Imprinting Essential Oils With Dogs

Imprinting Essential Oils

Your dog’s nose knows a lot of things and will be very sensitive to smells.  His sense of smell is far greater than  your own.   That’s why it often doesn’t take much with dogs when we are working with emotions & the limbic system.   Your dog can typically smell the oil even if you haven't removed the cap yet (on a previously opened bottle)

The manner in which you introduce your dog to scents creates an imprint. He will start to associate the smell with a state of mind, or danger, or that mean old vets office.

As you start bringing essential oils into your home and for therapeutics for your pets, “the method” you use to introduce them to the oils starts to matter.

The gentlest method of introducing a scent is aromatically in the diffuser. Remember your dog’s nose is more sensitive than your own — s/he will smell things you don’t. So if you start diffusing an oil and he runs for the hills we need to sort out why that oil isn’t a good one for him or her.

The next way to begin introducing oils is to start with gentle oils — don’t start with the hot or more intense sensation oils — think Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Copaiba (Copaifera reticulata), or a blend like Gentle Baby or from the Animal Scents Line T-Away.  There are lots of options. None of these Young Living mentioned oils would require dilution. But as you progress to some of the hotter, spicier or more “emotional” oils, you will want to use a carrier for petting. 

Remember, right now it’s about scent introduction only.

The key is when your dog is calm, open the bottle (I sit on the floor or the couch if they are permitted up there with me). and just let the scent begin to waft into the room. Monitor their response. Next put it a drop in your hand, rub 2 hands together and maybe apply to your arms or neck. Monitor his response for a while — in this case, you’re acting as the diffuser. If all stays calm, add another drop to your palms and just pet the dog. His fur is going to act as a wick drawing the oil to the skin, so you don’t have to apply it on the skin. Again monitor his response.

Since this is your first time with any oil, always avoid the eyes, avoid the feet for now, and don’t make a big deal out of it. I generally pet from the neck down the spine, the tail and the ears. and even though you may feel that your hand is “dry”, you will still be distributing oil for quite a while.

It’s important to imprint scent in a calm state of mind so that they are associated in a good way, not a time of panic, booming thunder, emergency or injury. Otherwise, the scent could become a negative association.  Example:  if the first time I put the essential oil on my dog is in the middle of a thunderstorm when he's panicked, that oil is likely to be associated with the storm and not work.   But if I use the oil with no storm in sight and create a calm state of mind -- then when I bring the same oil out before or during a storm, I may have much better results for the oil to work.

Do this for each of your oils in the starter kit over the next couple of weeks, or any new oil you buy.

I feel compelled to tell you this part too -- because it often seems to get glazed over.  If there is an essential oil that is necessary for your dog's well-being, first-aid, or other therapeutic benefits -- use it.  Even if they may not like it at first.   Of course, we aren't trying to create a negative experience but there may come a time when your dog seems to hate an oil that is going to really important to the situation at hand.   If we have alternatives -- use them.  But if I need an oil for first aid -- you bet I'm using it no matter what they think.

Looking for more tips on helping your dog through fireworks and thunderstorms or other traumatic stress situations -- I can help.   Message me for a consult.


Leave a Comment