Dogs have a nose for odors. In fact, they possess 50 times more olfactory receptors in their noses compared to humans, and the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is 40 times larger than ours. Using botanicals is a perfect way to help our pets with anxiety and stress, as well as to provide natural protection from environmental factors.
Botanicals are plant oils and extracts that contain soothing and healing qualities. Because plants cannot move to escape predators, they must be able to produce a defense that can repel pests and damaging influences to survive. They do this by releasing compounds that are easily absorbed by inhalation, ingestion or direct contact with the skin. These compounds are what we find beneficial in our everyday lives.
It is widely believed that the ancient Egyptians were first to use essential oils. After that, many other ancient healing practices discovered the antibacterial, antifungal, antianxiety and anti-inflammatory uses of botanicals; as well as the discovery that oil odors can affect memory and mental states.
Lavender is an excellent example as it creates a powerful calming effect on the brain resulting in a relaxed pet. Some of the most common botanicals used in pet products are:
Aloe – Soothes and treats skin irritations, is anti-bacterial, and an anti-inflammatory.
Chamomile – Soothes skin irritations and is an anti-inflammatory.
Sweet Almond Oil – Natural moisturizing properties and the ability to soften dry skin, while balancing the amount of moisture skin maintains over time.
Tea Tree Oil – Soothes and protects the skin, and is effective in treating and preventing topical bacterial and fungal infections.
Eucalyptus Oil – Excellent for reducing fleas and parasites, is also an anti-inflammatory.
Lavender Extract – Safe and gentle antibacterial, anti-itch, and repels fleas and other insects. Nerve-calming when inhaled.
Spearmint Extract – Wards off mosquitoes and other insects. Cools the skin, and calms digestive problems when inhaled.
Peppermint Oil – Repels insects and helps with motion sickness when inhaled.
Orange Oil – Calms, deodorizes and repels fleas.
It is important to note that smaller and diluted amounts of botanical oils and extracts are used in pet products by comparison to those for humans. Because our pet’s sense of smell is much more acute than ours, it makes the effect of botanicals far more pronounced.
Gina Dial is the VP of Sales and Marketing at John Paul Pet, which creates Beneficial Botanicals that are specially formulated for pets. Their shampoos and conditioners work in two ways – through direct application to the skin and coat, and through natural inhalation. All their products have safe levels of botanicals to keep your pet looking and feeling great.