Wo(man’s) Best Friend: Essential Oils for Dogs

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

Meet Bentley. Bentley is my 1-year-old, 125-pound Labradane (yes, a Lab and Great Dane mix). When I adopted Bentley from the SPCA, he was 1 of a litter of 8. At 7 weeks old, he was the cutest little ball of fur and he literally had to climb into his food bowl to eat. The SPCA said he was a “lab mix” and by mix, they thought Border Collie/German Shepherd. Wrong. Bentley exhibits many of the Great Dane traits…he is all about the “Great Dane lean”. Oh, and I should probably clarify the origin of his name. No – I did not name him after a fancy car. Bentley was named after the one and only, extremely talented Dierks Bentley.

Bentley LOVES to play in the snow, eat eggs with his breakfast, watch TV, and of course, listen to Dierks Bentley. Bentley is scared of plastic bags, baby gates, and the rain. Bentley fills my heart and soul with so much love and comfort. When I have what has felt like the worst day, coming home to his excited spirit instantly turns my day around. Dogs are special creatures and I think as humans, we can learn a whole lot from these selfless creatures.

All of my blog posts focusing on single essential oils explain how we (humans) can incorporate essential oils into our lifestyles. You might be surprised to learn that your little furry friends can also benefit from the aromatic compounds in essential oils! Dogs experience a range of emotions and essential oils can provide enhanced emotional support!

Essential oils should be diluted for smaller pups. Check out this chart with the dilution ratios for essential oils based on weight!

Allergies: Yes, dogs can suffer from seasonal allergies. Doggie sneezes are no longer an issue! Apply Lavender to the pads on the bottom of their feet to reduce allergy symptoms.

Ticks & Fleas: In an 8oz. spray bottle, add 4 drops of each of Peppermint + Eucalyptus essential oils and top with distilled water. Spray your doggie once a day!

Calming: Massage Lavender onto the pads of feet, tips of doggie ears, and the top of the head! Now, I am going be honest. Bentley is a ball of energy and he does not particularly enjoy the scent of Lavender. However, I have heard that Lavender has worked wonders on other hyperactive dogs. Just as with humans, certain oils work better on certain individuals.

Bad Breath: found this great recipe for “Bad Breath Bones” which incorporates Peppermint + Cinnamon essential oils to naturally freshen doggie breath through a healthy, natural treat!

How do you use essential oils to help your best friend? What natural solutions have you found to work best for dog? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Running Essentials

“Running teaches us to keep moving forward, one step at a time, especially in the most painful moments.”

I enjoy running. Okay – maybe I should rephrase that sentence. I enjoy running in nice weather, on flat courses, when I am in the “right mood.” I am a picky runner and I am perfectly content with that. I love 5Ks and I can handle 10Ks. However, after my last half marathon, I made a promise to myself that would be my last half-marathon without more than a week’s worth of training.

I struggle with training consistently because my schedule is just a tad crazy right now, so there is always some excuse to go running on a different day. I will be running a 5K in the near future, so tonight I had to have a serious talk with myself and start training. The first day back is always the hardest. My legs started aching about 1/8 of a mile in. Pathetic, right? I have to remind myself that what matters is that I am being active. At this stage in my training, it does not matter how fast I go – all that matters is that I am out there moving.

The wonderful thing about running is that once I get back into it, I remember that even though my body will experience some aches and pains, running makes me feel GREAT.  Living an active lifestyle makes me feel more energized and improves my emotional dimension of wellness. Running reminds me how important it is to set goals and work my hardest to achieve those goals. My first short-term running goal is to be prepared for my upcoming 5K. Baby steps. One day at a time. Progress matters. 

Thankfully, essential oils can be incorporated into your pre-running and post-running routines to improve both the physical and emotional dimensions of wellness.

Before Running:

  • Apply a few drops of Peppermint or the respiratory blend to your chest and/or wrists a few minutes before beginning your run. Peppermint will clear the airways and enhance alertness.
  • Inhale or apply the grounding blend to stabilize emotions and clear the mind of outside thoughts.
  • Did you know Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties? Apply a few drops to your legs to reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Apply 1 drop of Frankincense and 1 drop of Peppermint to the bottom of each foot for energizing and cooling sensations while running.

