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merry

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I have been using essential oils for many years in my own face and body lotions and hair products, however I would now like to know what would be good to use on my dog. She is a ten year old rough collie who has just started to get very smelly between baths. Her skin is quite dry and there are quite a lot of dead skin cells under all the hair! I know that animals can react very positively to natural therapies so I was wondering if anyone can help me?

Carolyn

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HI Merry, I have a young dog who's been an essential oil dog since we brough him home. He was unfortunately not well treated when he was very young, and so when we found him he was all skin and bone, had kennel cough and a nasty bout of worms. So I have used eo's with him from the start in many different ways. I found that Auroma's shampoo and even the conditioner are so pure - no petroleum derived ingredients at all - that they work wonderfully well for Jay as they do for the rest of the family. I use mainly Geranium, lavender, tea tree, cajuput and patchouli in his shampoo and conditioner when I bath him - and when we were in wetter months that was sometimes twice a day. He's a Dalmador - half dalmation and half labrador - and has their characteristic need to run for miles so I'm out with him morning and night regardless of the weather. He gets awfully messy sometimes I can tell you. I brush regularly also and his skin is always clear and healthy. We also had a problem with tics since the forest preserve and prairie path fortunately still have some deer around although the building frenzy is closing in too quickly./ Anyway, I've used neat peppermint, clove and cinnamon at different times directly onto the tick to get it to loosen first - and then to disinfect the area. Works really well. I also use eo's to clean out his crate periodically and to rinse his sleeping mat - and I've even used Mandarin to calm him down when he starts bouncing off the walls. AGain the oils I use are really the one's I want to use up because they're a little old and not suitable for therapy anymore - he doesn't seem to have a dislike for any of them - although he probably associates cinnamon and clove now with the tic removing process - poor thing. I've also used Auroma's moisturizing cream with some lavender and tea tree blended for a dry patch he had on one of his heels when he was really small - an old injury from the kennels apparently - never saw sign of it since. I would suggest checking out some of your mainstay eo's ( like lavender, lemon, geranium, marjoram tea tree etc) with your dog first though - not all dogs are as accommodating as Jay. YOu'll be guided by those your dog shows interest in. Blend at 5% max in your carrier of choice - so that would be about 30 drops in total of eo in 1 fluid ounce of carrier - or about 2 tablespoons. Probably blend half of this amount of eo at first to see how your dog reacts. Hope she likes it. Best Carolyn

merry

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Carolyn, Thanks for your prompt and informative reply. We don't have a tick problem in Melbourne, Australia thank heavens! We do have fleas however in abundance - the animals that is, not the humans! I have just made up some sweet almond oil with lavender and tea tree oil and rubbed into Chayla's back, so I will let you know how we go. She is an old dog so anything that makes her life more comfortable is a bonus. She also has bad arthritis in her back legs so I wondered if you had any suggestions for this. We often give her a massage and she just loves it. I was thinking that I could make up some carrier oil with say lavender and marjoram and use this with the massage.

suzanne

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You might also try cedar wood (Cedrus atlantica) for fleas. I have used this very successfully and it can be at a much higher dilution say up to 25% if the fleas are bad as the sesquiterpenes and low volatility mean that this has no problems for the dogs with overpowering smell or effects on health. I make a blend of Cedar, lavendin and a little opoponax which has very high efficacy and I use both sesame carrier and a cream base depending on the type of dog. Obviously long hair dogs can become even muckier if you use a carrier oil, as their fur then holds dust, dirt etc. whereas a water base emulsion does not make their fur a mess. You can even dilute the essential oils in some hydrosol, using cedar again or lavender, or fleabane (Erigeron canadensis) which works best. Add 10% lecithin to the essential oils then add this to the hydrosol or water and shake well. It will homogenise long enough to be applied to the animal although it will probably separate after a bit. Just shake before each use. One word of caution however... don't use essential oils on cats and be careful with small dogs as well. Think about the body mass and acuity of smell and it becomes obvious why. For cats with fleas use only hydrosols and work with the cat in advance to see how they react to the fragrance before applying it to their bodies. Homemade flea collars are an option but as these generally use essential oils and are close to the animals head caution must be exercised.

