Effect of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oils on sheltered dog behavior: preliminary results
- essential oil,
Dogs in a shelter environment need to cope with different types of stressors. Recent studies have shown that essential oils might be able to modify the behavior of dogs. The aim of the current study was to assess whether olfactory enrichment through lavender essential oils influences the behavior of sheltered dogs. 11 dogs (7 males and 4 females, castrated), aged between 18 months and 13 years were involved. Animals were divided into two groups: G1 (Experimental group) and G2 (Control group).
G1 dogs wore a collar with a gauze on which 5 drops of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil were laid once a week. The dogs of G2 wore a collar identical to those of G1 but without aromatization with lavender. The dogs underwent a 10-minute isolation period (T0) in an unknown environment, then they were brought back to their own box and their behavior was videotaped for 5 minutes. The same procedure was repeated after one (T1) and two (T2) months. A significant difference among the data of stress behaviors recorded at the different times is observable in dogs G2 (χ2 = 6.00; p=0.05), while no difference was observed in experimental dog G1 (χ2 = 0.857; n. s.).
Preliminary results of this study seem to indicate that the application of a collar impregnated with lavender essence can have a positive effect on the stress of the animal in the kennel, avoiding an increase in stress behaviors, as happens instead in the control group.