Essential Oils and Pets




WHAT ARE THEY

Essential oils are concentrated, volatile liquids derived from plants that naturally are located in a plant’s various parts such as the seeds, grass, root, bark, stem, leaves, fruits, flowers, resin, zest and wood of plants. They are less viscous than carrier oils, having more of a watery texture.


WHERE DID THE TECHNIQUE DEVELOP

Middle Eastern people were the first to develop the technique of plant distillation to extract essential oils. During the Middle Ages, this knowledge of the distillation technique spread to Europe and eventually around the world.


THE PLANT ITSELF

The natural oils within each plant is aromatic, while also promoting it's self-protection and pollination; it is likely that oils from a plant help the plant guard itself against attacks from parasites and allow it to adapt to its environment. A pure essential oil is the plant’s defense mechanism and is more powerful than the botanical itself due to the concentration of healing compounds collected in the oil.


PETS

Pets, especially dogs and cats, have a sensitive sense of smell compared to humans, therefore many fragrances are potential irritants for them. Some pets may develop respiratory issues, skin reactions, allergies, etc. Many reports caution against using essential oils at all near pets younger than 10 weeks, and still others suggest avoiding essential oils entirely for all pets. If you do choose to use essential oils around your pets, the more diluted the oil, the better.


CAUTION

It's highly recommended to acquire advice from your trusted Vet. In general, seek information from educated, impartial, and trustworthy sources. The combined expertise will help pet parents make well-educated decisions for the wellness of their pets as well as for the rest of the family. Essential oils that do not to have a harmful effect on one pet could have the opposite effect on the wellbeing of a different pet. Never use essential oils orally on pets. Discuss the use of essential oils topically on pets with your Vet.


If you decide to introduce and essential oil to your pet’s environment, it should be in an open area with easy access to fresh air. The pet should also be free to leave. In other words, not left in a small room or in a crate without being able to escape. Essential oils should be introduced one at a time in low doses in order to make it easy to spot any issues and/or allergic reaction. Keep a close eye on your pet. If your pet appears to be uncomfortable, anxious, distressed or lethargic after being around the essential oil, immediately stop using this oil, remove the pet from the space and take it to an area that is well-ventilated, and contact a veterinarian.





LIST OF ESSENTIAL OILS CONSIDERED MILDER AND SAFER FOR PETS

Begin using in small doses in your diffuser


CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OIL (German or Roman)

Botanical name: Matricaria chamomilla/Chamaemelum nobile


CLARY SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical name: Salvia sclarea


MARJORAM (SWEET) ESSENTIAL OIL

Botanical name: Marjorana hortensis L.


FRANKINCENSE CARTERII

Botanical name: Boswellia carterii


MYRRH

Botanical name: Commiphora myrrha


VALERIAN

Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis


GINGER

Botanical name: Zingiber officinale


CEDARWOOD VIRGINIAN

Botanical name: Juniperus virginiana






ESSENTIAL OILS THAT ARE COMMONLY CONSIDERED UNSAFE FOR PETS


While every pet is different and every pets' biological makeup is different, it's important to err on the side of caution. The following essential oils are often reputed to cause skin irritation, breathing difficulties, changes in alertness, weakness or fatigue, stumbling, vomiting, and even paralysis in some cases. This list is not exhaustive:

  • Anise Essential Oil