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Animal Doctor Articles Weekly on April 08, 2007

Question

My Spinone dog has summer eczema. I had read about using plant oils in/on her food as a natural treatment. When I spoke with my vet about this, he said that while the oil is good for a dog''s skin, it''s not good for a dog''s liver. What is your opinion/experience?.

N.G.D., Washington, DC Apr 08, 2007

Answer

First, what kind of oils are we talking about? Flaxseed, safflower and olive oils are not applied to the dog''s skin but are put in their food. Essential oils like myrrh and frankincense are safe for dogs, provided only small amounts are applied and diluted in a carrier oil (like almond oil) in order to prevent skin irritation. Pennyroyal is one oil that is not considered safe. It is rarely put in animals'' food.Cats are far more sensitive than dogs to a variety of natural and synthetic products and could develop liver and other health problems following imprudent use of essential oils.Using local honey and bee pollen (1 teaspoon and 1/2 teaspoon of each, respectively, per 30 pounds of body weight) mixed in the dog''s food for seven to 10 days, then at weekly intervals, has helped many dogs with seasonal allergies. But be sure the dog is not reacting to fleas, the bites of which can cause "hot spots."

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