March 15, 2011

Aromatherapy for Animals

Did you know that keepers at Devon's Paignton Zoo are using aromatherapy to simulate animals' minds and bodies?

When a men and a women can get carried away by fragrance, why not an animal? What a constructive way to pamper your animals let it be a lion too….. Perplexed? Environmental enrichment helps in keeping your pets and animals contented in captivity. Odor helps enrich any mammals’ life as most of them are scent oriented. We are here talking about controlling the animals mood and behavior with the help of Aromatherapy. Research shows that animals respond positively to scent. They get emotionally bonded with the trainer too. There are real lifetime trail projects too undertaken to stimulate the minds and bodies of the animals. One such trail project was taken at Paignton Zoo in Devon.

Aromatherapy utilizes essential oils extracted from a variety of plants to be applied externally and internally or inhaled. It has been noticed that big cats respond well to such alternative therapies.

A lioness at the zoo finds her best companion in the form of a pillow infused with peppermint oil, whereas a tapir, pampers herself with the luxurious back massage of almond oil. The senior zoo keeper says that they use these alternative therapies for physical and psychological benefits.

Though the essential oils used have a very few side effects, it is important to monitor such treatments. Such trail projects are administered by placing diluted fragrant oil drops around animals’ paddocks and pens. This creates varied responses from the patients. Lavender is considered as a relaxing agent for any human being but when it comes to cats, they get excited and the novelty gets them going. It has been seen that the cats tend to play with the hessian sack filled with hay when they are fragrances with a few drops of lavender oil. As the cats have very strong smell-sensitive cells in their nose and also an extra organ on the roof of their mouths, they generally tend to smell sharp.

Apart from the fragrance property of essential oils which stimulates mind and body, it is also used as a healing herb because of its medicinal property. Dry skins are treated with almond oil and water. All such reinforcement has enabled this zoo to bag many awards. They are constantly trying to stimulate mental and physical activity by techniques such as wind chimes and background music. Snack treat is a latest technique they are coming up with, in order to prevent any left out feeling to be occurred amongst other animals.

We have seen that essential oils, because of its therapeutic value are used to instigate and stabilize one’s moods and emotions, treat infections, modify immune responses and so on. Fragrance associated with the essential oils has the power to influence one’s emotions because they enter olfactory system which is directly connected to the limbic system of the brain, a region that controls the control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, hormone balance and so on. Aromatherapy has the property of healing a body, which can be practiced even at home.

Related article:
Aromatherapy for Pet

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