Animals have their own unique considerations when it comes to the use of essential oils. Their size, fur type, sense of smell, and specific species metabolism are all things to consider when using essential oils around pets.
Not only do you need to consider the animal when using essential oils, you also need to consider the oil itself. Pure, therapeutic grade essential oils should be the only type of oils used around animals. These oils do come with a cost, as producing pure essential oils of therapeutic quality is expensive. Lower grade essential oils may contain residue of pesticides, herbicides, solvents or synthetic chemicals and may have little to no actual therapeutic value.
Guidelines to consider when using essential oils around animals
- Careful with the amount of oils you are using around your pets. They have an enhanced sense of smell and the smell from the oils can become overwhelming.
- Cats are particularly sensitive to some specific essential oils (those containing high levels of phenol, monoterpene and ketones) and are at a higher risk for toxicity. This is mainly due to their unique liver metabolism, which cannot handle and metabolize certain compounds properly.
- Keep all essential oils stored safely away from your pets.
- Know your animal poison control contact in the case of overdose or adverse reaction to essential oils.
Tips for using essential oils around animals
Dilute, dilute dilute! Start with a dilution as high as 90% (1 drop of essential oil mixed with 9 drops of a carrier oil- coconut, olive oil, almond oil for example). Then only use 2-4 drops of this diluted mixture at any one time on your animal.
When diffusing essential oils also start low, if you pet does not seem to like the smell (squinty eyes, avoiding the area) back off on the amount of oil in the diffuser until your pet seems comfortable. Do not ever close an animal in a room with a diffuser running, allow them the chance to leave the area if they are not comfortable with the smell.
Apply the essential oils to yourself and see how your pets respond to you. This will help them become used to the oils as you go about your day being around your pets.
Like humans, every animal is different and will respond differently to the essential oils. Keep notes and use good judgement when using different oils and various application techniques with your pets.
Carrozza, Amanda. “Are Essential Oils Harmful to Cats and Dogs?” Veterinarian’s Money Digest, 12 Jan. 2018, www.vmdtoday.com/news/are-essential-oils-harmful-to-cats-and-dogs.
Essential Oils, Young Living. “Essential Oils and Pets: A Quick How-To.” Young Living Blog, 7 May 2015, www.youngliving.com/blog/essential-oils-for-pets-a-quick-how-to/.
Essential Oils Animal Desk Reference. Life Science Pub., 2017.
Please note, this content is for informational purposes only, it contains general guidelines, and is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice regarding your pet.