A couple years ago, I decided I wanted to adopt a dog. I went to my local animal shelter and started to interact with some of the dogs there. Within minutes, I found the dog I was meant to adopt.
If I could have, I would have walked out of the shelter with all of those pups, but I really connected with one. He was an American Bulldog and Pitbull mix with ear infections, allergies and a bad skin condition.
This dog was considered a senior and was 9 years old. He had been in the shelter for over a year because nobody wanted to tackle his medical needs.
The moment I met this dog, he sat right on my lap and put his huge head on my chest, and I could just feel the stress and fear leaving him.
I held him for at least half an hour just petting him and letting him rest.
He occasionally would look up at me with his huge brown eyes and gently lick my chin. When the shelter employee told me she had to put him back in his cage, I could barely stand to let go of him.
He resisted and looked at me with so much pain in his eyes that I decided I need to give this old pup a home.
Are you crying yet?
I took Bruce home the next day, and from the very first night I could tell that this dog had some serious abandonment issues.
He would not leave my side no matter what I did, and I started to notice that he could tell when I was about to leave the house.
When I got ready for work or anything else, he would cry. Not only was the crying heartbreaking, but he also started to shake violently and would pace the floor.
I had to take Bruce to the vet for his ears and skin anyway, so I told my vet about his symptoms and she told me he has separation anxiety.
He had been abandoned so many times in his life that now that he found a person to love him, he couldn’t stand to be apart from me.
Still crying? Me too.
My vet told me about a number of different medications that could help Bruce, but I try to stay away from expensive medications as much as I can.
This is when I dove into research about essential oils and CBD oils and how they can help calm dogs with anxiety.
What Can Essential Oils do for Dogs?
Many people use essential oils and CBD oils to help relieve stress, pain and anxiety.
What some people don’t know is that these oils can do the same for your dog.
Essential oils are made of natural compounds from plants and are known to have great health benefits for dogs.
They can help prevent pests like fleas and ticks, reduce skin irritation from allergies, or help calm a dog’s anxiety.
What’s the Difference Between CBD Oil and Essential Oils?
While CBD and Essential oils are somewhat similar, they do have their differences. Both are extracted from natural sources, but the extraction process is different.
CBD oil is known as an extract, not an essential oil. It is a compound found in the cannabis plant and is also commonly known as hemp.
I know what you’re thinking. “Will CBD oil get my dog high?” Of course not! This is actually one of the biggest misconceptions about the use of CBD oil for both people and pets.
CBD oil is extracted from cannabis plants, which, yes, is where marijuana comes from. However, THC is the compound in marijuana that creates a “high.” CBD does not.
The CBD compound can help diminish body aches, promote healthy skin and calm anxiety which makes it extremely beneficial to dogs like Bruce.
His old age means aches and pains on top of his anxiety and the CBD oil really helps to alleviate these symptoms.
I won’t go into all the scientific details, but both CBD and essential oils can have calming effects for both people and dogs.
When Should I use Essential Oils or CBD Oils?
I’m probably going to say this a lot but ask your vet first! They will know if your dog would benefit from essential oils.
However, if you’re like me and you like to do your own research too, start paying attention to your dog’s symptoms.
I found that writing down Bruce’s symptoms in a journal helped me track his progress.
If he was particularly itchy one day, I would write down how many times I saw himself scratching for extended periods of time.
I also would write down whether or not he cried when I left for work that morning.
When I was trying out different oils, this helped me see if they were working or not.
If your dog is showing signs of anxiety, skin problems or is constantly battling pests like fleas, essential oils or CBD oils might be a good way to combat them these problems.
I also did a ton of research on the best brands. There are so many different essential and CBD oils out there that it was really difficult to weed out the best ones.
The most important thing to consider is how pure the oil is. Ones with additives and chemicals can be harmful to pets!
Can Essential Oils be Harmful to my Dog?
Like many dog owners, Bruce’s safety is my number one priority. While there are many essential oils that can be good for dogs, there are even more that can be harmful.
The most common essential oils that are safe for dogs include lavender oil, peppermint oil, chamomile oil, frankincense oil and cedarwood oil. We will get more into these products later.
Some of the most dangerous essential oils for dogs include anise, birch, bitter almond, tea tree, mustard and wintergreen.
There are many others that can also be harmful to your dogs too so be very careful when doing your research.
It is extremely important that you consult with your vet before you use any essential oils on your dog.
My vet made the mistake of giving me her cell phone number and probably got five texts a day from me asking if I could use a certain type of oil on Bruce!
CBD Oils and Essential Oils That can be Helpful for Dogs
As I said, I tried multiple different anxiety products for Bruce. I personally found that the first product on this list was the most effective from him.
I’ve also included a few that I would like to try for him in the future.
This first product review will probably be longer only because I had so much success with it and I want to make sure I explain it properly!
Then I’ll list a few of the essential oils I mentioned earlier and which ones I tried for Bruce, along with the ones I want to try next.
1) Full Spectrum Hemp Seed Oil for Pets
This hemp oil was advertised as a natural solution for arthritis, inflammation, pain and anxiety. It has all-natural ingredients that help reduce swelling and pain and also works to calm dogs.
Another important consideration was that this oil does not have any known side effects. The herbal product does not damage the kidneys, liver or GI tract in any way.
When I tried this product, I was a huge skeptic. The directions told me to give Bruce the oil over his food or directly in his mouth.
At first, I put 2 to 3 drops in his food, just to see how he would react to it. I got nothing. No change in his behavior at all. I almost gave up on it all together but I’m glad I didn’t!
