WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS
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, especially dogs and cats, have a very 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.
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 (or humans). 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, car, 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, diluted 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.
Botanical name: Boswellia carterii
Botanical name: Commiphora myrrha
Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis
Botanical name: Zingiber officinale
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
Basil Essential Oil
Birch Essential Oil
Calendula Essential Oil
Cassia Essential Oil
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Citronella Essential Oil
Clove Essential Oil
Cypress Essential Oil
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Garlic Essential Oil
Grapefruit Essential Oil
Juniper Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil
Lemon Essential Oil
Lime Essential Oil
Myrtle Essential Oil
Nutmeg Essential Oil
Orange Essential Oil
Oregano Essential Oil
Peppermint Essential Oil
Pennyroyal Essential Oil
Pine Essential Oil
Rosemary Essential Oil
Spearmint Essential Oil
Spruce Essential Oil
Tansy Essential Oil
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Thuja Essential Oil
Thyme Essential Oil
Wintergreen Essential Oil
Yarrow Essential Oil
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
If you have used lavender essential oil around your pet in the past, with no adverse reaction then it's best to be cautious and use it sparingly in a very well ventilated area.
I use lavender as an example because it's such a popular scent. Essential oils in certain products may be fine in limited use (ie: natural cleaners) but if you plan to burn a candle or heat essential oils in water inside a diffuser for hours at a time, then please be very careful around pets.
There are many bottles of essential oils on the market that have mixtures. Please carefully read all of the ingredients prior to purchase or use. If a bottle has no information about the exact ingredients, don't buy it. Do as much research as possible for your health and the health of your pet, from reputable sources and your Vet.