Can I Use Essential Oils with my Pets?
Whether you’re a long-time believer in essential oils, or just beginning a wellness journey that includes oils as part of the routine, you’ve likely come to understand the potency and benefits that make essential oils so popular. You might have even considered using oils on your pets. Highly qualified sources say that essential oils can be a positive experience for a variety of problems commonly faced by pets.
According to the American Kennel Club, “Preliminary research suggests that these potent oils may have some health benefits for dogs and humans, and many holistic veterinarians incorporate essential oils into their practices.” Many people are choosing to incorporate oils into the lives of their cats and dogs for a variety of natural cures, such as flea and tick prevention, skin soothing, and addressing behavior troubles such as anxiety or stress. Many pet owners have found oils incredibly beneficial, and are using aromatherapy through diffusers to help with pet problems.
While there are many benefits to using essential oils with your pets, its important to understand the safety basics, and that the tolerance of oils is going to vary from pet to pet, just like it does from human to human! It’s key that you understand which oils are safe, how to use them, and what to look for in a negative reaction. There are many oils that have been deemed safe and even helpful for pets.
As an example, lavender oil is one I would recommend starting with early, because of its versatility. If you enjoy oils, you probably have some laying around. And if you’re new to oils, this is a great one to pick up because you can use it in so many ways! For dogs, lavender helps with odors, and to calm anxiety - just like it does with people. However, did you know that this oil is helpful as a topical treatment in animals? It can help soothe itchy skin or allergy irritants, and can help to cure burns or minor skin irritations on cats or dogs.
Looking at dogs specifically, peppermint oil has been known to help get rid of fleas, soothe tired muscles, and help increase energy in tired animals. Also, similar to its use in humans, peppermint oils can help soothe a dog’s upset stomach.
Essential Oils for Pets
Something very important when diffusing essential oils is safety. Today we will talk about essential oils and pets. Are they harmful? Is it safe to diffuse the oils where your pet is? That and other questions will be answered in this article.
You should know that some oils are strong, and the smell of cats or dogs is more sensitive than that of humans. Because the oils are highly concentrated, they can irritate your pet’s nostrils. That’s why you need to take action if you have a four-legged companion in the house.
Some veterinarians have reported cases of pets with respiratory problems when exposed to essential oils. This happens mainly to cats, which experts say cannot break down the oils. Their livers do not possess the enzyme that performs that task, so subjecting them to breathing essential oils can be harmful.
Below you will find some of our best tips for using approved oils with your pets. You should also keep this list handy when considering adding oils to your pets healthcare and wellness routine. These are oils that should never be used on pets.
30 Essential Oils You Should Never Use on Any Animal:
Essential Oils For Cats
Believe it or not, the oils that can be used for cats and dogs differ. These are oils that can be used safely with cats on a short-term basis. Of course, when you have questions, or before beginning any essential oil treatment, it’s best to check with your pet’s veterinarian.
Spearmint Essential Oil is similar to peppermint oil in many ways. It’s particularly helpful for stomach issues troubling house cats, such as throwing up or diarrhea.
Frankincense Essential Oil can be helpful in some cases of cancer, certain studies have found. In this research, certain tumors shrunk and it improved external ulcers. Frankincense oil may also boost blood supply to the brain, but there’s also a chance that it will make high blood pressure worse, so use carefully. You should check with your vet, but it’s probably best to refrain from using this oil if your cat has a history of hypertension.
Cardamom Essential Oil delivers many of the same benefits to cats as it does to humans. It’s a great digestive aid for pets and encourages a healthy appetite level. Cats can also benefit from the natural antimicrobial properties and cough suppression that cardamom offers.
Fennel Essential oil is often used to help treat digestive issues in humans. In cats, it can help to balance glands. In the case of fluid buildup in the cat’s tissues, topical application may help to break up that blockage.
There are some oils that are NOT recommended for use with cats:
Essential Oils For Dogs
These are oils that can be used safely with dogs on a short-term basis. Of course, when you have questions, or before beginning any essential oil treatment, it’s best to check with your pet’s veterinarian.
