Are you looking for reliable information about how to use essential oils keep your pets happy and healthy, safely? There is a lot of information on the internet handed out freely by people who are not trained in either animal wellness or essential oils and it can be hard to know who to trust.
I qualified in animal aromatherapy over 20 years ago now and have worked with 100s of animals over the years, dogs, horses, cats, monkeys, cows… you get the idea. I am also a qualified aromatherapist, herbalist, kinesiologist and animal behaviour consultant.
I would like everyone understand exactly what essential oils are, why they are so potent and how you can use them with confidence. As a start, here is a basic primer for you to enjoy.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are potent extracts of aromatic plants. Almost every plant contains some essential oil in either the flowers, roots, leaves, or bark; the fragrance of a rose or a cypress tree, is essential oil being released into the air. Essential oils have various functions depending on the plant, e.g: to act as hormones, to attract insects for pollination, to repel insects or competing plants, or to protect from bacterial invasion.
How Essential Oils Work
Essential oils are highly volatile, releasing their fragrance in an explosion as soon as they are exposed to air. Because they are made up of very small molecules, they pass easily from the olfactory system, through the mucous membranes into the brain and blood, affecting the nervous system. Essential oils have a physiological and psychological affect.
Uses and effects of essential oils
Essential oils can be anti-inflammatory, anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti-tumour, relaxing, sedating, stimulating and a host of other actions besides. Aromatic extracts have been used for health and well-being for millenia and the medicinal effect of essential oils has been studied scientifically since early in the twentieth century, many modern synthetic medicines have been developed from this study.
Essential oils and zoopharmcognosy
In the wild, animals pick and choose the healing plants they need to help them stay in optimal health (known scientifically as zoopharmacognosy). The safest way to use essential oils with animals is to use this instinct and allow the animal to choose what they need, just as they would in the wild. This has the added benefit of reducing stress by offering choices.
It is mind-blowing to watch an animal direct its own healing by responding to the oils instinctively, choosing whether to take them orally, topically or as an inhalant. This method is safe and effective, and also greatly strengthens the bond of trust between animal and guardian.
Follow these simple rules and you and your animals can enjoy essential oils and their benefits without concern>
- Always let your animal select the essential oil. If he shows signs of dislike, moving away or leaving the room after smelling the oil, respect this wish. If you do not, you risk provoking an allergic reaction.
- Never apply undiluted essential oil to an animal’s skin.
- For dogs, dilute well, even for inhalation. Dogs can be turned off essential oils if you offer them undiluted.
- For topical use, dilute in a water-based gel at a maximum dilution of 1%.
- Use only hydrosols with cats and NEVER apply essential oils topically.
- Do not add essential oils to food or water.
- Essential oils interact with human and non-human animals in the same way. Consult a good quality essential oils manual and read up on the benefits and precautions of essential oils you want to use. Especially cautions about skin sensitivity.
A way of communication
Animals can’t tell us in so many words what they need to be healthy and happy, but through the oils they choose we can understand them better, improve animal/human communication, and achieve greater well-being for all. If you want to understand more about essential oils and safe use with animals check out this introductory online course