After Running:

  • There are a variety of essential oils that are wonderful to soothe muscle tension. Apply Lemongrass, Eucalyptus, Wintergreen, White Fir, or Frankincense to your calves or other sore muscles to relieve tension.
  • Rehydration is essential! Add 1 drop of Lemon to each 8-ounces of water you drink to benefit from its uplifting and cleansing properties.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath with Lavender to soothe sore muscles and experience ultimate relaxation. If you missed my post on the importance of a detox bath, you can read it here!
  • Cypress supports circulation! Apply a few drops to your legs after running to promote blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Blisters? Apply 1 drop each of Lavender, Melaleuca, and Chamomile to speed up the healing process!

What are some of the natural solutions you utilize to enhance your running or workout experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Traveling with Essential Oils

“A mind stretched by new experiences can never go back to its old dimensions.”

I recently went on an adventure to the “land down under” and primarily explored the incredible city of Sydney. Sydney is unique in the sense that it is an extremely large city, yet it exhibits a “local” feel. This was my first time traveling abroad, so I was both excited and nervous in the days leading up to my trip. With all of these varying emotions, I once again relied on my essential oil buddies. I was well aware I would face unexpected events while traveling internationally, but I had an open mindset and knew that I would go with the flow and make the best out of every situation, regardless of the circumstances.

Traveling Internationally: At first, I was concerned about traveling internationally with essential oils. I did not want to pack any essential oils in my checked bag in case there was an issue with one leaking. Thankfully, I did not experience any issues going through security or customs in Australia with my essential oils as I was in compliance with the specified liquid guidelines.

Defining Your Version of “Essential”: On an average day, I probably use around 10 different essential oils. For this trip, I was motivated to pack light (something I am not normally known for). I was able to narrow down my oil supply to just two oils. Yes, just two essential oils. Unfortunately, this meant I would be going without my daily eucalyptus shower. I also had to leave my diffuser at home, which meant no drifting to sleep to my favorite calming essential oil aromas. Rather than bringing my regular essential oil bottles, I stuck with the rollerballs as they provide a more efficient application method.

  • Lavender: this essential oil is a true lifesaver. Whenever I began to feel stressed during my trip, I either inhaled the Lavender aroma directly from the rollerball or applied the Lavender directly to my wrists for an instant grounding feeling.
  • Peppermint: if you have ever been on a long flight (mine was about 15 hours), you understand the many difficulties associated with an extensive flight. The meals you get on the plane are okay, and the cabin pressure can mess a little with your head and stomach. Peppermint is great for eliminating headaches and easing nausea.

Exhibit Awareness: I also selected Lavender and Peppermint for reasons beyond their physical and emotional benefits. Lavender and peppermint have relatively subtle scents and they are common fragrances that do not seem to bother other people. Trust me – you do not want to whip out and apply a strong and slightly unusual smelling essential oil on a plane with one hundred other people.

Meet Lavender – Your New BEST Friend: So picture this – I am anxiously awaiting to begin boarding the plane. Plot twist! I am informed that my flight is delayed for an unknown period of time. Inhale Lavender. The main problem with this flight delay was that I barely had an hour layover to catch my connecting flight to Sydney. Inhale Lavender. To make a long story short, I frantically ran to my gate once I landed in LAX, only to find out that I missed my flight to Sydney. Inhale a whole LOT of Lavender. Unfortunately, the next flight was not for another 24 hours. Hopefully, I don’t run out of Lavender before I even leave the country.

Remember the “Essentials” Beyond Essential Oils: After missing my connecting flight, I suddenly realized my rookie packing failure. My carry on basically contained school work, shoes, and my rain jacket. It probably would have been a good idea to carry some of the essentials with me, considering I was going to be on a long flight. Yes – I was that person who wore the same outfit for almost 3 days. United Airlines did provide a very basic amenities kit, but it would have been nice to have a few extra essentials.

