If you love using doTERRA products in your home, you may have wondered if it is safe to use your essential oils on your pets. And the answer is “YES!” Essential oils have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and inflammation, fighting oxidative processes, battling toxins and fighting infections by inhibiting bacteria, fungi and viruses. Used correctly, they are an indispensible part of integrative medical care.
Essential Oil Facts
Essential oils come from various plants chosen for their unique chemical structure. Plants are helpless to many predators and infectious threats because they cannot move. To protect themselves, they produce compounds that neutralize or repel pests and pathogens. When we use essential oils, these chemical compounds also work in our bodies to help us defend and heal our bodies.
Essential oils are absorbed by inhalation, ingestion and contact with the skin. They rapidly enter the body and the blood stream and are distributed to various tissues.
Very small amounts of the chemical compounds in essential oils can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. For example, lavender oil has powerful effects on the brain and creates a calming sensation. Small amounts of lavender oil can be used when traveling to calm pets or make them feel sleepy.
Which oils are safe to use? How much can I apply? Should I diffuse or apply topically?
Safe essential oils To Consider
Make sure you always talk to your Veterinarian about any serious conditions and let them know that you are using essential oils on your pet. The following oils can be used in first aid and are safe for short-term use:
- Lavender: Universal oil, can use pure or diluted. Useful in conditioning patients to a safe space. May help seasonal discomfort, skin concerns and relaxation.
- Cardamom: unwanted pathogens, digestive concerns.
- Fennel: supports normal body functions.
- Helichrysum: skin support
- Frankincense: supports healthy cells, promotes healthy skin
- Spearmint: digestive health
How much essential oil can I use?
- For smaller animals like cats and small dogs, use 3 drops. Be sure to dilute 80–90 percent prior to application (for example, for every 1 drop of oil, use 4–5 drops of a diluting agent, such as fractionated coconut oil.
- For larger animals, like large dogs, start with 3–5 drops. Unless otherwise indicated on the product label, dilution is unnecessary.
- For very large animals, like horses and cattle, start with 10 drops. Unless otherwise indicated on the product label, dilution is unnecessary.
Where should I apply the essential oils?
- For cats and dogs, paws are a great place to apply essential oils.
- For hoofed animals, we recommend application on the spine or flanks.
- Try rubbing oils onto your own hands and then stroking the animal’s fur.
- For large or hard-to-reach areas, combine essential oils with fractionated coconut oil or water in a
- spray bottle for easier application.
Essential oils can also be administered internally. You can mix it in your pet’s food or for large animals, you can pull out the bottom lip and drop oils directly into the mouth.
Essential oils are very useful in healing but can cause adverse effects if used incorrectly. Please do some research if you consider using an essential oil that is not listed in the safe list above. The largest problem with essential oils is that they may contain contaminates or adulterants that can cause serious issues such as toxicity. For this reason, one should only use therapeutic grade oils from reputable companies and verify the quality of oils before using them.
Animals have sensitive senses of smell, so in most cases it is best to use oils that are diluted and always provide an escape route. If a pet does not like an oil do not enforce its use. Cats are particularly at risk for oil reactions and in most cases we use oils very sparingly on cats. One drop of essential oil diluted in 50 drops of a carrier oil such as grape seed or coconut oil is usually sufficient.
Some essential oils can cause liver and kidney toxicity in sensitive species. Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch, which are oils that should be avoided in cats. Cats should not receive melaleuca oil, and never put essential oils into the ear canal as they can damage cats’ delicate eardrums and nerves. Care is needed around eyes as well. Always wash your hands after handling oils to prevent accidentally getting them into your eyes.
To reduce the chances of sensitivity and organ toxicity, we generally use an oil for no more than two weeks and then provide a rest period. Under certain circumstances — like in the treatment of abnormal cell growth — oils can be used for longer periods, but this is something best left to those trained in the use of oils.
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