how to safely use essential oils with pets

If you know essential oils, you know that the possibilities are pretty endless for where and how you can use them. You can utilize them aromatically, topically, and internally. Plus, your environment offers many places where essential oils can replace more toxic products.

But what is your space has pets in it? Can pets be around essential oils? Honestly, this wasn’t even something considered when diffusing oils and putting them on my body. Sure, my dog likes to lick, and I’m with her practically the whole day, but essential oils are natural, so they can’t do any harm…right?

If you want to use essential oils with pets, you have to realize that, just like pets cannot eat certain foods, they cannot safely consume or be around some essential oils. Not everything in nature is safe for everyone.

As a pet owner, a life is depending on you. To safely use essential oils with pets, make sure to educate yourself on how and what is best for all living creatures under your roof. This includes what to avoid essential oils to avoid using, which ones are safe, and how to utilize them properly for your pet’s benefit.

essential oils to avoid with pets.

It’s important to realize that many of essential oils are volatile compounds, which means they can be potentially toxic to pets at certain concentrations. Since dogs and cats have a keener sense of smell than us owners, essential oils are especially potent to them. This increased sensitivity should make us even more cautious about using essential oils. What can be very pleasing to us is downright irritating to pets.

The most common symptoms for cats and dogs exposed to diffused essential oils that don’t agree with their bodies are drooling, vomiting, coughing, and sneezing. Diffusing oils can even be fatal to cats and dogs that have asthma or other respiratory issues.

If you have cats, you also need to be wary about certain oils. Cats are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds because they interfere with their liver detoxification processes. Cat owners should use extra caution around essentials oils like cinnamon, tea tree, thyme, birch, wintergreen, clove, and oregano.

Dog owners: avoid using anise, clove, garlic, horseradish, juniper, thyme, wintergreen, and yarrow around your fur babies. These essential oils can trigger a range of issues, from allergies and skin sensitivities to interference in their natural body processes.

Never apply 100 percent essential oils from aromatherapy products on your pet, especially on broken skin because they can quickly be absorbed into the bloodstream and possibly damage vital organs. Also, never use essential oils with pets orally because many of them can damage the liver. If your pet has consumed essential oils, call your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center.

Long story short, any essential oil could be harmful to pets, depending on how much they’re exposed to and how. The especially toxic oils, where pets are concerned, include wintergreen, d-limonene (citrus), pine, cinnamon, pennyroyal, eucalyptus, and tea tree. You can still have a diffuser in your home but keep your pet and your running oil diffuser in separate rooms and avoid using the device for long periods of time.

safe essential oils for pets.

Some essential oils you can safely use around and for your pets include the following:

  • Cedarwood: Helps repel pests and promote healthy skin and coat
  • Myrrh: Can help fight allergies and promote health skin and coat
  • Clary Sage: Calms nervousness and excitability
  • Peppermint: Soothes the pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and repels pests
  • Carrot Seed: Supports healthy skin as a topical treatment for dryness
  • Ginger: Relieves pain from arthritis and hip dysplasia and supports healthy digestion
  • Helichrysum: Used topically can help with pain relief and skin issues
  • Sweet Basil: Is a great air freshener and has antibacterial and anti-viral properties.

Beyond avoiding direct use of the above essentials oils with pets, you should also make sure you’re using high quality oils and diffusers. When buying essential oils, make sure their only ingredient is the pure substance, not just a fragrance. Therapeutic grade is always best, even if it costs more. Also, high-quality diffusers will only dispense safe amounts of essential oils into the air, avoiding pet overexposure.

The ratio for dilution should always be one part oil to four parts carrier oil. The mentioned “safe oils” that are properly diluted can then be applied to their paws, along their spines, or on the tips of the ears. You could also apply the diluted oil to a pet’s bed or an area they frequently visit for an indirect application.

best use for essential oils with pets.

What reasons might you want to use essential oils with pets? An oil like lavender can be very effective for both emotional and physical ailments, such as separation anxiety, thunderstorm anxiety, and fear-based aggression, as well as common allergies.

If you’re diffusing oils, go slow and monitor your pets to see how they react. Let them get acclimated to the substance. Since every pet is different, an essential oil that can benefit one might trigger a different response in another. Research does show essential oils can be safe for dogs and cats and even very effective, but only when diluted heavily and/or used in the appropriate way, time, place and on a specific subject in the correct amount.

To best use essential oils with pets, it’s always advised to consult with your veterinarian to get advice on the proper way to use them, particularly based on the individual pet’s species, age, size and health history. All this information is based on my own research, so I highly recommend you look into this topic yourself and keep your vet aware of whatever you’d like to use before proceeding. Seriously, safety first.

What experience do you have when using essential oils with pets? Have you learned some helpful advice for those interested? Share your thoughts in the comments to support other pet owners!

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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