Essential oils and pet safety
Essential oils are known to do wonders for both humans and pets alike. They are vastly potent in meeting the therapeutically and grooming needs of pets. From cheering up their blur days to calming them on their irritable ones, there is an essential oil for every need. The use of essential oils for pet’s lifestyle is rapidly increasing, but using them inappropriately may have disadvantages. It is important to research the oil you choose to utilize for your pet extensively.
How to choose the most suitable oil?
There is an essential oil for every need. Lavender for anxiety, frankincense for skin conditions etc.
Do your research: Research oils that have commonly been used to treat the pet in other cases before you make your pick.
Speak to an expert: Consult your vet before you start using it on your pet to learn about the dosage and any side effects that it may have.
Toxicity check: Make sure the oil is not toxic to your pet.
These are the common pet-friendly essential oils used for the following conditions
Lavender and clary sage- Helps with anxiety & depression.
Myrrh- It is anti-bacterial and can treat skin infections.
Spearmint- Helps to reduce weight.
Cardamom- It is anti-bacterial in nature and can ease heartburns.
Chamomile oil- This one is both anti-inflammatory and antiseptic and can be used to heal injuries.
Helichrysum- Primarily used for pain relief, but can also be used for other skin issues.
Neem- Neem oil is known to treat scabies in pets.
How to use essential oils safely?
Using essential oils safely is crucial in bringing out maximum effects and avoiding poisoning. Here are a few ways to use these oils safely around your pets.
Diffuser- The best way to use essential oils around pets would be through a diffuser. Mix the oil you choose to use with a carrier which is an oil eg.almond oil, coconut oil (which are harmless to pets) and diffuse it. Make sure the room is well aerated. It is important to remember pets are more sensitive to smell than humans, so what is normal to us could be overpowering to them. The key is to remember to keep it simple. Diffusers can be used with all pets. Smaller pets like cats and birds though will need a much more diluted oil compared to large pets.
Mists- Mix the essential oil and carrier and spray it on your pet according to the dosage. Be cautious to not apply too much, spray over the infected area sparsely. This can be useful in fixing pet odor and treating other pet skin conditions.
Swabs- You could apply a swab of essential oil on the pet's collar or in the infected area. This has to be diluted much too.
Ingestion- Ingestion is not advisable for all pets. While bigger dogs and horses may not be harmed by this, with smaller animals like cats and birds may not be wise. Run it by a vet before use, and use a drop or two of extremely diluted oils if need be.
Topical use- For skin allergies/ pet odor etc., it would be more effective to apply the oil topically. Here again, dilute it enough where small pets are concerned.
Why are a few essential oils unsafe for pets?
Not all pets can metabolize the fragrance compounds, hence the compounds that are not broken up are a toxin to the body. Oils that are toxic to cats maybe safe to dogs. Like citrus oils which are unpleasant to cats and birds, work efficiently with dogs and horses. Here are few essential oils to avoid with pets. With cats, their liver does not adequately break down compounds such as phenols (winter grass, tea-tree), citrus (lemon, orange, grape), alpha-pinene ( rosemary, nutmeg). Hence it is essential to avoid these oil where cats are concerned.
With dogs, they store up toxins in their body when the liver is unable to break them down. Phenol compounds such as winter grass, thyme, cinnamon are problem areas for dogs and would be wise to avoid them.
With rats and hamsters, peppermint is a big NO! Peppermint plant is usually grown in areas where they want to keep rats away. Eucalyptus and citronella oils drive away these pets too.
Birds- Eucalyptus and tea tree oil are toxic to birds. The oil used must be extremely diluted when they are used with birds owing to their size. Citrus oils like lemon and orange are also unpleasant to birds.
Essential oils safety guidelines
Avoid using oils around newborn and pregnant pets.
Consult a vet before starting the use of essential oil on or around your pet.
Essential oil is the purest form of oil directly from the plant, hence it needs to be diluted extensively.
Not all essential oils are safe for consumption.
Avoid using oils around aged pets and pets with other health conditions.
Pets that are being treated by chemicals should stay away from essential oils.
Keep essential oils away from their reach. Do not apply it on the face, nose or bring it in contact with eyes.
Stick to the dosage, do not overuse the oil. Remember to keep it to a minimum.
When using a diffuser, use a well-ventilated room. Make sure your pet can leave when he feels the smell is unpleasant for him.
Observe your pet for 15-30 minutes after the essential oil has been used. Any symptoms that show up would show up by that window.
It is not unsafe to use essential oils for pets as long as it is used with caution and not misused. Research the oil you choose to use well and stick to the dosage. You don’t have to fear it going wrong as long as you stick to the rules. That said, enjoy the wonders of essential oil for your pet and bring about a healthy lifestyle.