suzanne

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I would not be suggesting either peppermint or spearmint for a dog, spearmint has high ketone content for an animal under the 50kilo weight range and peppermint has an extremely strong odour that most animals really dislike, in fact it deters ants, mice and rats, animals hate it so much. Oils for arthritis are well known if you read non-english aromatherapy literature and even if you don't there's plenty of good info from people like Kurt Schnaubelt etc... Arthritis often has fluid accumulation with it and this is part of what must be addressed. Personally I have used both oils and homeopathy VERY successfully for this for about 8 years. Homeopathic remediy of Rhus tox at a 30 potency, three times a day for 2 days then once a day for 2 days, then stop and watch symptoms. Use Rhus as necessary thereafter usually no more than 2 doses in a day and usually only one or two days at a time will do it. In between use homeopathic Arnica montana at 30 potency, and give as necessary for light stiffness or before / after a long walk etc. The Rhus tox is really for the days she is bad after that initial and the arnica for the in between days. Miranda castro and Chris Day have good books on homeopathy that are easy to find and Chris Day is a vet. And for arthritis the oils you might consider for an animal I'd suggest, Black Spruce, Scotch Pine, Helichrysum, Blue Tansy (Tanacetum anuum) lemon eucalyptus, Eucalyptus radiata, Juniper berry, cypress, and yes marjoram and lavender but I'd avoid warming oils like black pepper as some arthritis does better from heat and some better with cold so unless your dog can clearly indicate which helps more I'd stick with non-heating, non-cooling oils. You can also make the blend in a water base with lecithin as an emulsifier and finally I'd be giving her 1 teaspoon of St Johns Wort maacerated oil morning and evening. The flower macerated in olive oil produces a rich brown/red infused oil that helps plump the intervertebral discs of the spine, lubricates joints and helps calm and heal nerve tissue. All of which would make your sweet puppy feel way better. We've turned around a 12 year old standard poodle who was hit by a car using only St Johns Wort internally. All the best

