How to work with your dog

Listen to Caroline’s Podcast on Working With Your Dog

Caroline Ingraham Audio
Working with your dog

In this demonstration, watch and learn as Caroline explains how to offer nutritional and herbal powders to canines as well as what to look out for

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Here, Caroline is working with Lucky and talks through how to offer the oils to a dog. Here you will see how they take their doses, what you should look for in their body language and how you should respond

Rehoming can often be a difficult and challenging time for animals. Observe as Caroline demonstrates how Self-Medication can be used in helping with emotional support and healing through their journey using Essential Oils



Work in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Avoid too much noise or people walking in and out of the room. Inhalation is the fastest route to the emotional centre of the brain. Dogs have an especially acute sense of smell. The longer the nose, the more efficient the olfactory sense and Bloodhounds are in a league of their own. When a dog actively sniffs an aromatic remedy, it is not out of curiosity, rather it is because the aromatic chemicals are needed.

Due to the high volatility of the aromas they reach a dog’s olfactory senses very quickly. With some dogs, however, it may take a little while before you get a clear indication as to what is a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ response. Each dog will respond slightly differently to the volatiles – some may initially want to work close to the bottle and others at a distance.

Begin by offering the oil approximately 10-30cm (3-12in) from your dog’s nose, gradually bringing the bottle closer until your dog begins to turn his head away – this will be the distance required for the optimum concentration of aromatic molecules. Your dog may then want to ease into a stronger dose, so bring the bottle a little closer and check.

When offering each aroma wait a while, because sometimes it may look as if an oil is not needed when in fact it is; watch your dog and observe the responses. Look for lying down, blinking or heavy eyes. If an aroma is not required, there will be no interest in it and no reaction afterwards.

Other Ways to Work with Aromatics to Help Behaviour

  • Aromatic waters can be sprayed into the the air, the room and on yourself when working with anxious dogs.
  • Offer to stroke the selected aromatic water on your dog’s chest area or head.
  • Essential oils and aromatic waters can be applied to a door, person, an object or can be left on pieces of cloth / aroma-strips or in inhalers for dogs who don’t chew. Applied to a tennis ball works well if the dog is chewing due to anxiety (Roman chamomile), or needing comfort (rose). Chewing however may be pain related.


Usually, a maximum of six inhalers (which have offered the most interest / response), are laid out in a semi-circle around the dog. Keep the anti-bacterial oils together, followed by stomach, liver, behaviour etc. – so that the strongest are at one end and the behavioural oils are at the other end. The dog will regulate the doses between each. When he has had enough, he will get up and walk away.

Putting oils in inhalers and leaving them for your dog to work with (as shown below) can be a really practical way for them to work with, and ‘top-up’ with the oils.

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Incorrect position of bottles in relation to nose

Correct position of bottles in relation to nose

How Often Do I Offer The Remedies?

Antibacterial and pain relieving oils that are inhaled only, will often need to be offered more frequently, or put out in an inhaler(s). If selected and applied over the femoral artery in an aloe vera gel, or licked, they will stay in the body longer so may be needed less frequently. Every dog / condition will be case sensitive so the frequency of offering the oils will vary. Some dogs may only require their remedies daily while others may initially need an hourly top up. When your dog shows no further interest, offer the remedies every other day, then perhaps weekly or monthly to gauge if any ‘top ups’ are needed. If symptoms return, re-offer the remedies. In the winter or damp weather a dog may need more support with conditions such as arthritis.

Key Learning Points When Offering Essential Oils To Dogs


Positive Responses To Look For:
Soft, blinking or heavy eyes


Positive Responses To Look For:
Change in breathing, swallowing, puffing cheeks nostrils (VNO), Flaring – sniffing or movement of the nostrils


Positive Responses To Look For:
May become runny

Body Language

Positive Responses To Look For:
Stillness, Softness – relaxed, yawning with soft eyes. Lowering of the head. Laying down – sleepy, or looking for more energy if that is the desired outcome.


Positive Responses To Look For:
The dog may lick the aromatic particles in the air or subtlty catch them with their mouth. Breathing through the mouth using the vomeronasal organ (VNO)


Reactions - When A Remedy Is Not Immediately Needed


Turning away from the aromatics with none of the above signs. Be aware that the oil may be needed later