Can I Use Essential Oils On My Pet?

There are a number of differing opinions on whether you can safely use essential oils on pets, and I think that it’s safe to say that the jury’s out until further study can be made into the effects. However there have been some small scale studies and a growing amount of anecdotal evidence to say that some essential oils can be used safely on or around your pets. Just as with human application, different essential oils carry different levels of safety to your pets and there are some essential oils that should never be used including Tea Tree, Anise, Clove Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen or Yarrow.

However there is an increasing body of evidence that essential oils, especially lavender essential oil can be both safe and beneficial for your pets. One thing to bear in mind especially is to ensure that you only use the purest and highest quality essential oil. These are unlikely to be the cheapest options, as lower priced essential oils are more likely to be diluted with a range of other chemicals to make the expensive natural product go further. When choosing an essential oil for use on yourself, your home or your pet, ensure that it is clearly labelled as containing ‘100% pure essential oil’ or similar.

So what are the do’s and don’ts of using essential oils on pets?

Do

  • Use only 100% pure essential oils
  • Dilute the oil. The general rule of thumb is to start with a 50% dilution of the recommended adult human dose and then if necessary increase to up to a 25% dilution.
  • Introduce essential oils gradually and carefully monitor your pet. Remember that your dog can’t tell you if something is wrong so keep an eye out for any unusual behaviour including excessive scratching, sniffing, nervousness or whining.

Don’t

  • Do not ever use essential oils on or around birds as they are extremely sensitive to scents. There have even been cases of pet birds dying after exposure to essential oils, such as a well-meaning cockatiel owner who applied a drop of tea tree oil to an abrasion on their birds’ foot and, even with veterinary intervention, the bird died within 24 hours.
  • Use essential oils on puppies under 15 weeks old.
  • As with humans, sick, frail, older or pregnant pets should either avoid essential oils all together or use them in a much a greater dilution than for a healthy animal.

For further information we recommend that you consult one of the specialist reference texts available such as Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.

Jersey Lavender Farm Shop