Sunday, July 22, 2012

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Lavender Can Ease a Puppy's Stress

When we took Jam back in for training on Saturday, we heard from David Brady, Training Kennel Manager at Southeastern Guide Dogs (you can also follow David's dog Fozzy who is on facebook), who told us that they were filling the kennels and massage rooms (yes, Southeastern Guide Dogs do get massages!) with the scent of lavender in order to ease the kennel stress of the pups as part of kennel enrichment.  He told us there were studies that indicated that lavender decreased stress, and in fact, I found an article by Narda G. Robinson, DO, DVM, MS, from Colorado State University that talked about a recent study indicating lavender oil "diffused into the atmosphere, produced significant effects on dogs’ behavior." Evidently lavender and chamomile essential oils (and this is from a 2005 article, Robinson states) when used in the shelters had the pleasing results of dogs exposed to those oils moving around less and barking less.  The opposite was true when peppermint and rosemary oils were used.  (This study sounded a lot like the one David told us about.)
aromatherapy and lavender and blue bottle from istock photo
Photo of lavender and blue bottle from Istockphoto.
Now, before you go thinking that Southeastern Guide Dog are stressed, the CEO of Southeastern told us at IFT also that they did a baseline study of the dogs and the average dog has an cortisol level of 3, while the average for a Southeastern dog was 2. Pretty darn stress free! In spite of the low scores, Southeastern will with kennel enrichment programs to maintain that low score and seek ways to constantly better the life of dogs while they stay in the kennels.

Robinson's article stated that "the second study, published in the September 15, 2006 issue of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association reported that ambient odor of  lavender may be beneficial in calming dogs susceptible to travel-induced  excitement. That is, dogs who would otherwise bark and exhibit restlessness during car rides calmed significantly after exposure to 5 milliliters of lavender oil  sprayed onto a flannel cloth."  I find this very interesting as Coach does seem to exhibit a bit of restlessness in the car.  I will be switching out my car fragrance to lavender.

In fact, Colorado State University Veterinarians even go so far as to give the recommendation of giving lavender scented tissues to a stressed dog as part of their Tips for Helping Pets Through Trauma and Disaster: "Lavender aromatherapy, provided as  easily as applying a few drops of pure essential oil to a tissue near the animal, calms both pets and people."  (I would note, that you want to make sure that the tissue is somewhere that your dog isn't going to eat it.  Jam and HRH Berkeley were very into paper napkins and tissues.)

Coach just arrived.  Jam just left for IFT.  Willow doesn't know who is coming or going.  So, I went out immediately and bought two lavender diffusers: one for upstairs and one for downstairs.

I like to think things are much calmer around here. If nothing else, it smells nice.  It is a little thing I can do to make it less stressful here.

[Note: The diffusers that David Brady at Southeastern uses are FanFuser Diffusers.  The lavender oil he uses is from Jedwards International. FYI.]

1 comment:

  1. I mix lavendar oil in water and put it in a spray bottle. Helps my dogs and my bedroom smell better! Wow - so happy to see Southeastern embracing progressive ideas. Perhaps they will discover the benefits of acupuncture and chiropractic for these hard working hounds.