Essential Oils for Canines
with Jackie Gowland
Tell us about yourself, your experience, your business and how you started with dogs?
From a young age, I was drawn to animals of all kinds and had a connection and understanding with them. I always wanted to be a vet so I could save them, help them and heal them. I went to University and studied Animal Science with the hope of transferring into veterinary science, but I never ended up following that path. I came to realise I can help heal animals without medical intervention and that was how my business Functional Canine was born.
Where are you based? What services do you provide at Functional Canine?
I am based in Adelaide, South Australia where I work hands on with dogs doing myofunctional therapy. I also create custom meal plans, assist dogs with allergies, anxiety and arthritis reduce the amount of medication they’re on and sell essential oils for dogs. The business will soon be expanding into more online educational content for the everyday pet owner as well as exploring other modalities such as energy healing and reiki.
How did you come about using essential oils in your practice?
Canine myofunctional therapy, or professional dog massage often deals with dogs experiencing significant physical or emotional pain. I chose to include essential oils as part of the treatment for two reasons. Firstly, this allows for a more comprehensive treatment and provides the owner with a product to manage their dogs health between treatments. I’m addition to this, essential oils that provide a calming affect assist anxious dogs with relaxation, making massage more enjoyable. I have also since been able to create a blend specific for dogs with itchy paws and management of hotspots.
Tell us about some benefits of essential oils for dogs:
Essential oils are nature’s medicine. These have been used for centuries and recently scientific studies have been able to find where these healing properties come from. There is significant research into the individual chemical constituents present in various essential oils which improve brain chemistry, have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. These same benefits can be applied to dogs. In my own practice, I focus mostly on the calming effects of essential oils and use them to manage anxiety in dogs. They can also be used to rebalance the skin, assist with wound cleaning and healing and may also reduce inflammation around sore joints and muscles.
Are essential oils safe for dogs?
When assessing safety of essential oils for dogs, I like to consider three aspects.
- Is this specific oil safe for dogs?
- Is the brand reputable and free from adulterants?
- Is the dilution I’m using appropriate
When using essential oils at home without professional guidance, ensure you have researched if the specific oil is dog appropriate. There are many that are generally safe, such as lavender, lemongrass, cedarwood, vetiver, copaiba, geranium, peppermint and frankincense. There are also well known essential oils to avoid such as tea tree, ylang ylang and wintergreen. A qualified and experienced professional may be able to provide additional guidance outside the usual recommendations. Dilution is essential, and ensuring you are using the oils topically or aromatically rather than internally.
Are there considerations when selecting a brand of essential oils?
Purity, reputability and extensive testing are what I look for when selecting an essential oil for my dogs. I specifically work with Doterra however other brands such as Young Living and AnimalEO are also great options to consider.
What is a canine self-selection of essential oils?
Zoopharmacognosy is a behaviour in which non-human animals apparently self-medicate by selecting and ingesting or topically applying plants, soils, insects, and psychoactive drugs to prevent or reduce the harmful effects of pathogens and toxins. The self selection of essential oils is based on the principle that “the animal knows what is best for them”. By spacing out a couple appropriately selected and diluted essential oils, it is believed the animal will choose which one is their preferred based on what is needed to heal.
Tell us about your personal dogs and how they have shaped what you do?
My first dog had itchy skin from the day we got her. After significant research, study and rebuilding her immune system, we discovered that dogs can indeed be affected by food intolerances and allergies and that we were not alone. My journey with her gave me a foundation to be able to assist others in a similar position. By combining a natural diet, nutritional balance and understanding what affects her, her condition has been naturally managed without the need of medication. When nutrition is coupled with maintaining muscle health and minimising chemicals in the environment, you have the foundation to create a healthy and long life for your dog.
How can we follow you or get in touch with you?
The easiest way to reach out if you have any questions or would like a custom product made for your dog is through social media or email.
Facebook: Functional Canine
Telephone appointments also available upon request.
Question everything you hear, follow your gut and remember that you know your dog better than anyone else. It is up to you to empower yourself to understand what options there are and to choose what is best for the longevity and health of your dog.