How Do Terpenes Affect Dogs?

Dec 18, 2021

Terpenes are bioactive compounds found in many plants, including common herbs and spices. Terpenes may affect dogs the same way they do people. Since they are bioactive, this means they do affect the body. The effects, however, will depend on the concentration and how it is used. Terpenes produce bright, strong scents, and are the basis for aromatherapy.

What are Terpenes?

Terpenes are chemicals that make plants like rosemary, cloves and ginger have such strong smells. Plants use terpenes in a variety of ways, including to attract pollinator insects and to ward off insects and animals that might cause them harm. They can also help plants heal from damage and are part of a plant’s immune system.

Terpenes are found naturally in live plants. Once a plant has been dried, the terpenes oxidize and are called terpenoids.

Here are some examples of well-known and scientifically studied terpenes.

1. Linalool

Do you enjoy the smell of lavender flowers or lavender essential oil? Well, then you are familiar with our next terpene, linalool. This terpene is responsible for the lovely smell of lavender flowers. Lavender essential oil, which contains linalool, is one of the most popular oils for aromatherapy. Many people associate lavender essential oil with calming, and it is the terpene linalool that is responsible for lavender’s soothing effects. It’s good to note that while many people use lavender essential oil for stress, it is also very good for skin issues like pimples or bug bites and general irritation. Linalool is also found in coriander or cilantro. 

Linalool isn’t just calming and good for stress relief. This potent terpene has been found to possibly have 6 other properties that may affect our bodies in a recent study

A. May be anti-inflammatory. 

This means that linalool reduces inflammation or helps to prevent inflammation from happening. Many modern illnesses are related to inflammation or have an inflammatory component. Scientists are excited to learn more about linalool and how it might be able to help the body.

B. May be antimicrobial

The world is full of opportunistic microbes, and linalool might be able to fight them off. This is related to how terpenes are protective agents for the plants they are found in. Their potent chemical composition may eradicate the microbes they come in contact with. Microbes are microscopic organisms and include bacteria and fungi. 

C. May be neuroprotective

When something has neuroprotective properties, it means that it prevents brain cells, or neurons, from becoming dysfunctional and dying. Scientists and researchers are planning on doing more research on this application of linalool.

D. May be antidepressant

An antidepressant is a substance that eases depression and improves mood. Many people use lavender essential oil to lift their spirits out of depression. More research is warranted to discover how linalool might help with depression. 

E. May be anti-stress

While this comes as no surprise to anyone who has used lavender essential oil, linalool shows promising anti-stress properties. Stress can be a challenging issue and one that is difficult to treat. Stress is a root cause of many diseases, and anything that can help lower people’s stress levels, is going to help a body out. 

One final note on linalool. It is toxic to dogs and cats if ingested in large amounts. If using aromatherapy on your dog, make sure you are responsible and keep the oils out of his reach. 

2. Myrcene

You can find myrcene in a variety of common plants like hops, thyme, and lemongrass. All of these plants are noted for their aromatic qualities, which are due to their high terpene levels. Myrcene may be a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that roam through the body, looking to steal atoms from our cells. While we are still learning about free radicals and the impact they have on our bodies, we know that free radical damage is linked to illness and aging. Antioxidants can provide free radicals with the missing electron they need, thus neutralizing their effects on the body.

Myrcene has even more benefits to offer. A study conducted with mice discovered that myrcene might be able to help protect the brain after a stroke. There is oxidative damage to the brain after a stroke, and myrcene might be able to be used to help the brain stay healthy after such an event. It should be noted, however, that these studies used very high concentrations of myrcene at about 200mg per kilogram of weight. It would take a lot of thyme to reach those levels of myrcene concentration. 

3. Beta-caryophyllene

This terpene is found in many herbs and even vegetables. Examples of plants that contain beta-caryophyllene are cloves, cinnamon, oregano, and black pepper. All of these plants are known for their heady and potent aromas. Like many of the other terpenes, beta-caryophyllene may have a discomfort relieving effect on the human body because it may have anti-inflammatory properties. 

There’s good news for our animal friends and pet owners alike. A study done on beta-caryophyllene used animals and found some remarkable new information about how helpful this terpene can be. The study found that beta-caryophyllene may help ease occasional discomfort from a variety of sources. 

4. Humulene

This terpene is found in great abundance in the hops plant. Hops are used to make beer and are behind the flavoring of the wildly popular India Pale Ales, or IPA, on the market today. Hops is also used as an herb for its potential calming properties. It’s also been used as a sleep aid. Maybe terpenes are why we humans love to use hops? This terpene is also found in aromatic plants like clove and ginger roots. 

There have been multiple studies on the terpene, humulene. The first study, which was published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology, found that terpenes in general, but including humulene, could have a lot of potential for helping people support their respiratory systems. They discovered that humulene may soothe allergic reactions in the bronchial airways. Researchers are planning more studies on the application of humulene and the respiratory system.

5. Pinene

This is another terpene found all throughout nature. There are two forms of pinene: a-pinene and b-pinene. Pinene gives plants like rosemary, basil, and of course, pine trees, their fresh, bright scent. Pinene may have therapeutic effects. The Japanese people take advantage of the health benefits that pinene may offer through a practice called “shirin -yoku”, which is translated as forest bathing. Humans have been finding respite in forests for centuries. While most people aren’t living in the woods anymore, we as a species seem to instinctively return to the forest for rest and nourishment. 

6. Geraniol

This is a commercially important terpene alcohol. While it occurs naturally in many essential oils and plants, it is one of the most important molecules in the flavor and fragrance industries. It has a very pleasant odor, which makes sense as it is the primary component of citronella, valuable rose oil, and palmarosa oil. It is often used in the manufacture of perfume and other fragrance products. It’s also used as a flavoring and can be found in peach, raspberry, grapefruit, red apple, plum, lime, orange, lemon, watermelon, pineapple, and blueberry flavored products. 

Hemp Terpenes and Pet Releaf

Hemp Terpenes and Pet Releaf

One of the reasons that Pet Releaf is so passionate about full-spectrum hemp is because of all of the beneficial compounds that hemp contains, including CBD and terpenes. Full-spectrum hemp oil is made using the entire hemp plant, as opposed to chemically isolating the CBD and extracting it from hemp. Full-spectrum hemp oil offers all the useful phytochemicals that hemp contains, plus whatever synergy those phytochemicals have. For example, recent research suggests that terpenes and other components in hemp work with CBD and enhance its effects on the body. 

All of Pet Releaf’s products are made with full-spectrum hemp oil, so your doggie will get all the benefits the hemp plant has to offer! By activating part of your dog’s nervous system called the endocannabinoid system, CBD can support your dog’s overall health and wellness. The endocannabinoid system can impact a wide range of body systems. This is why CBD may be so helpful for a variety of health issues like anxiety, discomfort, allergies, digestive issues, and joint health. 

Pet Releaf offers hemp oils made for dogs of all sizes. Their USDA Organic hemp oil comes in three different concentrations, one for small dogs and cats, one for medium dogs, and one for large dogs. They also have liposome hemp oil, which is made with fish oil from sustainably caught fish. They also have a whole line of Edibites, which are deliciously flavored CBD and herbal supplement soft chews. (They aren’t treats, but your dog won’t believe it!) Whatever your dog’s CBD needs are, Pet Releaf has an effective product that’s just right for you. 

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