Essential oils and pets: Everything you
need to know
Many people rely on the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy to treat a wide range of ailments and to enhance their mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. From stress to insomnia and chronic pain to anxiety, essential oils seem to be the answer to almost anything.
As the holistic benefits of essential oils are becoming increasingly well-known, people are beginning to question what other uses essential oils may have and how else they could put aromatherapy to use around their house.
This has led many people to question how essential oils could be used with their pets. Here is everything you need to know about essential oils and pets.
- Can you use essential oils if you have pets?
- Can essential oils be beneficial for pets?
- Essential oils safe for dogs
- Essential oils safe for cats
- Which essential oils are toxic to pets?
- How to use essential oils safely around pets
- To sum up
Can you use essential oils if you have pets?
Many people wonder whether it’s safe to use essential oils in their home if they have pets. The answer is yes – certain essential oils can be used with pets, but extreme caution is needed. There are many essential oils that could cause your pet discomfort or even be toxic.
It’s important to be aware of which essential oils are safe to use around your pet. You should still use caution, even with the safe essential oils. They should be kept out of reach of your pet when both storing and using your essential oils. You should also never allow your pet to consume any essential oil.
Can essential oils be beneficial for pets?
When used carefully, aromatherapy can be beneficial for the entire family, including your pets. There are some oils which can help to calm and relax your pets whilst other oils can help to repel fleas and keep your pet healthy.
However, it’s important to be aware of which essential oils could be dangerous for your pet as well as to keep in mind some safety guidance when you’re using essential oils around your pets.
Essential oils safe for dogs
There are several essential oils which are safe for use with dogs, with certain oils offering many holistic benefits to your pooch. For example, certain essential oils are calming to dogs, while others may help to keep the fleas at bay.
Here are some of the essential oils which can be used with dogs.
Lavender oil: Calming and comforting
Lavender is one of the most commonly used essential oils with dogs and also one of the safest. Lavender essential oil is thought to trigger a calming sensation in your dog’s brain, providing them with comfort when they need it the most.
Some veterinarians diffuse lavender essential oil during surgery to reassure anxious pets, helping them to feel safe. Lavender essential oil can also be used to help your dog with insomnia and to keep them calm on car journeys.
A 2009 study investigated the effects of applying lavender oil topically to the ears of beagles. The study found that the average heart rate of the dogs was lower when treated with lavender oil. This shows that lavender oil could have a calming effect on some dogs. However, more research is needed to prove this definitively.
Lemongrass oil: The natural pest deterrent
With a fabulous citrus aroma, lemongrass essential oil smells pleasant to both humans and dogs alike. However, it has the opposite effect on pests such as fleas and ticks, repelling them from your pet.
You can use lemongrass essential oil in a diffuser to keep the pests away. You can also try adding a drop to your dog’s shampoo for a scent that smells great to both you and your pet whilst keeping the fleas and ticks at bay.
Peppermint oil: Soothing, energising and deterring, all at once
Peppermint has a strong aroma, but it is also one of the safest essential oils to use with your dog. Diffusing the aroma can help energise an old, tired dog. When applied topically, it can soothe tired, sore muscles and joints. And finally, peppermint is another great natural flea deterrent. In fact, you’ll often find it in dog shampoos and flea repellents.
Cedarwood oil: Relaxing and refreshing
Many people find that cedarwood essential oil has a relaxing effect on their dogs whilst supporting healthy skin. Adding a small amount of cedarwood oil to a diffuser can help to calm your dog and promote healthy sleep.
Cedarwood essential oil is also an effective pest repellent, keeping ticks, fleas and moths away from your pets and furniture. Try adding a drop of cedarwood essential oil to a clean spray bottle and top it up with water. Spritz it over your furniture and carpets to keep the pests away.
Chamomile oil: Soothing and calming
As with humans, many dogs find the aroma of chamomile essential oil to be particularly relaxing. In a fact, a 2004 study conducted at a rescue shelter investigated the effects of chamomile oil on dogs’ behaviour. The study found that dogs exposed to the scent of chamomile essential oil were calmer and less vocal than when they weren’t exposed to chamomile oil.