I did more research on the product and found that it was safe to give him an entire dropper right into his mouth. Bruce is a big, stubborn dog so this was a little difficult at first.
I now know how my mom felt trying to give me a spoonful of cough syrup when I was a kid. Sorry mom!
Once I got the hang of giving it to him, I started to notice immediate changes in Bruce. Every morning, I would wake him up to go outside before I got ready for work.
When he came back inside, I would give him a dropper of the oil and then feed him. He did not cry ONCE that day. I was hooked!
I started giving him a full dropper every other day. What was even more amazing was that I was able to ween him off the oil eventually.
I would start by only giving him half a dropper, then less and less and now I only give him one when he needs it.
This product has helped him control his separation anxiety to the point where I could almost say he doesn’t have it anymore.
Sometimes I still need to give him a dropper of the oil if we’re going on a long car ride or if I’m packing for vacation (I swear he knows if I’m leaving for a few days vs leaving for work), but for the most part he does not have nearly as bad of symptoms as he used to.
It helps with his anxiety at home and when we go on long car rides. I took him on a 7-hour car ride to my sister’s house and he slept almost the entire way!
Please note that this oil does not just “dull” your dog’s senses. I didn’t want a product that would make him a vegetable.
He still is playful and does his zoomies all the time, but he doesn’t get upset when I leave the house anymore. This stuff is a life saver!
2) Natural Pet Spray Aromatherapy Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is well known for helping reduce anxiety and symptoms of PTSD, car sickness and trouble sleeping.
This is a spray that I tried for Bruce because I liked that it helped to keep him smelling fresh between baths.
Although it did have great results in calming his anxiety, it’s also how I discovered that I’m allergic to lavender! Yay me!
Obviously, I couldn’t continue using this for Bruce because it made me break out in hives and sneeze a hundred times a day.
Don’t worry though – I got tested and it was definitely my allergy response, there was nothing harmful about this product for my dog!
While I did use this on Bruce, I definitely noticed that he not only smelled good but that the aroma helped keep him calm. I would just spray it down his back in the mornings and that was all he needed.
This spray is paraben and sulfate free which made me feel good about using it on Bruce’s sensitive skin. The spray is also effective in soothing skin which helped alleviate how itchy he was.
3) Healing Solutions Peppermint Essential Oil
Like many dogs, Bruce will sometimes eat a few leaves on our walks or something else that might upset his stomach.
When this happens, I give him a few drops of peppermint oil to help relieve him. This oil can also be useful in getting rid of fleas, although I haven’t tried that yet with Bruce.
There are plenty of great peppermint oil products out there, but this one is one of my favorites.
Something to consider when buying essential oils is making sure they’re pure and don’t have any additives.
This product was GCMS tested for purity (this is a common test used on essential oils to determine the purity) and is 100% natural and raw.
If you want to use this on your dog for flea and tick treatment, I would recommend diluting it with water in a spray bottle to make application easier.
Otherwise, you can put a few drops in your pet’s food or directly into their mouth.
4) Sun Essential Oils Roman Chamomile
As you know by now, Bruce has itchy, sensitive skin. This frequently results in hot spots that get worse and worse the more he tries to lick them.
I tried countless solutions for his hot spots and could never find anything that worked as well as chamomile oil.
I don’t think Bruce likes the taste of it, so it helped encourage him to leave the spot alone.
It also soothed his hot spots, so they were able to heal faster. Although the oil is also supposed to help calm stress, I honestly didn’t notice much of a difference in that aspect.
The Sun Essentials Roman Chamomile Oil is pure with natural ingredients.
5) Plant Therapy Frankincense Serrata Organic Essential Oil
I haven’t had the need to give Bruce a supplement that helps with immunity or depression because in those aspects he’s been a generally healthy dog.
However, there are plenty of dogs that could benefit from those qualities.
This particular brand of Frankincense Oil caught my attention because it is 100% Certified Pure.
It’s very easy to miss additives, fillers and chemicals in essential oils but these can be harmful to pets, so it is important to find pure, natural oils.
This oil can be used for its anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties which may be very beneficial to dogs with allergies.
To use it on your dog, you can add drops to their food, water, shampoo or mix it with water and spray it directly on their coat.
6) Thermasensa Hemp Oil for Dogs
This is a natural oil that does not include any fillers or additives. It’s a natural solution for both dogs and cats for anxiety and pain relief.
The organic seed oil will help lower your pet’s arthritis pain.
I love this quality because Bruce is a senior dog and walking up and down steps can be difficult for him, but CBD oil has helped him navigate them much easier.
Hemp oil also has anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties. Maybe your dog tends to get car sick and nervous during long car rides.
This could be a great solution to help them ride comfortably during long trips!
This oil is also known to promote healthy skin and coats which would be extremely beneficial for Bruce.
So, which will it be, essential oils or CBD oil? Honestly, I use multiple products for different reasons. One is not better than the other.
I use CBD oil for his anxiety, and peppermint oil for his upset tummy. There are so many different combinations that could work for the needs of different dogs.
However, not every dog has anxiety like Bruce does so not all dogs would benefit from it. You just have to consider your dog’s needs!
I do want to make sure to say that CBD oil is not meant for rambunctious puppies who are just high-energy.
The ONLY way you should be “treating” that is with exercise. CBD oil will not make a dog sluggish or take away their energy.
No matter what product you want to try, ALWAYS consult your vet first. Hopefully this helps you think about how your dog can benefit from one of these natural oils! Happy Pup Parenting!