Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment for people that uses the scent of essential oils from plants to calm or heal the body. In many applications, the oil is added to bath water, applied to the air in a humidifier, or even massaged directly onto the skin mixed with a carrier oil. When you have an anxious pet, aromatherapy can be quite beneficial. Certain techniques for applying the right oils can make all the difference in your pet's improving condition.
Many anxious pets don't enjoy being handled, so using aromatherapy in a non-physical way may be best. Get a humidifier and place several drops of lavender, rose, or lemongrass into the basin, adding water to dilute the strong scents. The oils will be released into the air in a subtle way, providing rich, calming scents your pet can benefit from. Place a humidifier in the same room as your pet's crate, food dish, or near where they like to nap to give them constant access to aromas that incite calm. Make sure you keep the machine out of their reach so they don't directly inhale the steam or accidentally knock the unit over.
Essential oils do more than calm the spirit, they can provide needed relief for aching joints and irritated skin as well, something that many anxious pets suffer from. In the case of cats and dogs, sometimes it is external issues in the first place, like heat rashes or arthritis, that make them anxious in the first place. Aloe Vera, peppermint, and chamomile essential oils rubbed into the skin mixed with coconut oil (to dilute the strong effects of the oils and prevent burns) can soothe irritated skin, relax muscles, and provide needed relief to pets. Pressure points at the tips of the ears and near the base of the tail rubbed gently can help soothe your poor anxious pet as well. Apply essential oils to your pet's skin daily until you see their conditions improve under the supervision of your veterinarian.
An anxious pet may not like to be bathed when they are in a panic, but will tolerate a bath when they are calm. Apply several drops of essential oils of your choosing to lukewarm bathwater, adding a cup or two of oatmeal to soothe the skin and create texture that can calm your pet. You don't have to use any shampoos or conditioners after thoroughly coating your pet's skin with the treated water and rinsing it. The aromatic scents of oils will last all day and the oatmeal will keep your pet from scratching or biting at their skin, making for a much calmer, happier pet.
Before you use any alternative treatment on your pet, talk to your vet. There are many essential oils you can buy at your local natural health foods store. For more information, contact a business such as Downing Center For Animal Pain Management.