A new study recently published by American Veterinarian certainly seems to think so. The work was actually carried out by Hartpury University Centre which is used in Gloucester, UK. Although their work centred on dogs who were currently living in rescue centres, the premise showed that aromatherapy seemed to work on dogs in much the same way as it does with humans. Care must be taken when using essential oils with dogs as some are toxic, but the ones used in the study are all safe for our furry canine friends. It is worth noting that there are some quite significant difference between the oils safe for cats and those fine with dogs, so if you have both living in your home you will need to find a safe common oil.
What Did the Study Reveal?
This was a very small scale study, so it is almost surprising that is has been taken seriously but, as advocates of aromatherapy for health, we have to say we are pleased to see the report. Just 15 dogs were used, all of which currently are in rescue centres which we can assume to be somewhat stressful for the animals. The purpose was to see whether they could bring some relief to these dogs and help them relax more during their stay.
What Oils Were Used?
The oils picked for the study were vanilla, ginger, coconut and valerian. Dummy cloths with no oils were also used as the control setting. The dogs were given a cloth, which had a few drops of one of the oils on. The fabrics had been prepared about an hour before so to avoid the initial really strong hit as dogs have very sensitive noses. During the study, the dogs were checked, and behaviours were recorded every ten mins for the 2-hour duration of the study. It was clearly explained that the cloths were only left in with the dogs during periods where they would be left alone, between feeding and walking time - this is when they feel dogs are most stressed. The 2 hours period was repeated over three days.
What Did They Discover?
The results of the survey showed quite clearly that the amount of barking and stressed behaviour decreased when the dogs had the cloths with them. Dogs were found to be more relaxed during periods that they were expected to remain in kennels alone. Ginger and coconut also seemed to have a more soporific effect than the valerian or vanilla, as these dogs not only looked calmer but slept more than you would expect. This is good news for those who want to calm a dog that may suffer from separation anxiety. Using a safe dog oil in a diffuser could be the perfect way to cure any form of stressed caused to your dog because you have popped out for a while. Remember to place the diffuser in a safe place where the dog cannot get to it and use an electric rather than candle based diffuser as you are not there to monitor it.