Jet Lag Remedies: Sydney, Australia is 18 hours ahead of the Pacific Time Zone. Talk about an awkward time adjustment. Fortunately, when I first got to Australia (and basically throughout the whole trip), I was so very excited that I am pretty sure I was basically running on adrenaline. Returning home was a completely different story. Jet lag is no joke. There are a variety of essential oils that can combat the struggles associated with jet lag.

  • Apply invigorating essential oils to the bottom of your feet in the morning: Peppermint, Eucalyptus, or Wild Orange
  • Apply calming essential oils to the bottom of your feet before bed: Bergamot, Rosemary, Lavender, or Geranium

Have you had any unique experiences while traveling with essential oils? Do you have any additional travel tips or natural jet lag remedies? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is known as the Oil of a Buoyant Heart. This invigorating essential oil positively impacts body, mind, and spirit. Not only does Peppermint combat negative feelings of pessimism and despair, but it also promotes relief, optimism, and renewal. The purpose of this blog post is to provide you with some background information in order to establish a basic understanding of Peppermint essential oil.

Peppermint comes from the Labiatae botanical family, which is the scientific, fancy word for mint. The primary chemical constituents found in peppermint leaves are phenolic alcohols and menthol, which contain antibacterial and invigorating properties. The extraction method for Peppermint essential oil involves the steam distillation of peppermint leaves. If you are interested in learning more about essential oil extraction, check out my blog post here, which covers the basics of essential oil extraction and the importance of quality.

Some of the primary uses for Peppermint essential oil include alertness, bacterial infections, chronic fatigue, congestions, cooling of the body, cramps, fever, flu, headaches, heartburn, hives, hot flashes, hypothyroidism, indigestion, itching, jet lag, memory, migraines, muscle fatigue, nausea, osteoporosis, sciatica, shock, swollen eyes, ulcers, and varicose veins.

Peppermint essential oil can be applied via all three application methods–topical, aromatic, and internal. Topical: Peppermint essential oil can be applied directly to the skin on the area of concern or on reflex points. Please note: for children and individuals with sensitive skin, dilute 1 drop of Peppermint with 1 drop of unfractionated coconut oil. Aromatic: Peppermint essential oil can be inhaled directly or diffused. Internal: add to a drink or take using a vegetable capsule! Additionally, Peppermint essential oil can be used in cooking. Tip: 1 drop of Peppermint essential oil = 1/8 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves.

Everyday Uses:

  • Do you easily get car sick? Inhale the aroma of Peppermint straight from the bottle, or rub on your temples and the back of your neck to relieve symptoms!
  • Feeling congested? Rub Peppermint on your chest and/or the sides of your nose to open up airways!
  • Need a quick breath freshener? Place 1 drop of Peppermint under your tongue, or add 1 drop to an 8-ounce glass of water for instant freshness!
  • In need of a morning energy boost? Place 1-2 drops of Peppermint on your shower floor and breathe in the steam!
  • Do you feel a tension headache coming on? Apply Peppermint to the temples, back of the neck, or reflex points for instant coolness!
  • Experiencing indigestion?  Rub a few drops of Peppermint over your abdomen for relief!
  • Experiencing acid reflux or heartburn?  Add 1 drop of Peppermint to an 8-ounce glass of water or take a veggie capsule with 1-2 drops!
  • Are you dealing with spiders in your home or office? Place a few drops of Peppermint on cotton balls for a natural spider repellent! 
  • Are you having trouble studying or focusing on an important task? Add a few drops of Peppermint and Grapefruit essential oil to your diffuser for the perfect concentration blend!
  • Struggling with seasonal allergies? Add 2 drops each of Peppermint, Lemon, and Lavender, to a veggie capsule to alleviate allergy symptoms! 

Where do I get most of my information from? The sources I completely rely on and fully trust are Modern Essentials and  Emotions & Essential Oils: A Modern Resource for Healing. Check out these books if you are interested in learning more about the benefits of Peppermint essential oil!

