Why Essential Oils?
You might already be taking advantage of the benefits of essential oils for your own health. If you are, you’ll be excited to know that research has shown you can also use them for your pets. Essential oils can be useful for reducing their anxiety, fighting inflammation, oxidation, toxins, and infections. One study found that a lippia sidoides essential oil mouthwash was able to reduce plaque, gingivitis, and inflammation in the mouths of German shepherds within 15 days. Another study showed how eucalyptus essential oils can treat edema in rodents. However, pet owners could be putting their pets in danger by using the wrong oils, the wrong amounts, or the wrong methods!
Animals are usually much more sensitive to essential oils than we are, and their body systems can differ from ours. This means that some types of essential oils that provide great benefits for you and your family can actually harm your pets when they’re exposed to it. Not to mention, your pet can become sick from any type of essential oil, if you give it the same dosage that would be totally safe and healthy for humans.
Which Essential Oils to Avoid
- Phenolic oils (such as oregano, thyme, cinnamon, clove, wintergreen, and birch)
- Citrus oils (cats are especially vulnerable)
- Lavender (diffusing too much of this popular oil can lead to allergic reactions in dogs)
How much is too much?
A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when using essential oils for or around pets, is that the size of your pet should be in proportion to the amount of oil. The smaller the pet, the less oil you should use. You should dilute the essential oil you use with a carrier oil such as grape seed oil or olive oil. You can also purchase carrier oils like V-6, which is a blend of six different organic oils.
When it comes to cats, some professionals suggest diluting 1 drop of essential oil with 50 drops of the carrier oil. For small dogs, you can start with 3 drops of the essential oil, and dilute them with 15 drops of carrier oil. You can use 3-5 drops of essential oil on large dogs without a dilution. No matter the size of your pet, it’s important to keep an eye out for negative responses. Stop the use immediately if you see any signs of distress or allergic reaction.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
Which Oils to Use
Consult your veterinarian first to make sure the essential oils you use are safe for your pet. They might suggest some of the following treatments:
- Heart and Cardiovascular Health:cypress, peppermint, nutmeg, chamomile, cinnamon, or rose oils
- Any Inflammation: peppermint or copaiba oils
- Bald Patches: coconut, nutmeg, frankincense, basil, lemon, or myrrh oils
- Bug and Pest Repellant: eucalyptus, white cypress, or citronella oils
- Ear Infections: apple cider vinegar, clove, coconut, lemon, or rosemary
How to Use Essential Oils
Once you decide which oils to use, and dilute them appropriately, it’s time to familiarize your pet with the essential oil. You can do this by applying some to your skin, and spending time around them. After they get used to the smell, you can try one of these techniques:
- Apply the oil mixture to their paws, or rub it on your hands and pet their fur. Be sure to avoid contact with their eyes and ears.
- Add the oil mixture to their food. It works best with soft foods.
- Diffuse in their favorite room of the house.
Experienced essential oil users say to use essential oils for up to a maximum of 2 weeks, and then give your cat or dog a 1-2 week rest period before using again. During the rest period, you can decide whether you want to keep using the technique you chose, or try a different one for the next round. Soon, you can be confident that you’re using the best and safest essential oils in your house to boost the health of your beloved pet.