This makes chamomile a useful essential oil for keeping your dog calm during noisy or chaotic events. Try adding a small amount of chamomile essential oil to a diffuser to soothe your dog and allow them to rest.
Essential oils safe for cats
Cats are more sensitive than dogs when it comes to essential oils, so it’s important to take care when using essential oils around your feline friends.
As cats have the ability to jump and climb, it’s important to ensure that any essential oils are kept out of reach of your feline as ingestion could be dangerous, even with the safest essential oils.
The only essential oil which appears to have been properly researched when it comes to cats is lavender oil.
A 2018 study investigated the effects of inhaling the aroma of lavender oil in hospitalised cats. One group was exposed to the scent of lavender oil whilst a control group was simply monitored. The study found that the group which inhaled lavender essential oil for thirty minutes was significantly calmer, showing less signs of stress. This demonstrates the impact that lavender essential oil can have on the anxiety levels of cats.
Lavender essential oil can help to calm your cat during car journeys, help them to rest and recover after illness or injury and help to ease anxiety. However, due to the sensitive nature of cats, you should use lavender oil with caution, observing them regularly for any adverse effects.
Which essential oils are toxic to pets?
Although there are several essential oils which are safe to use around your pets, and some which can even provide therapeutic benefits, there are also many essential oils which can be toxic to your furry friends.
Essential oils toxic to dogs
Although there are several essential oils which can be used safely around your dog, there are also many that should be avoided. These can incite allergies and skin sensitivities, as well as interfering with natural bodily processes. In some cases, contact with these essential oils could even prove fatal for your canine.
When it comes to essential oils and dogs, there are a few oils you should be particularly mindful of. Some of the essential oils which are toxic to dogs include:
● Tea tree
Many other essential oils may also be toxic to dogs. If you’re unsure, always talk to your vet for advice before deciding to use any essential oils.
Essential oils toxic to cats
The majority of essential oils are thought to be toxic to cats due to their high levels of sensitivity. Therefore, you should always be careful when using essential oils around your feline friends.
Cats lack an enzyme known as glucuronyltransferase which breaks down phenol. This means that they are particularly sensitive to essential oils which contain polyphenolic compounds as they interact with the liver detoxification process.
Essential oils which are highly toxic to cats include:
● Citrus oils
● Tea tree
● Ylang ylang
It’s always best to be safe when using essential oils around your cats. You should always talk to your vet for advice before using any oils.
How to use essential oils safely around pets
Dogs and cats alike are renowned for their incredible sense of smell. However, this means that extra caution needs to be taken when using essential oils around your pets. The most important thing to remember is to always check with your vet before using any essential oils around your pets.
When you’re diffusing essential oils, make sure that you always leave an escape route for your pet. This could be an open window or door to allow your pet to leave the room and escape the scent if they feel uncomfortable.
When it comes to essential oils and cats, you need to be especially careful. Cats are particularly sensitive when it comes to essential oils, so diffuse them sparingly, keeping a watchful eye on your feline friend. Never leave a diffuser going when you’re out of the house if an animal is at home.
Be sure to store essential oils out of reach of any pets. Their curious nature will make them eager to investigate the aromatic addition to their home, but ingestion could be fatal for your pet. Keep oils in a locked cupboard or secure location and be mindful of where you situate your diffusers.
Wash your hands carefully after handling essential oils to avoid accidental contact with your pet. If you think there’s a chance that your pet may have come into contact with an essential oil, it’s important to contact your vet as soon as possible for advice.
To sum up
Although essential oils can be beneficial for your pets, it’s also important to be mindful of the safety guidelines when it comes to essential oils and pets. Dogs and cats can be especially sensitive to the potent aromas of essential oils and appropriate care must be taken at all times. Diluting essential oils twice as much as normal when diffusing them might be a good place to start to acclimate your pet to the smell of any oils you use.
If you’re unsure when it comes to using essential oils around your pets, always contact your vet for advice. It’s always best to be cautious to keep your pets as safe as possible. There may be other oils that your vet could use on your pet for more serious conditions, but it’s best to consult with them first and allow them to guide and monitor any treatments.
For more information about essential oils, or to speak to an aroma expert, email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.