Using essential oils for pets is a great way to support your pet’s health, naturally, while saving hundreds and maybe even thousands on vet bills. Adding essential oils into my pets regimen has been a true blessing and I'm confident it will be for you too!
"Essential oils are the most holistic modality that I know of."
~ Melissa Shelton DVM, Holistic Vet.
The feedback most people hear when it comes to essential oils and pets is DANGER… DANGER do not use or use with caution! And if you’re using a synthetic adulterated essential oil (which is what 98% of the oils sold on the market are), I would strongly head these warnings. However, this is false guidance when one is using genuine therapeutic grade essential oils.
Essential oils do not just offer a natural healing solution for humans, but they are a huge blessing to those of us who have and cherish our beloved pets.
Have you ever noticed your pet eating plants or grass? My dogs actually graze like horses. Well this is actually a normal routine for them as they ingest plants and grass, etc. in order to settle their stomach, promote vomiting, or simply because they need the greens. Animals enjoy plants and many live off of a plant/grass based diet. Fresh plants have all the nutrients of essential oils, but in very small quantities, which stands to reason why our pets would benefit from the use of essential oils, just as we do.
Essential oils for pets are not just limited to the larger breads like dogs and hoses, but the oils can also be used on cats, birds, rats and just about every species known to man, in fact I’ve even heard about some people that even “oil” their fish. Well, if they’re anything like my dogs and cat, I’m sure the fish love their lemon water too!
For tips and guidance on using essential oils for some of the most common household/farm pets, please click on the species below.
Just like people, when using ONLY true therapeutic grade essential oils essential oils for pets can be used through inhalation, topically and internally. However, there are some key points that it is important to be aware of with each use.
If you think you can smell bad or foul smells, think again. Your pet is extremely sensitive to smell and can actually smell things thousands of times stronger than you or I can. Because of their keen sense of smell, pet also have a physical sensitivity to synthetic chemicals such as artificial air fresheners, toxic cleaners, cigarette smoke and perfume.
When working with essential oil for pets, although they are good for them, we need to be sensitive to this fact when introducing the pet to essential oils.
It is recommended to introduce the pet slowly to the smell. For example, when diffusing the oils for the first time use mild oil and diffuse it in a large room where the pet can get away from the smell. You’ll be surprised to find in time that they will actually gravitate to the diffuser. Some pets, especially dogs, actually like to sit right under the diffuser. It is also best to diffuse only a few drops of oils and for short sessions, like 15-20 minutes. In time, you’ll be able to run your diffuser 24-7, like I practically do.
When applying essential oils to your pet topically, it is best to start out with diluting your essential oil with a carrier oil, such as an organic first pressed virgin olive oil or similar. Melissa Shelton DVM recommends 1-4 drops per ounce of carrier oil as a good starting place and then increase from there. There are many oils that I safely apply neat, or undiluted to my pets, however, as your learning, please start all oils out by diluting them first.
You can safely apply the oils anywhere except in the undiluted in the eyes, directly in the ear canal, on the genital area or other sensitive areas. That means that if your dog cut his leg, apply the appropriate oil directly to the wound.
Some of the most popular ways to apply the oils is to the feet, the ears and in a petting fashion. Put the oils and/or carrier oil in your non-dominant hand and circle the oils with the fingers of your other hand in a clockwise motion to energize and get the molecules going in the same direction as the DNA and then apply to the pads of the feet, rub on the tips of the ears or rub hands together and “pet” your pet, avoiding direct contact with the eyes and sensitive areas..
Another great way to apply the oils to your pet is with a glass spritzer bottle. Add 4+ drops of your chosen essential oil(s) and then fill the rest with distilled water. Shake and spritz. This works great for birds, small animals, post-surgical areas and placed that are irritated.
And of course there is the Raindrop Therapy/Technique. This is a powerful and effective way to administer the oils to your dog, cat or horse.
Mixing essential oils into your pet’s food is probably one of the easiest ways to administer essential oils internally. However, all pets respond different to the taste of essential oils so adjust your methods accordingly.
My dogs and cat love their lemon essential oil water, which helps to detoxify their system, balance their pH and much more! Blending a drop of oil in with their NingXia Red or Power Meal also seems to work. If it is a must that I get an oil in them internally and they are not taking to the food for some reason, I’ll mix the drop of oil in with some NingXia Red and administer it with a syringe.
No matter what your cat is exposed to, it is important to know that a cat’s liver does not metabolize things the same as a human or even a dog therefore, oils high in eugenol and phenol compounds can stress their liver. This issue is made worse and can even be fatal with the use of poor quality; non-therapeutic grade essential oils are used. According to Melissa Shelton DVM, “When pure and medical grade essential oil is collected in its entirely, the trace amounts of chemicals which would normally be missed by the fragrance industry, act as a buffering agent to the rest of the compounds. Basically, if you do not collect the entire oil structure from a plant – you change its chemical make-up – thus decreasing the medical benefits, and missing out on some very important properties. It is not always the highest percentage of a chemical that has the medical actions. Sometimes a compound only present at about 1% or less in an oil, is the actual force behind the healing effects.”
These type of oils are called “hot” oils and are the one that may irritate your face if used undiluted. Some of the common “hot” oils would be basil, oregano, thyme, wintergreen, clove, and cinnamon bark.
Although many people use oils high in eugenols and phenols safely undiluted, as I did to save my cats life (but I was giving nutritional support, see below), as a rule of thumb it is best to dilute these oils when using on your cat.
It is important to support your pets system nutritionally, but even more so when using essential oils, and especially with cats.
Anti-oxidants are vital for aiding in your pets liver function, so it is highly recommended that you incorporate a high anti-oxidant support such as NingXia Red into your pets regimen. I add NingXia Red to my dogs food and they absolutely love it! This is actually more cost effective than adding in any type of wet food, which I used to do, and it's much more healthy too!
If you are serious about learning how to use essential oils for pets and keeping your pets happy and healthy, naturally, with therapeutic grade essential oils then I encourage you to get two of the best essential oil resource books available, both books are by Melissa Shelton DVM, Holistic Veterinarian and owner of Crow River Animal Hospital.