Healthy Beginnings

Essential oils can do wonders for your four-legged family members

If your dog is feeling ill or has digestive problems, try an essential oil mix of Ginger, Peppermint and Coriander.

So far with this column, we have helped women, men and children, but now it’s time for the most important member of the family — our pets.

Essential oils are great for our pets, too. Dogs have a higher tolerance to oils than cats. With cats, you must be very careful and really dilute, dilute, dilute. Further, some oils cannot be used at all on our kitties.

But today we will begin with dogs. And as they are also more sensitive, only use a couple of drops for them in all of these combinations.

Bugs (ticks, fleas and other unwelcome guests) can all be controlled by essential oils. And unlike most products on the market, essential oils are actually good for your dog by improving their overall wellness, skin and coat.

Do make sure you buy essential oils from a reputable source, however. Oils found at grocery stores, drug store chains and most corporate chain stores are, generally speaking, very poor-quality and more than likely adulterated. This increases the likelihood of an allergic reaction.

Dogs that are healthy and fed good, fresh whole foods are more able to resist bugs of all kinds. Using chemical flea treatments and vaccines that can lower immunity and high stress can cause dogs to be less able to resist bugs of all kinds besides the creepy crawly kinds.

One of my favorites for the creepy crawlies for dogs is Eucalyptus for repelling bugs. Eucalyptus Citriodora or Radiata can be combined with Cedarwood and Geranium and diluted with water or coconut oil and can be rubbed on their coats or paws for fleas, ticks, flying insects like mosquitoes, or biting flies.

Diluting with pure water makes a “hydrosol” that can be sprayed daily to protect your dear friend. To make it sweeter smelling, you can add Ylang Ylang or Patchouli. To see which oils your dogs prefer, you can have them smell the bottles and see which ones they like. You will know as they will sniff the bottle or lick it.

Another way for your dogs to repel the bugs is using a few drops of a hydrosol of Lemongrass in their water. Taken internally will also help to repel those nasty bugs and all the diseases they often carry.

For joint or muscle issues, you can also give internally some coconut oil mixing in a few drops of Frankincense, Rosemary, Ginger and Lavender. Other oils that can be used are Chamomile, Peppermint and Ylang Ylang. This can also be rubbed into the joints or muscles — only if their hair is short enough, however. Otherwise, I have found that it can turn into quite a mess.

Calm dogs make for good companions. Using a combination of any of the following — Lavender, Basil, Frankincense, Lemongrass, Rose, Geranium, Melissa, Cedarwood, Chamomile or Ylang Ylang — will definitely help with the dog that is easily over-excited or under stress, such as during a thunder storm. Combining a few drops with coconut oil and any or all of the above will definitely help calm them down fairly quickly.

Digestive problems can also be helped with a few drops of Ginger, Peppermint and Coriander oils mixed into their foods or mixed with coconut oil and warmed and dripped into their food — or, rubbed on their paws for them to lick it off.

I use a combination of several oils, and I swear my dogs can hear me unscrew the bottle from the other end of the house and come running. They love it and lick it from my hands.

This is a highly diluted combination of several oils that helps with calming and joint issues, along with overall good wellness, and it makes their coat and skin quite luxurious. It is a Terpene cream we carry made specifically for dogs and the difference is amazing.

We will have more to share about using essential soils with our critters in the future, but for now, take care of them, love them and feed them good foods and they will return that love one hundred fold.

Elaine Brooks is owner of The Herb Lady, located in Sparks. Visit or call 775-356-1499 to learn more.