You know how certain scents can trigger feelings and memories? When I smell freshly cut grass, for instance, I remember the joyful, carefree summer evenings of my childhood. Aromatherapy plays on this scent-mind connection to alter our moods — but did you know some experts believe it can do the same for our four-legged friends?
While we can’t ask our pets how different scents make them feel, we can take cues from their reactions as they’re exposed to specific aromas. Scents like lavender, jasmine and chamomile are known to be calming, so you might want to try one if your pet has an anxiety-causing trip to the vet
or a long car ride ahead. For days when you want to add some pep to your pet’s step; say, before a big agility competition, consider using eucalyptus or rosemary for their stimulating effects.
In human aromatherapy, essential oils derived from plants (or synthetic oils that mimic them) are diffused through the air or applied to the skin. For pets, try lightly spritzing the scent onto a blanket or their bedding. Use them very sparingly, though — remember, your pet has a much stronger nose
than you do!
Aromatherapy isn’t for all pets, particularly cats
and pets with liver problems
. Cats are highly sensitive to aromatherapy compounds, which can be quickly absorbed into their systems and may cause serious reactions. Always consult your veterinarian before trying any aromatherapy on your furry friend, and you’ll all be able to breathe easier!