Lavender oil is the winner for dogs! As mentioned, you probably already have this oil on hand (or should!) because it’s incredibly versatile. Many pet lovers use lavender as an essential oil pet deodorizer, or for that common “dog smell” in carpet. Not only do humans enjoy the benefits of lavender for scent purposes, diffusing the oil can help dogs sleep, or to soothe common anxiety. This oil is known to have a calming effect on dogs during stressful times, such as before a storm or during car rides. Finally, lavender is helpful for minor skin irritations and itching.
Peppermint oil is one of the most-used oils for dogs. It can work as a common flea repellent, and is also a great mood booster for when your pets need energy. Just like in humans, this oil can help soothe tummy troubles, and is also a great deodorizer. For a great flea repellent shampoo, click here.
Chamomile oil has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties that help with skin irritation, burns, wounds, ulcers or eczema.
Cedarwood oil is a great natural pest repellent. It’s also a helpful antiseptic for lungs and an expectorant for stubborn coughs. Some people also use this oil for calming dogs who are naturally more nervous or aggressive.
Naturally, there are a few oils that are NOT recommended for use with dogs:
Are essential oils safe for pets to spread?
As we have already made clear, the best thing you can do is not expose your pets to essential oils. If you are one of those people who needs to resort to aromatherapy for health reasons, always do so with caution for your animals.
You can do it in your room. Remember that a good essential oil diffuser only needs 30 minutes to impregnate a room. You can have all the therapeutic benefits of your oils in an average of one hour. This is enough time for you to have the benefits and for your pets to be safe.
Another place where you can relax, enjoy a rich aroma and be healthy is at bath time. Prepare the bath a few minutes in advance by placing essential oils in the diffuser, then you can make the most of them in the shower.
What essential oils are toxic to dogs?
Dogs have a very sensitive sense of smell, therefore essential oils with strong odors can be harmful. We are talking about basil oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, among others. These, although not toxic to dogs, can irritate their nose causing great discomfort.
The essential oils that are toxic to dogs are those already mentioned, at least those that are known to exist. Pine oil, pennyroyal oil, tea tree and wintergreen cause problems in canines. Do not spread around a dog for any reason.
To spread essential oils in the presence of a dog, it is advisable to do so in low concentrations and in ventilated places. You cannot do it in closed places like your room, if you want to do it there, make sure your pet is not present.
Are essential oil diffusers safe for dogs and cats?
Essential oil diffusers are safe for pets, as long as you diffuse oils safely. As we have been saying, you should be careful not to diffuse oils that are toxic to dogs and cats. Also, know what the strongest odors are that can cause irritation.
Then, you should take the proper precautions to ensure the well-being of you and your pets. Knowing that essential oil diffusers are safe, if you use them properly. To diffuse in a place where you have a dog, do not use much oil, if you usually put 8 drops, put only 4, and you will have a pleasant smell and a safe environment.
What essential oils are safe to diffuse around cats?
You already know the essential oils that are harmful to a cat. Now let’s see which ones are safe to diffuse around a cat. We are talking about soft oils like lavender, copaiba, incense and helichrysum.
With these fragrances you won’t have any problems with your cat, but that doesn’t mean you can leave it confined to a working diffuser. You should always keep an eye on the safety of your pets.
Remember, if you want to diffuse essential oils safely for pets, do so in open or well-ventilated areas. If this is not possible, make sure you do not diffuse such concentrated oils, lower the amount of oil to be diluted.
A Young Living Essential Oil diffuser is a device that allows you to combine water with a minimal amount of YL essential oils, for the purpose of dispersing a mist into the air, offering many aromatherapy benefits.
To learn more about essential oils, visit our essential oil uses and benefits page with over 100 different ways you can use essential oils to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Pet Poison Helpline
Always store essential oils out of the reach of pets and children. If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned by essential oils, immediately contact your veterinarian or the 24/7 Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661). Bring the suspected essential oil offender with you to the vet in a sealed container. Seeking treatment as quickly as possible will typically lead to a better outcome for your pet. If you believe your pet swallowed the oil, inducing vomiting or giving activated charcoal are not recommended as this may make the situation even worse.