Carolyn

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Reply with quote  #6 

Thanks again Suzanne for sharing such excellent advice. I know very little about homeopathy and so really appreciate these details. I still stand by my personal experience with peppermint and the softer spearmint for my dogs in the past - certainly Jay right now shows no negative responses to the use of a very small amount of M. x piperita on a localized basis - and actually seems to like the fragrance in small quantities. I guess at really low dosages one might consider it's use on a 'homeopathic' basis - 'similia similibus curentur'. Anyway, I'm sure we'd have to use much lower dosages than can easily be measured to conform to the potentiating, mother tincture principle. I use peppermint and spearmint with confidence because as a vasodilator initially it warms the skin, then allows cooling through flushing the superficial tissues with blood. This also is partially the basis for it's antiinflammtive properties too. Kurt Schnaubelt states that the effectiveness for the aromatherapy approach to the management of arthritis is limited to easing the acute pain with anti-inflammtive essences (page 254 Medical Aromatherapy), and he also suggests E. citriodora and H. italicum at 10 drops each in 5ml of sesame oil. It's my understanding that M. x piperita biochemical specificity menthol, usually contains around 20% menthone with about 2+% isomenthone, while M. spicata can have between 15 - 20% menthone and 3 - 10% isomenthone. There's also about 1 - 3 % piperitone in M. x piperita (ref Laboratoires PhytoSun' Aroms), and between 0.1 and 2% of d-pulegone according to Tisserand & Balacs (p. 160 Essential Oil Safety). THey say that convulsions and ataxia potentially brought about by the pulegone and / or menthone found in peppermint oil that were experienced by rats was the response to extremely high doses (0.5 2ml /kg i.p.). They also go on to say that although doses above 80mg / kg for pulegone and the lower 0.2g / kg for the menthone can produce histopathological changes in brain tissue, there is no indication that peppermint oil can produce these toxic effects when used externally in aromatherapy. They advise some caution however for oral dosage. M. spicata appears to have between 50 - and 70% l-carvone, some menthone and pulegone but nowhere near as high as M. x piperita. Tisserand and Balacs list an acute oral LD50 as being 1.64 g/kg in rats. They go on to qualify further that carvone is non-irritant, non-sensitizing and is not hepatotoxic. Cornmint, M. arvensis is considered much more potentially hazardous than either M. x piperita or M. spicata. You're perfectly right - we must not forget the considerations of chronic toxicity though. Low, generally acceptable doses of eo's with components that become sequestered in tissues may build up over time and reach potentially toxic levels at some point in the future. Also metabolites of certain components are more hazardous than their original structure. Witness methyl chavicol (estragole) at between 40 & 87% in Ocimum basilicum, depending on origin, that is metabolized into 1'-hydroxyestragole ( in vitro anyway) and considered to be potentially carcinogenic at high dosage. (T & B, page 120) I have also researched Tansy in the past, and although the majority of references are for Tanacetum vulgare and not the T. annuum which I've used from Laboratoires PhytoSun' Aroms as the biochemical specificity chamazulene, camphor type and containing around 15 - 20% camphor. Camphor is a ketone with an attitude. It is very readily absorbed through the skin and mucus membranes - with a probable human lethal dose of 0.05 - 0.55 g / kg. (but no figures for dogs though). It can cause epileptiform convulsions if taken in sufficient quantity. M. x piperita var. FrancoMitchum b.s. menthol, menthone doesn't have camphor listed according to Philippe Mailhebiau, page 334 translated from La Nouvelle Aromatherapie. Neither does Shirley Price (page 256, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals). The T. vulgare species shows a rather high level of beta-thujone - 80% ish, plus around 5% camphor. Even though the alpha isomer is considered more toxic than the beta enantiomer, they exist together apparently anyway according to Tisserand and Balacs. Their listing for the acute s.c. LD50 of beta-thujone is 0.44 g/ kg - while the alpha-thujone is significantly lower at 0.087 g/kg. Mathematically however, this works out at for a 50 lb dog = 110 kg which would mean that if there are about 5mg of eo per drop (or thereabouts) you would have to use 48.4 g or 968 drops. Tisserand & Balacs advise that 1 g of essential oil is very roughly equivalent to 1ml, which in turn is equal to about 20 drops. But this relates to a lethal dose by internal ingestion, and doesn't indicate the terrible damage that would be done to internal organs etc., before a lethal level was reached. If there is alpha-thujone present then this up's the risk rather , and you can work out the much lower # of drops required before potential damage. Jay also seems to love the blend with Zingiber officinalis, Origanum majorana and Piper nigrum to massage his legs. he had a rather stiff back leg - a pulled muscle when he tried to scoot out of the way of Emily's bike one evening. I used a 5% concentration in total and blended in jojoba. I'll remember the Hypericum perforatum oil for next time. I also have a macerated Arnica monata too - perhaps use one of these without the eo's first to see which administration is having what effect. In the end - the safety of any eo (or fixed oil or herbal preparation) depends on a wide range of variables, not just the proportions of potentially hazardous components. Natural synergy often provides integral quenchers to manage these aggressive components. Use the whole eo and their potential risk is checked very often. Use the isolated component and you're probably asking for trouble at some point or another. For safe and effective every day use in aromatherapy , whether for humans or animals, other factors need to be carefully considered - including the constitution of the recipient, the route and method of admin, and frequency. I personally appreciate this sort of dicourse immensely. I know there's so much knowledge out there and I love the way that I learn something new every day. I hope our other 'bulletin-boarders' do too. Best Carolyn

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