What are some of your favorite ways to use Peppermint essential oil? How do you incorporate this essential oil in your daily routine to regulate your emotions? I would love to hear your thoughts!

DISCLAIMER: this website is for general health information only. This content is not to be used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any health condition or problem. You should not rely on this information for your own health problems. Any questions regarding your own health should be addressed to your own healthcare provider.

Water Wisdom

“Life is simple. Just add water.”

Why is water so important for our bodies? Did you know that the human body is made up of approximately 60% water? It is vital that we continue to replenish our bodies with water for a variety of health reasons. Water is essential for healthy cell life, body temperature regulation, chemical and metabolic reactions, the transport of nutrients, and the removal of wastes. It is recommended the average person drink about 2 liters of water per day. That is about 64 ounces or at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Easy, right? Some people love drinking water, while others loathe it. Here are some tips and tricks to encourage yourself to drink more water if you find yourself struggling to meet the recommended daily intake.

Give a Flavor Makeover! Add 1 drop of your favorite citrus or mint essential oil to 8-ounces of water for a refreshing drink! Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Wild Orange, and Tangerine are all great citrus options! The wonderful thing about citrus essential oils is that they do not provide an intense sour flavor as they are cold pressed from the rinds of the fruit. Basically, you get the energy boost from the fruit, while only experiencing a mild citrus taste. If you are trying to kick those sugar cravings, Grapefruit will be your saving grace (the chemical constituents have been found to suppress sugar cravings). If you prefer a minty pick–me–up, Peppermint and Spearmint are also great flavor options!

  • Tip: When adding essential oils to water, you want to drink out of a glass or stainless steel container because the essential oils will pull toxins from plastic. Since we are trying to be healthy here, you can see the potential predicament you would place yourself in if you choose to go the plastic route. 
  • Looking for a new water bottle? I am obsessed with S’well Bottles! They provide stylish, stainless steel water bottles that will keep your water ice cold all day long!

Make it a Challenge! If you have the type of mentality in which a challenge really motivates you to push yourself, download a water app! Apps like Daily Water Free assist you in counting and tracking your water intake, as well as providing reminders throughout the day to keep you on a strict water drinking schedule.

  • Tip: It is important you consistently drink water throughout the day to keep your body fully hydrated. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking water because that is an indicator that your body is already headed down the road towards dehydration.

Double as a Detox! There are multiple ways you can add flavor to your water beyond the scope of essential oils. I absolutely love the taste of cucumber water because it gives you that “relaxing day at the spa feeling”. And yes, in case you were wondering, cucumbers are a fruit. Cucumbers have anti–inflammatory properties and they are also a great source of potassium, magnesium, and Vitamin B. Drinking cucumber water will boost your metabolism and flush toxins out of your body.

  • Tip: Cucumber slices float, so top your water with some ice to keep the little guys submerged and fully infusing your water! 
  • If you are feeling extra adventurous with your cucumber water, throw in some pineapple for a tropical escape, or add a citrus essential oil!

Eat your Water! You can also increase your water intake by eating water–rich foods. Bell peppers (94% water), raw broccoli (91% water), celery (96% water), and cantaloupe (90% water) are just a few of the many hydrating foods. Click here to view a more in–depth list.

Chia, Chia, & More Chia! Chia seeds are a true superfood – they are rich in antioxidants, high in dietary fiber and calcium, treat diabetes, boost metabolism and energy, regulate cholesterol, and contain more protein than most plant–based sources. Quite the impressive résumé, right? Some people describe the flavor of chia seeds as mild and nutty. In my honest opinion, chia seeds are basically flavorless. Chia seeds are the perfect little package as they provide immense health benefits and they can be added to foods and drinks without affecting the overall flavor.

  • Tip: Add 1 tablespoon of chia seeds to an 8-ounce glass of water and drink it as you are getting ready to boost your morning energy level. As if I have not already mentioned it enough, add 1 drop of a citrus essential oil and I guarantee you will start your day on the bright side.

What are some of your tricks to ensure you drink water throughout the day? If you are a chia seed addict, how do you incorporate this superfood into your daily routine? I would love to hear your thoughts!