In our last post we talked about the science of Essential Oils and why you may want to add them to your pet’s holistic health routine. Today we’re going a little deeper to explore the Do’s and Don’ts of essential oils for pets. I’ll also break down my Top Nine Favourite oils to add to your pet first aid kit.
The Do’s and Don’t of safely using essential oils for pets
While oils can be very useful for healing, they’re powerful and may cause a variety of adverse effects if not used properly. It’s crucial to respect the oils and only use them safely and as recommended.
According to Dogs Naturally magazine, there are three things you must consider when using essential oils for your pet:
1. Start by buying high quality oils
The biggest problem is essential oils may contain contaminants or adulterants that can cause unwanted effects. This means you should only use therapeutic grade oils from reputable companies.
2. Respect the nose
Animals have a sensitive sense of smell, which means you should always dilute your oils and ALWAYS provide your pet with an escape route. If your pet does not like oil, stop using it.
3. Use caution with cats
Cats are particularly at risk for oil reactions so USE SPARINGLY ON CATS. One drop diluted in 50 drops of pure dilutional oil such as grape seed oil is usually sufficient.
The Nine Do’s and Don’t of Using Essential Oils Safely
- DO remember your pet’s body metabolizes and reacts differently than our bodies. What we may find soothing or pleasant may cause distress in your dog or cats.
- DO keep in mind some oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species. Cats are particularly sensitive because they use a unique system in their liver to detoxify. Cats are particularly sensitive to “hot” oils.
- DON’T ever use these oils on cats: cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme, birch, melalueca oil.
- DO always dilute.
- DON’T use on pets younger than 10 weeks of age.
- DON’T put essential oils into the ear canal as they can damage a pet’s delicate ear drums and nerves
- DO use care around the eyes and always wash your hands after handling oils to prevent accidentally getting them into your eyes.
- DO limit their use. According to Richard Palmquist, it is important to use oil for no more than two weeks and then provide a rest period.
- DO watch your pet’s behaviour. Your dog can’t tell you what is or isn’t working so watch for reactions which can include excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining.
9 Surprising Uses For Oils You’ll Want to Start Using Today
- 1. Thieves oil for cleaning and disinfecting pet areasYoung Living’s Thieves Oil is a powerful combination of Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), lemon (Citrus limon), cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum), Eucalyptus radiata, and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). It has been shown to interrupt the life cycle of bacteria and interfere with the ability of viruses to replicate. This makes it the perfect way to deodorize and sanitize your pet’s living space naturally.
- 2. Lavender for itchy skinLavender is known to be soothing. It also acts as a natural remedy for many skin ailments. Famous for it’s analgesic and anti-fungal properties, lavender oil is also an effective antiseptic and can be used pure or diluted.
How to use Lavender for your dog?
- Rub a few drops of oil into your dog’s collar to calm nerves during car trips or thunderstorms
- Add a few drops to your pet’s shampoo for a skin soothing experience
- Apply to skin irritations to help healing
- 3. Cedarwood and Citronella for fleasFleas can be a nuisance year round thanks to better housing insulation and centralized heating. It’s important to treat your pet regularly to prevent an infestation.
One quick and simple solution is a homemade flea collar:
- Pour 2-3 drops of Cedarwood essential oil and Citronella essential oil on your dogs collar (always take the collar off to do this!). If your dog is new to oils, consider diluting the oils with a few tablespoons of water first
- Reapply once a week
- 4. Rosemary for coat deodorizingRosemary has slight antiseptic property making it a gentle way to deodorize your pet’s coat. If your dog is starting to get a little bit sticky, mix 8-10 drops of Rosemary essential oil in a spray bottle and spray onto your dogs fur until slightly damp. Give your dog a quick brush and you’re done!
- 5. German Chamomile for allergic reactionsOriginally from Germany, this flower is known for its use in tea across the globe. In addition to making a delightful drink for humans, Chamomile is also a great addition to your pet first aid kit. It can be used safely in dogs for skin irritations, allergic reactions and burns.
- 6. Valerian for anxietyValerian root is known for it’s calming properties and has long been used as an effective treatment for anxiety in pets and people alike. In addition to the herbal supplement, you can also find Valerian Root essential oil which, when used in a vaporizer, can help provide additional support for your anxious pet.
- 7. Bergamot for ear issuesThe oil known for giving Earl Grey Tea its enticing flavour and aroma is also a great addition to your pet’s essential oil toolkit. If your pet is prone to ear issues Bergamot is your new favourite oil.
To use, dilute with pure grade vegetable oil for an all natural ear cleanser.
Bonus: Bergamot is also mentally relaxing making ear care time more pleasant for both of you.
- 8. Cedarwood for coat conditioning
This super oil is effective against a multitude of skin and coat issues due to its antiseborrhoeic, antiseptic, astringent, antifungal and insecticidal properties. Use diluted Cederwood to soothe and heal skin conditions caused by excessive oil and seasonal allergies. You can also add it to a spray bottle with water and use as an effective insect repellant.
- 9. Peppermint for joint stiffnessWhen diluted and mixed with coconut oil, peppermint essential oil can make a wonderfully cooling muscle rub that can soothe your pet’s stiff joints. Note: Always wash hands after use!
The bottom line?
Start slowly! Once you discover the amazing health benefits of essential oils it’s easy to get carried away and inadvertently overdose your pet. Take it slow and contact your veterinarian if you’re unsure.
When used correctly, essential oils can be such a wonderful addition to your pet care routine. You’re going to love them! I have slowly replaced all my cleaning supplies and health care products in favour of natural alternatives that I make at home using essential oils. The cats all love when I diffuse lavender in the bedroom and Stewie’s coat always smells lovely after his rosemary conditioning spray!
How are you using essential oils in your life and which recipes are your favourite go-to’s?
- Young Living: Essential Oils and Pets, https://www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-and-pets-a-quick-how-to/
- The Quality of Essential Oils https://www.naha.org/assets/uploads/The_Quality_of_Essential_Oils_Journal.pdf