Essential oils are a relatively new idea to most people. However, we know that the oils can relieve some conditions. This ranges from simple digestive problems to more complicated muscle, tendon, nerve, and other body issues. But that is as far as we know – that essential oils are safe for humans. But will it produce the same effects in dogs?
Is Vanilla essential oil safe for dogs?
Vanilla essential oil is one of the few types of natural essential oils that are safe for dogs. Vanilla or Vanilla planifolia has nurturing and comforting qualities for a dog. It is even more effective for dogs that experience anger, irritability, and nervous tension. Dog owners can apply the oil topically or it can also be dispersed through the air using an electric diffuser.
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How is vanilla essential oil made?
Although the idea is pretty much straightforward, the vanilla essential oil is not entirely an essential oil. Instead, it is either absolutes, infusions, extracts, or fragrance oil. Put differently, there is no 100% pure vanilla essential oil.
Vanilla grows as a vine and produces long stringy pods known as vanilla beans. The distinct vanilla flavor comes from the bean pod. Essential oil compounds are stored in small pockets in plant material and extracted for use.
To qualify as an essential oil, the product must be made by distillation, with either steam or water or through mechanical processing of citrus rinds. It can also be by dry distillation of natural materials. Put simply, for any essential oil, you must extract the oil using physical means alone without any solvent.
However, you cannot extract the aromatic compound of vanilla through mechanical means or distillation. The reason is that vanilla beans cannot handle the heat required for steam distillation. Apart from this, mechanical pressing will also not produce any oil. As a result, you need a solvent to release its aromatic compound.
If we look beyond the extraction method, below are the common vanilla forms:
- Vanilla extracts: This is the most common vanilla form used today. You can obtain it by soaking chopped beans in alcohol for several months to extract the flavor. However, the extract is usually costly.
- Vanilla oil infusion: Like extracts, you will need to steep your vanilla beans in oil to transform them into aromatic oil. Instead of using alcohol, you can use any type of safe essential oil.
There are other vanilla forms like vanilla absolutes, vanilla CO2 extracts, etc. However, extract and oil infusion are the easiest form to reproduce.
How to make your own vanilla essential oil.
If you fancy trying to make your own vanilla essential oil for use in diffusers or any other way here are a couple of useful recipes to use.
The cold-infusion method
- After selecting your vanilla beans, slice the pods thin and place them in a 16-ounce jar with a tight lid.
- Add organic coconut, jojoba, or safflower oil into the same jar until it covers the vanilla and screw the lid onto the jar.
- Then, leave the jar with its content on the shelf in the sun and wait for about two months for the infusion to work.
- After waiting for two months, prepare a cheesecloth and dip it a bit inside the container. Secure the cloth with a rubber band around the rim and pour the liquid ingredient into the container.
- Tighten the container and store the oil in a cool, dark place.
The hot infusion method
- Add water to a double boiler or pot on a stove and set the heat to the highest. Wait until the water boils and turn down the heat to the lowest. Then, place another pan on top of the simmering water.
- Cut your vanilla pod into different sizes and pieces. Add 16 ounces of coconut, jojoba, or any organic oil into the double boiler and add the vanilla pods you have cut. Mix it thoroughly into the oil with a wooden spoon.
- Let the concoction heat for three hours while the stove is at its lowest temperature. Then, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth. After passing the oil through the cloth, let it cool and store in an airtight lid.
Making vanilla extract with Vodka and spirit
After selecting your vanilla pods, slit the pods open. Then, place the beans in a bottle of vodka or spirit. Put the vanilla directly in the bottle and secure the cap. Then, shake it thoroughly to mix the content. After this, place the bottle in a dark and cool place and leave for up to two months. However, shake the bottle often to distribute the content.
You can transfer the content to amber bottles or leave it in the vodka bottle. Instead of vodka, you can use tequila, bourbon, brandy, or any other type of alcohol. Repeat the process above for the same result.
Is vanilla essential oil toxic to dogs?
On the surface, vanilla essential oil is not toxic to dogs. Not just the oil, but the scent is also not harmful. The oil relieves nervous tension and irritability. The odor also reduces stress and stimulates the brain. However, we recommend that you don’t use vanilla oil in excess.
What symptoms and illnesses can vanilla oil cause in dogs?
If your dog shows any of these symptoms after using vanilla oil, visit the vet. They include:
- The smell of vanilla essential oil in the vomit, breath, skin, or hair coat
- Drooling, lethargy or weakness• Muscle tremors, difficulty breathing or walking
- Pawing at the mouth or face
- Redness of the gums, skin, tongue, or gums.
Is a small amount of vanilla essential oil safe for dogs to be around?
Yes, a small amount of vanilla essential oil is safe for dogs to be around. However, be careful with use around old or sick dogs. If they show any of the symptoms above consult your vet immediately.
Vanilla essential oil is safe for dogs. Nonetheless, don’t join the group of people that use essential oil every time until you unintentionally overdose your dog. Use only a small amount for a short period and take a break.
Also, remember that every dog is different. Therefore, consult with your vet to know if vanilla essential oil won’t affect your dog’s health.
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