Is Fido feeling anxious or having trouble with fleas or ticks? Maybe Felix is having urinary trouble or skin irritation. Why not try essential oils? Essential oils offer many of the same benefits for pets as they do for humans, but we do take additional precautions since many pets can be more sensitive to certain oils.
In a recent online webinar, Silver Wellness Advocate Natalie Daggerhart, who is also a vet tech and works for a holistic pet food company, shared her insights and experience regarding the topic of dōTERRA essential oils for pets. I invite you to watch the recording.
It’s important to start with a healthy foundation for pets, including:
- A high-quality diet with little or no grains and high protein. You can find out more about pet nutrition at dogfoodadvisor.com or naturalcatcareblog.com.
- Plenty of water – important for all pets, especially cats
- Nutritional supplements (just as important for pets as they are for humans)
- At least 30 minutes of exercise per day
- Reducing toxic load, including safer grooming products and household cleaning products
When introducing pets to new oils, remember that their sense of smell is much more sensitive than ours. You might first observe the animal’s reaction by opening the bottle in the same room or wearing it on yourself.
The same three methods of using oils for people apply to animals as well:
- Aromatically – diffusing the oils helps fight threats in the air, opens airways, and affects mood
- Topically – applying the oils to a pet’s feet, ears, chest, or neck helps to address specific areas of concern, including pain and other troubled spots
- Internally (specific to dōTERRA essential oils only) – add one drop or toothpick swirl per liter to drinking water to improve digestive health, immune support, and oral health
Dogs can respond well to and benefit from many essential oils, but you’ll want to use them with higher dilution and caution due to their sensitive sense of smell and smaller body size. A safe recommendation for dilution would be:
- Small dog = 1-2 drops / 10mL carrier oil
- Medium dog = 2-5 drops / 10 mL carrier oil
- Large dog = 3-7 drops / 10 mL carrier oil
Always allow dogs a way to leave the room when you are diffusing oils, and avoid applying oils to sensitive organs and areas, especially the face and eyes. Oils to avoid using on dogs include: Wintergreen (and blends containing it), and products with Xylitol (OnGuard toothpaste, OnGuard and Peppermint Beadlets, and Slim & Sassy Gum and Trimshake). Oils to use with caution around dogs include: Melaleuca, Roman Chamomile, Breathe, Purify, HD Clear, and Correct X. Always remember to dilute hot oils, including Cinnamon, Cassia, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme.
A few of the most beneficial oils for dogs include:
- Balance & Serenity – for calming anxious feelings and excited behavior, as well as neurological support
- On Guard – for immune support and oral health, as well as spider and snake bites (on your way to the vet, of course)
- DigestZen – for upset stomach and parasites
- Peppermint – for respiratory support, digestive support, aches and pains, cooling on hot days, and in a homemade toothpaste
- Lavender – for skin support, bug bites and stings, seasonal threats, around the eyes, lumps and bumps, calming, and for aches and pains
- Helichrysum – for bleeding (especially when cutting nails), skin irritation, ligament support, and muscle/bone/joint support
- Lemon – for immune support and a nail strengthener
- Geranium – for skin health, reducing stress, urinary support, and as a natural bug repellent
- Frankincense – for neurological support, inflammatory support, cellular support, skin support, aches and pains (with Lavender and Peppermint), immune support, and respiratory support
- TerraShield & Lemongrass – for bug repellent
- AromaTouch – for circulation, relaxation, and achy muscles or joints
- Melaleuca (be sure to dilute heavily) or Arborvitae – for skin irritation, earache, and ringworm
Cats metabolize oils much differently from any other species because they are missing a certain enzyme in their bodies, which makes them intolerant to some compounds and also makes any oils stay longer in their bodies. One idea that works well for cats is to pour some Fractionated Coconut Oil into an empty bottle of Frankincense, or whatever oil you want to apply so that they’re only getting trace amounts of the essential oil. In general, essential oils should be diluted at least 1 drop per 2 tablespoons of carrier oil.
Oils to avoid for cats include: Melaleuca, Citrus oils, Wintergreen (and blends containing it) and any oils high in phenols or ketones. Remember not to diffuse oils near their litter or food, and internal use of essential oils is not recommended for cats. Some vets recommend trying single oils on cats before attempting to use blends to be sure your cat can tolerate them.
A few of the most beneficial essential oils for cats include:
- Myrrh – cleansing, mouth and throat health, skin support, and emotional balance
- Lavender – soothing skin, relaxing
- Frankincense – cellular function, relaxing mood
- Helichrysum – healthy metabolism, skin support
- DigestZen – road trip, stomach discomfort
- Balance – anxious feelings, car rides
- On Guard – immune support
- Juniper Berry – kidney and urinary health
- TerraShield – bug repellent
- Arborvitae – immune support
Smaller, “pocket pets” can use essential oils too! Typically, they are more sensitive to them just like cats can be. Be sure to use a water misting diffuser when diffusing around pocket pets like rabbits or hamsters.
A few oils that can help smaller pets include:
- DigestZen – digestive issues
- Breathe – respiratory issues and open airways
- Lemon – in their water (dilute 1 drop/liter)
It’s important to be cautious with essential oils around birds, which can be very sensitive to the smell. Use mist diffusers, but not too close to birds, and monitor them closely when diffusing a new oil. Balance can be a helpful oil for birds. Apply to the perch or feet to calm anxious birds.
A few closing tips as you take care of your furry and feathered friends:
- Use common sense
- Use a reference guide to help you. One we recommend is called SpOIL your Pet by Mia Frezzo and Jan Jeremias
- Use fewer drops, more often
Please let us know if you have any questions or other successful testimonials about how essential oils have helped your pet’s health and wellness. We’d love to hear from you!