Does your dog freak out when fireworks go off?
Does s/he get separation anxiety?
Does s/he seem generally hyper or stressed?
Let's talk about some of the most calming scents for dogs.
Before you jump on the most calming scent you can find and hope that it'll relax your dog, it's useful to ask yourself these questions:
- Do I walk my dog for at least an hour a day?
- Does my dog get social time to play with other dogs?
- What kind of energy do I project onto my dog?
These questions are ESSENTIAL!
The Importance of the Walk
Dogs are meant to be out and about in the world running, playing, chasing, working, and just about anything that is not staying still.
If you are not walking your dog for at least an hour a day, your dog is suffering. No amount of essential oils will make up for the lack of a walk.
What's the big deal? Walking your dog gives you the opportunity to both give your dog some exercise and train them. By walking your dog and having them walk alongside you or behind you (never in front of you), you are doing a few things.
You're reminding them that you are in control so that they don't have to worry about battling for dominance. You're giving them exercise that they desperately need. And you're giving them an opportunity to explore the world around them which also helps them calm down.
Giving your dog an hour's worth of walking every day can be life-changing. This is the foundation of everything dog-related.
Social Time for My Dog?
Yes! Especially your dog. Some human beings are okay without a whole lot of social time, but dogs are pack animals.
If they don't socialize with other dogs, they will forever be the dog that barks and whines behind the scenes with infinite curiosity about other dogs. This can turn into aggression and, you guessed it, anxiety. Also, it just sucks.
Long story short, you need to get your dog some interactions with other animals. If you don't feel ready to let them roam free in a dog park yet, that's okay. But at least set up some kind of doggy dates or some condition where they can interact with other dogs.
Energy Projection? What is This Psuedo Nonsense?
It's simpler than it seems. Basically, if you interact with your dog, whatever you are feeling at that time will be projected onto them in the form of your current state, attitude, etc.
For example, an aggressive person who owns a dog could very well turn their dog into an aggressive dog.
This is one of the reasons why pit bulls have such violent reputations. While pit bulls can be more aggressive than average, many aggressive humans tend to favor pit bulls for their "badassery." For this reason, aggressive dog owners project aggressive energy, and you end up with an aggressive dog.
So what's the solution? Calming yourself before attempting to calm your dog.
Here's a scenario you'll see a lot if you're around other dogs.
Dog barks. Human freaks out. Dog barks way more. Human freaks out more and gets higher pitched. Dog barks even more. Human spouse tries petting the dog to calm them (which is a symbol of encouragement). Dog goes berserk. Humans leave with dog because they don't know what to do.
This is typical. Don't be that person. Remain calm and assertive at all times with your dog. Make it a practice.
Now for the scents!
Scents That are Calming for Dogs
The way these essential oils were decided on is through the combination of studies, anecdotal evidence, and personal experience.
The most important thing to understand is that the overwhelming majority of essential oils are not recommended to be consumed by animals.
Heads Up! We don't recommend the ingestion or topical application of these essential oils. If you're interested in that, be sure to consult a veterinarian with an aromatherapy background.
The only way that we recommend essential oils is via diffusion.
With that said, let's start with...
Lavender Essential Oil
Surprise, surprise. The essential oil that relaxes everybody also happens to be popular with pups!
I can speak for this one because my dog, Trick loves it. He just seems more calm and easy-going when I'm diffusing it.
However, please be sure to check the Latin name of your Lavender Essential Oil. Many products say "Lavender" on the front, but if you check the back, it will say that the main ingredient is "Lavandin."
Lavandin does not contain the therapeutic effects that Lavandula angustifolia has.
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Cedarwood Essential Oil has a woody, earthy scent. It is commonly diffused by dog owners to provide a calming and grounding aroma, which can also act as a natural pesticide and insect repellent.
It is said to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which may provide benefits to both you and your dog.
Some claim it can act as an expectorant for dogs dealing with kennel cough, but the research on that end is inconclusive.
I would diffuse this around Trick more, but it's not my favorite scent.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense Essential Oil has a warm and earthy scent.
The great thing about Frankincense Essential Oil is that it is less potent than many other essential oils.
It is often used to help relieve stress, improve sleep, and reduce aging spots.
However, diffusing it in your home can also help to improve immunity for both you and your dog.
When I diffuse Frankincense around Trick, he seems generally more tranquil.
If you have a dog that is hyperactive, stressed, or generally uneasy, please consider the fundamentals first!
- Walk your dog.
- Give your dog some social time.
- Project calm energy onto your dog.
Handle that first!
Once you've got that handled, then you can go on to try diffusing some essential oils like Cedarwood, Lavender, and Frankincense Essential Oil to help your dog calm down more.
What's your favorite essential oil to use around your dog?
Let us know in the comments below.