Despite having natural plant origins, Essential Oils are not always entirely safe for use on or around pets, and each Essential Oil that is considered to be relatively “safe” should also be used with extreme care. If using Essential Oils, whether applying them topically or diffusing them throughout a room to promote sleep, immune function, relaxation, or for any other mental or physical improvement, ensure that thorough research is conducted regarding their benefits and side effects, especially when using them in pet care.
Pets, especially dogs and cats, have a heightened, more sensitive sense of smell compared to humans, thus many fragrances are potential irritants for them – similar to a person sitting next to someone whose cologne or perfume has an overpowering scent that inadvertently causes the feeling of being physically unwell – that could cause respiratory issues, skin reactions, allergies, and other consequences listed further down in this article; hence, many reports caution against using Essential Oils on pets younger than 10 weeks, while others suggest avoiding their use on all small pets, and still others suggest avoiding Essential Oils entirely for all pets, as topical products penetrate more easily through their sensitive skin as well as through their hair follicles. Furthermore, Essential Oils could potentially have harmful effects on their especially vulnerable chemosensory and nervous systems as well as on their immune, respiratory, and metabolic functions. For pet parents who would still like to use Essential Oils on pets, it is said that Hydrosols are a far superior choice in terms of safety, but these should also be avoided with particular pets, even in minute amounts.
It is of utmost importance to consult with a veterinarian before using Essential Oils on or near pets. In addition to this consultation, it is highly recommended to receive supplementary advice from a certified recognized, and reputable expert, such as an Animal Aromatherapist. In general, seek information from educated, impartial, and trustworthy sources. The combined expertise will help pet parents make well-educated decisions for the wellness of their pets as well as for the rest of the family. Essential Oils that seem not to have a harmful effect on one type of pet could have a distinctly opposite impact on the wellbeing of a different pet – so, even if your dog has a positive response to oil, this does not mean the same oil should also be used on your cat, as cats have a greater number of stomach-related sensitivities in contrast with dogs.
It is also important to choose the safest variety of any given Essential Oil, as some varieties exhibit stronger properties that may be harmful compared to other, relatively milder varieties. This is where it would be highly beneficial to know the Latin botanical name of the markedly “safe” variety. Each Essential Oil exhibits diverse properties – even two oils from the same botanical, such as a “Leaf Oil” versus a “Bark Oil” can have vastly different effects on the pet’s body and on its senses. Not all Essential Oils will carry the same safeness as those that are widely used and believed to be safe for use on other pets or on humans, and those that are categorized as safe should still be handled with stringent safety measures.
When Essential Oils are introduced to the pet’s environment, the area in which it is used should be an open area with easy access to fresh air and from which the pet is free to leave. Essential Oils should be introduced one at a time in low doses in order to make it easy to spot the culprit in case of a potential allergic reaction. Keep a close eye on your pet when using Essential Oils on or around them, even if the Essential Oil is used on yourself, especially if you know you will be making physical contact with your pet. Any potential reactions could be experienced within the first 30 minutes of application, whether diffused or applied to the skin, or they can appear 24 hours after application. If your pet appears to be uncomfortable, anxious, or otherwise distressed or lethargic after the environment has been infused with an Essential Oil, immediately refrain from using this oil, remove the pet from this environment, take it to an area that is well-ventilated, and contact a veterinarian. Avoid topical application or diffusion of Essential Oils on or near caged pets, such as birds and rodents, as their confined spaces do not allow for an easy out if they become uncomfortable.
Always select Essential Oils that are 100% pure and, whenever possible, select ones that are Certified Organic to avoid exposure to harmful chemicals that could sometimes be used in the cultivation of the source botanical. Do not attempt to feed pets any Essential Oils or Carrier Oils.
Read on to learn more about the effects of Essential Oils on the most common house pets and to learn about their effects on various pet health problems.
Credit to New directions aromatics