Embrace The Benefits of Aromatherapy For Your Animal
What is Animal Aromatics / Zoopharmacognosy?
Animals have a natural ability to self-medicate. In the wild, animals will often select an aromatic substance for their wellbeing. Have you noticed when you watch your horse in the field or dog out on a walk. How they take great care in choosing the right piece of grass or hedge to eat? Or how they sometimes lick the dirt, or chew on different hedgerow plants? This is them self-selecting their preferred plant.
It's important to remember though that you should not need to put the plant under the animals nose. Instead let them come to you. The principles of animal aromatics are that the animal does self select. Meaning they've nothing forced upon them, because it's a non-invasive therapy.
You may sometimes find the term "Applied Zoopharmacognosy" used in relation to animal health. If animals have the opportunity and the need to, they'll self-medicate. This is through them foraging plants, clays, and algae. With nature being their medicinal larder. Zoopharmacognosy is this process. ('zoo' meaning 'animal', 'pharmaco' meaning 'drug' 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've properties that can help to restore balance. Also promoting physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing.
Applied Zoopharmacognosy includes the use of essential oils. But also includes using dried herbs, powders, clays and algae.
Do you compete your horse? Some plants and essential oils may not be suitable to use before competition. This is because it's possible they're classed as a prohibited substance. So do speak to a trained therapist or Veterinary Surgeon for advice.
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 applied zoopharmacognosy and animal aromatics are often used to help include:
- Skin irritations (e.g, sweet itch, mud fever, bruises, etc)
- Tendon problems.
Anxiety and stress may also be relieved. Including that caused by:
- Going to a show
- Settling into a new home/environment.
Get More Information On How Essential Oils Can Help
Lavender has been featured in one of our blog posts, read here to find out more about this essential oil.
This includes information on research proving the efficacy of lavender to relieve stress.
Lavender is also known to help in treating lice in donkeys. See this research Essential oils in the management of the donkey louse, Bovicola ocellatus (Equine Veterinary Journal, 2015)
Research has also taken place confirming the value of using aromatherapy to help animal wellbeing. This includes:
- Helping dogs who get excited as a result of travelling, read on.
- Can lavender calm dogs - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19496667/
- Lavender to calm stressed horses https://www.kplctv.com/story/21297137/msu-researchers-find-aromatherapy-calms-stressed-horses/
Read this case study to find out how a variety of different essential oils can be used to help equine tendon injuries
What Animals Can Benefit From Applied Zoopharmacognosy or Aromatherapy?
Many different types of animals can benefit. From small animals like rabbits. To cats and dogs. Horses, farm animals and wild animals too.
Using Essential Oils With My Animal
Whilst some essential oils are safe for the horse (or animal) owner to use. It's important to remember that using the incorrect essential oils can be harmful. Even with the principle of "self-selection". Only a trained Veterinary Surgeon / practitioner can tell what oils can be used.
Use caution with aromatherapy and applied zoopharmacognosy. So have a consultation with a trained 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!).
Applied Zoopharmacognosy is an individualised therapy. Two animals with the same ailment or symptoms may not want or need the same remedies. Never force a plant extract on an animal. This includes not adding it to their feed. They then have no choice and no control over the dosage, which can be harmful.
Courses You Can Complete
You can complete an animal owners course in zoopharmacognosy (or animal aromatherapy). So that you can learn more about using essential oils with your own animals as a "lay person".
Get Your Veterinary Surgeon's Permission
Qualified animal aromatics and zoopharmacognosy practitioners are around the world. But as with all complementary therapies, please get 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.
U.K. Zoopharmacognosy Practitioner
Would you like:
- Help finding a practitioner for your animal?
- Take a course in Zoopharmacognosy?
- Or find out more about buying premium quality essential oils from my Forever range?
Then please email me for help - firstname.lastname@example.org
You can read my review on Nayana Morag's book "Aromatic Dog" here.
About The Author
This article has been extensively researched and written by Suzanne Harris. Who is also the designer and developer of this site. A lifelong animal lover with a passion for ensuring animals can access complementary therapies for their health and wellbeing.