To achieve the best results work in a calm environment where your dog has no distractions; this allows your dog to feel safe. Preferably have one or two comfortable places for your dog to lay down, such as a dog bed or sofa. Always make sure there is fresh water available.
- Be prepared to allow your dog plenty of time to work through the remedy while processing the aromas
- Begin in a place where your dog feels comfortable, such as near the dog’s bed or by a sofa (that can be used), and have a spare bed if possible so that your dog can distance himself away from the aromas to relax and process
- Choose an area that can be cleaned easily, especially if offering extracts orally
- If the room is too big, a lead may be necessary at the beginning of a session, until your dog becomes focused. In these cases keep the lead held in a relaxed manner, so, if needed, your dog can move away from the extracts
- The session should not be interrupted, otherwise results may take longer to achieve
- Remember that essential oils are very powerful and inhalation may be all that is needed. Don’t compare the intake of essential oil with macerates and other remedies, since they are a lot stronger
- Never force an extract onto your dog, even if you believe it’s the right thing for them; they know best. Let your dog guide the session
If the condition is severe or acute, then offer the remedies hourly or as guided by your dog. For chronic conditions begin by offering remedies once or twice daily. This will reduce in frequency, once the condition begins to clear.
- A vacant look
- Closing the eyes
- Lowering the head or lying down
- The work is all about not rushing, and closely observing your dog.
- Grimacing (helps open the vomeronasal organ)
- Barking or lunging at the extract Anxious (behaviour usually signifies a release, followed by calm)
- Jumping away quickly, or backing away from the aroma (usually indicates releasing an unpleasant memory)
Lack of interest, or distracted
The Ingraham Five Step Method of canine self-selection
Offering the remedies:
Spirulina and barley grass, offer dry/ wet. Liquorice root and rosehip powder, offer dry or mixed with passion flower oil^ or rice bran oil^. 25 to 50ml rice bran oil * 25 to 50ml passion flower oil *
Place all the remedies on the ground at the same time. You may also want to offer aromatic sprays(mists) that match your dog’s temperament (for more details see p.95 in the book: Help Your Dog Heal Itself).
*Offer up to 25ml of vegetable oil for a small dog and up to 50ml on larger dogs.
^Avoid all vegetable oils and macerates if your dog has pancreatitis or is prone to it.
For neutered dogs offer in the following order: Sandalwood, yarrow or German chamomile, St John’s wort and wintergreen (offer hormonal oils after step 4).
3. Digestive** - Antibacterial oils**
Can help to resolve many behavioural problems even if symptoms are not apparent. Offer in the following order to assess which provides the most interest:
- Stomach remedies: German chamomile, ginger, fennel, sweet orange
- Antibacterials: Thyme, garlic, clove
- Return to stomach: Black pepper, peppermint, basil
- Return to antibacterials: Bitter almond, lemon
**The idea is to assess which provides the most interest/ benefit to your dog. Don’t forget that you may have to wait a minute after sniffing to see the reaction. With some oils a short sniff can produce big results.
4. Pain remedies
Alternate wintergreen with the macerates to help reduce intake of fatty oils. Macerates^ can be offered orally (as much as needed, if your dog is able to cope with fats, avoid all fats if prone to pancreatitis), or topically on abdomen or inside of leg. Macerated oils can be too sticky on coat.
5. Go on to behavioural oils or hormonal remedies if not offered earlier.
- Essential oils: Avoid direct contact with the eyes. If contact is made, wipe eye with milk or vegetable oil using cotton wool (do not use water as this can irritate the eye further)
- If any irritation occurs to the skin, make a loose paste with green clay and water and apply to the area
- If your dog has pancreatitis or prone to it, avoid all vegetable oils and macerates ^
- If the is any concern that your dog has selected too much vegetable oil offer grapefruit essential oil, this is usually inhaled.
For further information and the differences between home and rescued dogs, please refer to: Help Your Dog Heal Itself by Caroline Ingraham
Cats rarely choose to ingest essential oils, preferring to inhale them, which provided positive outcomes. However, I cannot stress enough how important it is not to let a cat accidentally touch an essential oil.