A Little Lavender Goes A Long Way
About two years ago, a friend of mine introduced me to the many benefits of essential oils. What drove me to learn more about essential oils and to start using them regularly was our dog Hank. Hank was a 65 pound, German Shorthaired Pointer that was afraid of the world. He was the sweetest dog but hated wind, the dark, firecrackers and of course thunder. From Spring through July 4th Hank was is a constant state of anxiety. One particularly bad Spring evening we were out at a school event when it began raining really hard followed by a massive hail storm with lots of lightning and thunder. By the time we came home the storm had passed, but Hank was in a wound up state. He had chewed the plastic handle off the water valve of the powder bath toilet (fortunately nothing leaked) and after moving the washing machine aside, tried to chew his way out of the laundry room via the metal vent behind the clothes dryer. This last event left blood all over the laundry room wall. Now don’t panic (pun intended), Hank was alright. He had some small cuts in his mouth from the metal but nothing serious :). I share this story because it helps to give you a baseline of how bad his anxiety could get.
We had tried some natural supplements from our veterinarian as well as pheromone plug-ins that shelters use but nothing seemed to calm Hank down or even keep him from getting so crazy during the big storms. We did find some success with the “Thunder Shirt” but he would still be at a level 8.5 out of 10. I learned that lavender was a wonderful essential oil for bringing calm to people and animals, so I figured it couldn’t hurt to give it a try. I was a little nervous using the oil on him directly so we began with defusing the oil in the family room while Hank was wearing his “Thunder Shirt”. This combination worked pretty well. I then got braver and put a few drops of lavender on a bandana that I tied around Hank’s neck. Even more success! Eventually we got to the point where Hank would have his “Thunder Shirt” on and I would apply a few drop of the oil to the inside tips of his ears. This was the winning combination!!!!!! Now I won’t lie to you and say that Hank was now the picture of calm serenity but he definitely was more of a level 4 out of 10. We didn’t have to worry about him trying to escape via the dryer vent anymore :). Experiment with the amount of oil that you use. A little goes a long way and you don’t want to overwhelm your dog.
Now I only used straight lavender on Hank but there are a number of “calming recipes” that can be found on the internet using essential oils. I really like lavender because it is a good all-around go to oil for animals and people. It is
gentle, safe and can be used undiluted. Lavender is also an antibacterial, anti-itch oil that is good for many other ailments. If you decide that you want to give lavender or any other Essential Oils a try please make sure that they are therapeutic grade. I like to use doTerra or Edens Garden. Please let me know if you give oils a try or are already a user. I would love to know your stories.