Essential Oils and your Pet: Good vs. Bad

Essential oils are extracted from plants and the quality of the oil is impacted by several conditions such as, the sunlight, altitude, and even how much water a plant receives. Essential oils are an amazing natural alternative in pet care products, yet they are something to take caution on when it comes to dogs, and especially with cats.

Some oils are okay to be used topically but be sure they are used with an approved safe carrier oil such as, coconut or olive oil. Skin allergies and hot spots are two of the more common conditions treated with essential oils.. Tea tree oil shampoo for example, is believed to provide a variety of benefits for coat and skin health for dogs. The toxin found in tea tree oil is metabolized by the liver, making diluted tea tree oil safe for topical use on most dogs, but always consult your veterinarian before exposing your dog to it and never ingest it.

Essential Oils and your Pet: Good vs. Bad

It’s important to purchase a high-quality essential oil and not look for a bargain, which will likely be inferior and perhaps a more dangerous product. Doterra and Young Living brands are two of the more trusted and tested essential oil selling brands. Make sure to use proper carrier oils and proper quantities depending on your dog’s size.

Knowing signs of essential oil poisoning is necessary to keep your animal safe.  Signs of essential-oil poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, depression, lethargy, weakness, wobbliness, tremors and abnormal behavior. There’s a direct correlation between the severity of illness and the dog’s weight and age. The smaller and younger a dog is, the sicker they are likely to get. The same applies to dogs with liver disease.  A few of the Essential oils that are toxic to animals are cinnamon, pennyroyal, and pine, amongst other oils, but we will concentrate on the safer ones below.

According to some professionals, Lavender, frankincense, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and patchouli are the safer essential oils to use topically on your dog along with an approved carrier oil or in a spray. Lavender is considered one of the most versatile essential oils, creating a sense of peace and harmony and offering a calming effect on dogs, and their humans too.  A 2006 study found that using lavender essential oil on dogs reduced their movement and vocalization during travel. Cedarwood, or cedar oil is best known for its powerful ability to repel and kill pests like fleas. It has a wide range of beneficial properties, including being an antiseptic for the lungs and an expectorant for coughs like a kennel cough. It stimulates circulation and is good for resolving stiffness in dogs that commonly occurs with increasing age, as well as arthritis and back pain. It may also help eliminate dandruff, strengthen kidney function and be used as a general calming tonic, calming, especially for nervous aggression, dogs who are especially shy or timid, or those who need a greater sense of inner security, including those that have severe separation issues. Frankincense is less potent than many other essential oils and is generally considered to be an excellent all-around oil. It can also help to calm your pet and ease anxiety. Look for quality products with these oils included and make sure to speak with a professional for any natural remedy that your pet may use.

Essential Oils and your Pet: Good vs. Bad

Cats can sometimes use essential oils topically mixed in products or with carrier oils, although the effects they have on them vary from dogs. Unlike dogs, Cats, have less of the liver enzyme necessary to metabolizing tea tree and other essential oils which makes them more toxic to your feline and should never be exposed to it. Some oils that may be used are, cedarwood or rosemary topically diluted and used as flea repellents.

Always be wary of diffusing essential oils around your pets. Never have pets ingest essential oils or inhale them in excess. Don’t leave your diffuser on in any enclosed areas and make sure to air out the room or house after using them. Be careful with ever leaving loose oils out where animals can easily get in to. Essential oils can be both beneficial and harmful to your pets, so make sure you do the research and consult with veterinary professionals before using them on your fur baby.

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