Horses, dogs, essential oils, Damp Heat in Late Summer

I can tell Late Summer is here by the state of my hat (sweat-stained and a bit battered!) and the outbreak of Damp Heat. I don’t just mean we are hot and sweaty, I am referring to the Chinese internal climate of Damp Heat, which leads to fungal infections, digestive problems and some types of itchy skin.

I am seeing dogs with black, gunky ears, that itch, wet excema and all sorts of squishy eruptions, known variously as mud-rash, hot-spots, rain-scald or summer itch. Whatever we or our veterinarians call them, these conditions are all the result of more heat than the body can successfully rid itself of, caught in a sluggish digestive system. Damp Heat can also lead to swollen joints and the flare up of old injuries or chronic conditions.

Here in the hot, humid Mediterranean coastal plain, I see a lot of horses with itchy skin or sweet itch. Many of those have a small relapse at this time of year. I recommend daily showers (but without shampoo which removes much-needed natural oils) and the application of clay-based lotions for topical relief.

In general, for chronic conditions that tend to recur in late summer or any fungal infection, offer essential oils that are cooling and drying, such as: Myrrh (Commiphora Myrrha), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), lavender (lavandula officinalis); or simply cooling, such as Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) or drying such as Sweet Fennel.

Any oil that is said to be anti-fungal is probably cooling, and many anti-inflammatory oils that do not increase circulation, such as Yarrow (achillea millefolium) or German Chamomile (Matricariarecutita). White clay is popular with animals who suffer heat-related digestive problems, such as diarrhoea.

Base oils that are useful are calendula for itching or general heat, or neem oil, for joint pain and itching (especially those who are bothered by flies or fleas) but dilute this to 5% maximum in sunflower oil before using it (one whiff and you’ll understand why!)

It is also important to cut out all heating or sweet food. Dogs with a tendency to Damp Heat should never be fed grain, soy or even rice. Horses should not be fed molasses, barley or any other sweet food, keep grain to a minimum and moisten hay if horses are not on green pasture.

With a little support our animals can come through this season in good health and ready for the dry days of Autumn, meanwhile keep cool and enjoy the time of assimilation and review that comes with Harvest Home.

13 thoughts on “Horses, dogs, essential oils, Damp Heat in Late Summer”

  1. Are sweet potatoes considered sweet food? My 2 year old boxer mix had a seizure 3 weeks ago. Weather was hot. Her allergies were bad. She had her vaccines… seizure. I had no idea. Spent thousands (literally) having every test in the world done. All negative. “Regular” vets all saying epilepsy. Holistic vet says damp heat mixed with inflammation from allergies and super hot weather… I am buying that story more! I want to wean her off the chemical drugs and do Chinese herbs only. No more dog food. Cooked my own today. But I put sweet potatoes in it and I bought her a bag of dried sweet potatoes… Off the list?

    1. Nayana Morag

      I assume you mean rain scald? Myrrh (commiphora myrrh), manuka (leptospermum scopari) and German Chamomile (matricaria recutita) are great to get on top of any fungal infection.

  2. Oops. Yes. We call it rain rot on the back and anywhere else. Now I know what to use. Any suggestions on application? This is very new to me.

  3. Hi there ..would you have any recommendations for halting the onset of seedy toe or whitline disease in my little mare who before this very wet winter had good strong unshod feet .She seems to have areas in all four where the problem has taken hold .I am waiting for a Farrier to contact me but hoped there was something to try to halt the progress of the problem .She’s not been in mud needs to walk on rough ground to get to water has only had hay and Lucerne nuts and her feet haven’t been allowed to grow overly long .

    1. Nayana Morag

      Scrub the foot with apple cider vinegar, then drop undiluted tea tree, or other antibacterial/antifungal essential oil directly on to the affected areas. Be sure to keep the oil of the skin. Also, try feeding grass nuts instead of Lucerne.

  4. Hi there. I have an 8 year old female fur baby that’s part Pomeranian, part Jack Russel and
    part Chihuahua. We live in a very dry dessert climate. The last 6 weeks she has developed puss filled sores all over ber body and many are in her creases and lower abdomen. Her one ear also recently has developed black gunk and is itchy for her. She’s also had many uti infections and yeast issues over the past year. Could this be Damp Heat? I’ve taken her off all food with chicken and treat the sores with lavender/Frankincense/oil of oregano/thieves and coconut oil blend and they dry up within a day. But she keeps breaking out with new sores daily. She also is starting to have sore joints, moves very slowly and sometimes cries out when getting up to walk or doing stairs. Please help as her regular vet just wants to keep putting her on antibiotics. Its hard to see her suffer.

    1. Nayana Morag

      Hi Lisa, it could be Damp heat is involved, but this is too complicated a case to advise without more info. Best would be to do a long distance consultation with me. More info here https://essentialanimals.com/consultation-nayana-morag/

  5. camila.kahn

    Hi, can I clean my dogs ears with Myrrh? one of my dogs has now this black, gunky ears and I also think it has to do with this damp heat… the Vet wants to give antibiotics but I don’t…

    1. Nayana Morag

      Hi Camila, the first thing to adjust is diet. Make sure you feed grain free. Second, offer the myrrh to your dog to see if he likes it, if he does it’s the one he needs, if not select a different oil, lavender for instance. Follow his guidance in how to use it. Just sniffing it may be enough to rebalance the system. Or you can add 1 drop to 1 tbsp of aloe vera gel, 1 tsp of calendula oil thinned down with lavender hydrosol then use that to wipe out the ear with a cotton ball. Don’t whatever you do just put essential oil undiluted and unselected in your dogs ear. My book explains in full. https://essentialanimals.com/product-category/books/

      1. camila.kahn

        Hi! thank you very much for your answer! I will proceed like this and I just ordered your book! Yes, I feed grain free, a kind of BARF – I prepare the meal for my 4 Labs and I just started using EO with me and love to learn more and be able to use them with the dogs! I am happy that I found you! have a great day, Camila

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