A series of vials of oilsAromatherapy has been a popular way to relax and rejuvenate for years, and essential oils use as home remedies for many different ailments has also been gaining in popularity recently. Although you may enjoy lavender, citrus, or any number of lovely scents from essential oils, it’s important to keep in mind some safety measures when it comes to essential oils and pets.

Essential Oils Basics

Essential oils are derived from plants and are distilled through a carefully regulated process. The oils are therefore highly concentrated and volatile compounds, meaning they have powerful effects on our minds and bodies.

Essential oils can enter the body through inhalation, ingestion, or through contact with the skin. They enter the bloodstream and body systems rapidly and, when used properly, can have therapeutic effects.

However, essential oils can also be toxic to our pets without proper knowledge and use. Since the compounds they contain are powerful and biologically active, used incorrectly can cause a host of undesirable and even dangerous side effects, including organ damage. People who want to use them medically should seek specialized training.

The bottom line: talk to The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center before using essential oils at home or on your pets.

Essential Oils Can Be Toxic to Pets

Essential oils and aromatherapy can be enjoyable and useful for humans, and do have some benefits in integrative veterinary medicine. But since pets have different body systems than we do, what seems harmless to us may actually affect them negatively. And, pets can easily inhale, lick, or even eat essential oils, causing them harm.

Studies have shown negative effects for cats and dogs with certain oils, and these should not be used on or near them. Cats are missing a liver enzyme that helps them to metabolize (compared to humans and dogs), and are particularly sensitive to oils. All pets react differently to essential oils, and this list is not all-inclusive, so please contact us with any questions.

Oils that should not be used on cats:

  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Spruce
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

Oils that should not be used on dogs:

  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Juniper
  • Rosemary
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen

Birds, it should be noted, have extremely sensitive respiratory tracts and aromatherapy near them is not recommended.

Essential Oils and Pets

There are some basics for essential oil use with pets. Remember that pets have more sensitive senses of smell than we do, so always give them a way to escape the smells if they need to. Also:

  • Keep oils stored in an area that cannot be accessed by pets.
  • Diffuse oils in a well ventilated area away from pets .
  • If using essential oils on your pet, always dilute with a carrier oil; never use at 100% strength.
  • If your pet ingests oils, call us immediately.

Used properly, essential oils can have benefits for people and for our animal friends. If you have questions about essential oil use or would like more information, please give us a call.