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The more I use essential oils, the more I realize how versatile they are. I diffuse them to freshen the house, for skin care, daily health, and now we’ve started using essential oils with our dog.
Yes, you can use essential oils for pet care!
Essential Oils for Pets: The Basics
Animals are much more sensitive to essential oils and they react to them very quickly. In most cases (except things like first aid) diffusing is more than enough. Never add oils to your pet’s food or treats.
A note about cats: Cats especially are highly sensitive to essential oils — I would skip topical application altogether and use hydrosols instead (see below for more information about hydrosols).
Also, if you are diffusing, make sure it’s in an area away from your cat. Cats cannot metabolize essential oils (even the air-borne particles released when diffusing).
If you are applying oils topically (something that should only be done rarely), only small amounts are necessary. Like people, the smaller the animal, the less oil and the more dilution is necessary.
Also, care should be taken when applying oils to the paws. For those beginning topical application with animals, it’s better to mix the carrier oil and essential oil, rub it in your hands then smooth it along your pet’s coat.
And definitely, avoid using “hot” oils like Oregano or Clove.
A topical application should be saved for those times when it is necessary – it shouldn’t be a regular occurrence. Topical application is appropriate in these instances:
flea treatment (essential oils on collars work as a repellant)
first aid (bruises, strains, small injuries)
Essential Oil Dilution for Pets
Depending on the size of the animal, more or less dilution is necessary. And, when you are just starting, dilute heavily and watch your pet for reactions.
Here are the basic guidelines for essential oil dilution for pets:
1% dilution (1 drop to 1 teaspoon carrier oil) for emotional issues.
2-3% dilution (2-3 drops to 1 teaspoon carrier oil) for physical issues.
Best Essential Oils for Pets
FYI – affiliate links below!
We don’t use many oils topically on pets, but there are some that come in handy for basic first aid.
With just six essential oils you can be ready for all your animal first aid needs (not cats!):
- Helichrysum – swelling, bruising, antiseptic for injuries
- Lavender – insect bites, burns, and soothing & calming
- Peppermint & Ginger – digestive issues
- Lemongrass & Citronella – insect repellant
Like you would for yourself or your family, it’s important to use high-quality oils, start slowly, dilute heavily, and watch for any reactions.
Hydrosols are a Better Option
While essential oils are useful for animal care, hydrosols are a safer, more gentle option.
Wonder what a hydrosol is? It’s what remains after an essential oil has been distilled – the water and trace elements of essential oil.
Related: All about Hydrosols
While you have to be very cautious with essential oils, less care is needed with hydrosols. You can apply them topically and even add them to your pet’s water.
And they are the best option for your feline friends. Here are some useful hydrosols to keep on-hand for pet care:
- Helichrysum – it’s safe to use on pets when skin issues arise. For sore muscles, reddened skin, or bites from pesky summer bugs this hydrosol can relieve and reduce the irritation.
- Lavender – use this incredible hydrosol for skin issues, especially on skin that has been overexposed to the sun.
- Peppermint – it’s known for its cooling properties that are invigorating and refreshing and can help soothe digestive discomfort.
If you want a deeper understanding of what’s best for pets – purchase this book: Essential Oils for Animals.
An Introduction to Essential Oils
Best Essential Oils for Babies