For tens of thousands of years, aromatherapy has been used by people for a variety of purposes from honoring ancestors, to healing, to using them for cosmetic and bathing purposes. Incense burned at temples to honor the gods is still infused with the fragrant essences of plants and herbs that help us connect to our spirituality. Perfumes are still made from essential oils extracted from plants and flowers as they were in ancient times. And we still use herbal and floral products to scent our body products. Nothing much has changed even until today. Even monks in ancient times up until today use essential oils on their companion animals at the monastery. They even meditate and chant with and for their animals too!

Aromatherapy products work in many different ways. For one, aromatherapy products work by offering us and our dogs mental and physical therapeutic benefits. Sometimes, aromatherapy works depending on the type of essential oil, carrier oil, hydrosol, and the like used. So it’s good to know and understand how essential oil chemistry works within our dog’s bodies.

To find out how aromatherapy for dogs works, you need to know what the specific effects of each type of essential oil are. Below, is a list of essential oils and how they work for your dog’s benefit.


Monoterpenes in aromatherapy work as an anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-cancer and antibacterial. Examples of monoterpenes are lemon, pine, and frankincense. Monoterpenes can be used to help cleanse from dirt and germs and some studies have shown monoterpenes can help fight cancer.


Esters in aromatherapy works as a fungicide and a sedative. It helps to relax muscles and joints, relieving you of stress and pain. Esters are also very aromatically pleasing, thus contributing to the overall relaxing feel. Examples of esters are bergamot, clary sage, and lavender.


Aldehydes in aromatherapy work as an antiseptic generally. But like Esters, aldehydes may also be sedating. Some examples are Melissa, lemongrass, and citronella. They can be highly irritative to bare skin so be cautious when using these oils.


Ketones in aromatherapy work to ease congestion and digestion. They accomplish this by aiding the flow of mucus. They can be a good addition to a bath or air diffusion, especially if you are feeling the effects of cold or flu. Ketone essential oils include fennel, hyssop, and sage.


Alcohols in aromatherapy work as an antiseptic for the skin. Alcohols, such as rosewood, geranium, and rose are also anti-viral with uplifting qualities.


Phenols in aromatherapy work as a stimulant. They are also bactericidal, therefore very good at preventing skin disease or disorders. However, they can be highly irritating to the skin so add only a few drops of phenols in your bath to dilute them. Examples include clove, thyme, and oregano.