If you like to use essential oils on your dog, you should also definitely try using hydrosols.
Hydrosols are sort of "new kids on the block". They are just starting to gain popularity and attention from people. But I am sure they will become more popular because they are very versatile.
Hydrosols can be used in different ways, both externally and internally, for numerous health issues.
This page focuses on hydrosols for dogs, and looks at the following:
(Also check out my 5 Recommended Hydrosols for Old Dogs)
The word hydrosol comes from hydro (water) and sol (solution). It is produced as a result of the steam distillation process that makes the essential oils used in aromatherapy.
Hydrosols are not just distilled water with a few drops of essential oils added. Nor are they water mixed with some synthetic fragrance.
When producing essential oils, plant material is put in a large container, the bottom of which is filled with water. When the water is heated, the steam rises through the plant material, causing the plant material to burst and release its essence and oils into the steam.
As the steam rises to the top of the container, it carries the essential oils with it, which are then collected in a separate vessel. The remaining fragrant water that was steamed with the original plant material is the hydrosol.
While most hydrosols are usually made as a by-product in the process of essential oil production, some high-quality hydrosols are specifically produced just for the aromatic water.
Hydrosols are much milder and diluted than essential oils, and are therefore more suitable to be used on small pets (e.g. small dogs, cats) and those who do not seem to be able to accept the aroma scents of essential oils.
Hydrosols are also chemically different from their corresponding essential oils, and while some hydrosols smell similar to their corresponding essential oils, others are very different.
Hydrosols are also cheaper than essential oils, making them a good alternative of the latter if you want to spend just the minimum to test out if aromatherapy is the right thing for your dog!
Clinically, the chemical components in the hydrosol are primarily acidic; therefore, they acidify the water they are in. Hydrosols have a pH ranging from 2.9 to 6.5. (Distilled water has a neutral 7.0pH).
As we know, bacteria do not live well in acidic environments. So, hydrosols are antibacterial and antiseptic. Externally, they are good for various skin problems. Because of their mild nature, hydrosols can also be taken internally.
There are quite a few good hydrosols for dogs. Here are some ways to use hydrosols for various dog health issues:
You can use Yarrow as a rinse to treat skin irritations like hot spots, seborrhea, dandruff, and itchy skin. (Pour one oz. of the hydrosol on the skin, massage well, and do not rinse out, just towel dry.)
For burns from hot pavement or hot sand, compress with Lavender hydrosol.
For salt damage from melting winter ice, wash the feet in clean water after each walk, and then spritz pads, between toes, and lower legs with Lavender and Roman Chamomile in equal parts.
Dilute 2-3 tablespoons of hydrosol in one liter of water at the desired temperature. Soak a clean, lint-free cloth in the mix and apply it to the affected area.
Hydrosols are sold without added preservatives, so they can easily be contaminated. Always store hydrosols in tightly sealed bottles in the refrigerator.
If you plan to use a hydrosol on broken skin for your dog, first heat it to just below boiling temperature (i.e. just below 100°C or 212°F), and hold at that temperature for about 10 minutes. Let it cool to room temperature before using.
If you are interested in knowing more about how to use hydrosols and essential oils safely with your dogs, here is a useful eBook for you!