Pets and Essential Oils - Dos and Don'ts
Usage of essential oils can vary within different species.
My own dog – a tiny, grouchy Papillion – gets a lot of interaction with essential oils because of the home she lives in. We diffuse oils around her and use small amounts in water to mist over her on rainy nights or when we have new visitors in the home. Lavender works wonderfully to keep her in a calm and happy canine place. A simple way to use the lavender is to add 12 drops to 1 oz. water and 1tsp vegetable glycerin. Just remember – and this is important – 1, 2 or 3 spritzes at a time is all it takes with a dog who weighs less than seven pounds.
As always, my first recommendation with pets and oils is to consult with a knowledgeable veterinarian.
- ...treat your pets with the same loving care as you treat your children - With small animals at home, any direct usage of essential oils should be handled with the same general care and consideration that goes into usage of oils by children.
- ...pay attention to how your animals respond when you use oils in the home - If they clear out of a room when you are diffusing or using oils, they are telling you that they don’t like the oil or it is too much for them to handle. Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and will likely disappear when you overdo it.
- ...stick with lavender - In diffusion and low percentage dilutions, lavender is the stand out oil that many pets respond well to and seem to enjoy.
- ...seek qualified research from pet experts – There are now several great resources, both printed and online, written by holistic vets who have been working with pets and essential oils.
- ...assume animals will respond to essential oils the same way humans do - Not all oils are companionable to all animals. There are large differences within species of animals and the two pets commonly found in homes – dogs and cats – are vastly different. Cats can have very negative reactions to certain common essential oils like rosemary, clove, tea tree and oregano and should avoid any exposure to these oils unless otherwise advised by a qualified practitioner.
- ...leave essential oils where animals can get into them – Animals are curious and love to explore. Keep essential oils out of reach and out of areas they can inadvertently ingest them.
- ...keep animals in enclosed areas with essential oils – We sometimes hear of pet owners adding essential oils in kennels and crates to keep pets calm. Animals cannot speak to us to let us know when they are overwhelmed with an aroma, so the best approach is to leave essential oils out of small, contained spaces with pets.
- ...assume that fur dilutes the essential oil – Dilution is when the oil is added to another medium to reduce the strength and potency of the oil. Fur is not a diluting agent and applying essential oils to fur is still direct application.
Authored by: Charlynn Avery - Aura Cacia Aromatherapist & Sr. Wellness Education Manager and Dog Mom
This inspiring post lived on Aura Cacia’s Noteworthy site while it was in existence. The name “Noteworthy” was inspired by the three aroma notes – top, middle and base – found in essential oils. When these three notes come together they create a beautiful, balanced synergy. Noteworthy was full of contributions by real women aspiring to create a beautiful, balanced synergy in their own lives – and the lives of others. We are pleased we could continue to share this post to our aromatherapy community.