qualified animal aromatics practitioners can be found around the world, (including in the UK), but as with all complementary therapies, please remember to seek your Veterinary Surgeons' advice first. (Many Vet's also use aromatherapy in their practice too, as they know the benefits too!).
Remember, that it's an offence for any person, other than the owner of the animal, to treat an animal unless the permission of the vet in charge of the case or to whom the animal would be referred is sought and obtained.
Would you like:
- Information on Animal Aromatherapists near you, for your animal?
- Take a course in Zoopharmacognosy?
- Or find out more about buying premium quality essential oils?
Then please email me for help - email@example.com
Read my review on the "Aromatic Dog" by Nayana Morag here.