Most of us are aware that our pets have a keen sense of smell, but do you know just how magnified cats’ and dogs’ little noses are? Dogs have over 220 million smell receptors and cats have 45 to 80 million! (In comparison, humans only have about 5 million receptors. That’s quite a big difference!
That is why it’s so important to understand how to properly use essential oils around pets. If you’re not careful, you may end up unknowingly causing them skin irritations, allergies, and other unwanted side effects while diffusing essential oils or using them around your home.
Our primary goal is to safely use essential oils to benefit your pets.
Quality Essential Oils
You’ll want to start by first ensuring the quality of the product you will be using. Make sure the oils you use follow a strict standard that ensures 100% purity. Beware of low-quality oils that may contain harmful chemical ingredients and pesticides. Lower-grade products may also go through processing that destroys the natural health and therapeutic benefits of pure essential oils. We’re happy to discuss which brand we trust.
If you’re intending to use the oil topically, NEVER apply an essential oil without first diluting it with a carrier oil (like olive oil or fractionated coconut oil) as oils on their own can be too potent for your four-legged friend.
There are a few options for applying diluted oils topically. You can apply directly to the affected area of the body, place a drop on your palms then rub it into your pet’s coat, or place it on their paws. Avoid placing oils around sensitive areas such as the eyes, mouth, nose, inner ears, and groin area of the pet. When applying oils to horses, do not apply any oils under saddles and tack.
Testing Oils in Small Dosages
In order to avoid toxicity or making your pet sick, it’s important to keep in mind that just because an oil is considered safe for pet use doesn’t mean it will all be right for YOUR pet. Just like a person’s tolerance to various substances differ, so can your pets! When using an oil for the first time, start out slow by testing a small amount around your pet(s) to make sure there are no visible side effects. (Side effects may include wheezing, shaking, whining, sniffing, nervousness, and excessive scratching.)
Begin by adding 1-2 drops of a pet-friendly oil to a diffuser and allow the scent to permeate the room in 15-minute intervals. Diffusing oils can be great for calming an anxious pet, but always remember to keep the door open and allow any animals to be able to wander to a more comfortable space.
If you’re intending to use the oil topically, NEVER apply an essential oil without first diluting it with a carrier oil (like olive oil or fractionated coconut oil) as oils on their own can be too potent for your four-legged friend (and even you). There are a few options for applying diluted oils topically. You can apply directly to the affected area of the body, place a drop on your palms then rub it into your pet’s coat, or place it on their paws.
Avoid placing oils around sensitive areas such as the eyes, mouth, nose, inner ears, and groin area of the pet. When applying oils to horses, do not apply any oils under saddles and tack.
General Do’s and Don’ts
Dilute essential oils heavily with a carrier oil
– Start small and use in moderation
– Monitor and observe your pet carefully during use
– Care for different animals differently, applications should be based on weight and breed
– Make sure to wash your hands before petting animals when applying oils to yourself
– Apply undiluted oils directly to a pet’s skin
– Dilute mixtures near your pets eyes, mouth, nose, or other sensitive areas
– Apply hot or warming oils (such as peppermint) can burn your pet’s skin
– Use high phenol oils such as oregano, clove, and thyme
Essential Oils for your CATS
Give your cat time to acclimate to different oils by diffusing a small amount in the house prior to a topical application. Start the topical application by adding one drop of essential oil per 4 parts carrier oil and apply the mixture gently to your cats’ paws.
The approved list to use for cats includes:
Cardamom, Eucalyptus (diffused only), Frankincense, Geranium Helichrysum Juniper Berry Lavender Lemongrass Marjoram Myrrh Sandalwood Spikenard
Essential Oils for your DOGS
When starting a new oil, first diffuse the oil around your dog to make sure there are no ill effects. Dilute to at least a 75% mixture adding 1-5 drops to carrier oil. Avoid use in puppies under 10 weeks and apply small amounts to the paws.
Oils approved to use for dogs include:
Cedarwood, Digestzen, Frankincense, Geranium, Juniper, Berry Lavender, Lemongrass Marjoram, Roman Chamomile.
Signs of Toxicity
Even subtle signs can indicate your pet is not tolerating a certain essential oil. Therefore, it’s always important to observe your pet when using oils, especially new oils! Common signs of toxicity include:
– changes in behavior (like a loss of interest in play)
– changes in sleep patterns
– changes in eating habits
– signs of confusion
– digestive issues (such as diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation)
Contact your vet immediately if you suspect any negative reaction to an essential oil!
Common Pet Conditions that respond well to essential oils include:
– Arthritis and joint pain
– Digestive support
– Respiratory support
– Ear health
– Pest repellent
– Immune support
– Brain function
– Mood stability
– Cell growth and healing
Keep essential oil bottles and diffusers out of harm’s way from curious noses by storing them on a high shelf or closed cabinet.
Certain oils are not suitable for ingestion, so pay close attention when storing even diluted oils and remember to clean any spills immediately. Keep diffusers away from places your pet sleeps or eats. Someplace out of reach completely is ideal. Oils, in general, should always be kept in dark, glass containers and out of direct sunlight.
For the safety of your pet, always check with your veterinarian before using essential oils. Remember that just because an oil is listed as safe for cats or dogs doesn’t mean it’s safe for YOUR cat or dog. Always test in small doses to make sure the oil is tolerable to your pet. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect any adverse reactions.