Terpenes have a wide range of fragrant benefits. As more terpene isolates and blends become available, there’s no reason these benefits need to be reserved strictly for humans. Not only are terpenes safe for dogs, but dogs may potentially benefit immensely from their healing properties.
It’s important to remember that terpenes are an occurring compound that form in plants, and even some insects, around the world. Far from some artificial composite created in a lab as a marketing gimmick, terpenes are most similar to the essential oils you’d find in everything from perfume to soap to foods.
While they’re not an end-all cure for every ailment, there is no risk of your dog becoming addicted to them. Here’s the lowdown on whether terpenes are safe for dogs, whether or not you should use them, and which ones you may want to try first.
Are terpenes safe for dogs? Like, actually?
The short answer can be summed up in three letters: YES. As we mentioned above, there is no risk of addiction and little chance of any harmful side effects because terpenes have evolved over millions of years.
There’s even a study recently reported on by the Canadian Broadcast Corp that dove into whether certain terpene-producing plants can or should be used to help treat pain in dogs. The answer was overwhelmingly positive. The article goes on to note that further studies are being undertaken and that in the coming years, we should know much more about dogs and terpenes.
That said, always pay attention when giving your dog any new product. If they react poorly or refuse to consume it, you may want to try a different terpene or go a different route entirely. There’s no need to force a terpene on them if they clearly don’t want it.
Can veterinarians prescribe or encourage the use of terpenes?
Unfortunately, veterinarians in the United States and Canada are often not permitted to formally encourage or prescribe terpenes to their pet patients. Some governing bodies in the veterinary field have yet to formally recognize or encourage the use of terpenes for pets, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a vet that will be excited to dive right into the subject while on the clock.
There’s hope that with growing research and more case studies, governing veterinary bodies will continue to warm up to the idea of using terpenes on dogs, and potentially even put out some formal studies on whether terpenes are safe for dogs.
But, on the other hand, you can always ask your vet for his or her opinion. We’d never encourage you to stray from what they say, and their answers might actually surprise you. Some vets are more well-read on the topic, and therefore more likely to be willing to offer an opinion on it, than others.
What illnesses in a dog might be addressed with terpenes?
- Epilepsy. Seizures are no fun, and terpenes can help calm the nerves enough to reduce their prevalence. Anxiety. Dogs can experience anxiety in much the same way humans do -- a rugged paranoia that creeps in, seemingly out of nowhere, and ruins an otherwise decent moment. If you suspect your dog is experiencing these flashes, terpenes might help calm them down as they add a rush of stimulants into the body. Try Nerol for its anxiety-easing effects. A pleasant smell can do wonders for calming the mood, you know?
- Loss of appetite. This is perhaps the most classic ailment the smokeable stuff addresses, and the same can go for terpenes. Sometimes, dogs just won’t eat. There’s no rhyme or reason to it on the outside, they just won’t do it, and figuring out how to stimulate their appetite can be quite the challenge. As an aside, maybe it’s because you put the same slog into their bowl twice per day, while you whip up a hearty feast of epicness for yourself -- but we’re not talking about that here. Terpenes derived from fruits and vegetables might be the appetite whetter your pup needs to dive back into that slog. Try dropping some D-Limonene on top of their food or a few drops in the water bowl.
- Chronic pain. Beta-Caryophyllene is a common terpene for pain relief. Try a bit of this on your pup to see if he or she shows any signs of reduced pain.
- Sleep disorders. In general, soothing fragrances and aromas, and anything that can calm the mood, are good for sleep. This is as true for dogs as it is for humans. Whichever terpene you find to smell the best, and that your dog appears to agree with, can help set the mood for a good night’s sleep.