Maybe you enjoy starting your mornings with a burst of peppermint essential oil and winding down in the evenings with the calming scent of lavender. But as a responsible pet parent, you might be wondering about the safety of using essential oils around your furry friends. Which essential oils are safe for diffusing around pets? Can essential oils help calm anxious pets? In this guide, we’ll explore the world of pet-safe essential oils for diffusers based on expert advice.
The Power of Aromatherapy for Pets
Pure essential oils have more to offer than just pleasant scents. They possess medicinal qualities and health benefits for both humans and animals. However, it’s important to note that our pets are much more sensitive to smells than we are. Certain essential oils, like clove and pennyroyal, can be dangerous to our furry companions. There are also specific precautions to take, such as avoiding direct contact with your pet’s skin and refraining from diffusing citrus oils around cats. These warnings might make you hesitant to use essential oil diffusers altogether.
The Expert’s Advice
To delve deeper into the safe use of essential oils around pets, we spoke with two professionals in the field: Dr. Jeffrey Levy, a holistic veterinarian known as “Dr. Jeff,” and Malissa Conti-Diene, a pet consultant, educator, and groomer. Both experts have extensive experience using essential oils in their work with animals and emphasize the importance of understanding our pets’ heightened sense of smell.
Understanding Pets’ Sense of Smell
Animals rely heavily on their sense of smell to explore and understand the world around them. Dr. Jeff explains that animals have a significant portion of their nasal passages and brain dedicated to olfactory functions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that aromatherapy can be beneficial in addressing their medical needs. However, we must be cautious not to overwhelm our pets with strong scents, as their sense of smell is far more powerful than ours.
The Role of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy, also known as essential oil therapy, harnesses the power of scents to influence our mood and well-being. Just like how certain smells can trigger hunger or evoke specific memories, aromatherapy has been used for holistic healing. Essential oils are plant-based extracts with healing properties that interact with the molecules in our bodies. However, it’s crucial to remember that our pets have a different biological makeup, and scents that we barely notice can be overwhelming and even harmful to them.
Diffusing with Care
The good news is that you can still enjoy the benefits of diffusing healing essential oils around your pets by following a few guidelines. Dr. Jeff often uses lavender essential oil to promote relaxation in anxious animals. He places tiny needles in acupuncture points associated with the Yin meridians and recommends using lavender oil in the form of diffusers, cloths, or cotton balls. Malissa advises pet parents to run their diffusers for approximately one hour in the morning and, if desired, before bedtime. It’s crucial to place the diffuser away from your pet’s favorite spots to prevent overexposure to the scent. One hour a day is sufficient, especially for cats, as they groom themselves extensively.
Using Essential Oils Topically
If you prefer to apply essential oils topically to your pet, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil to protect their skin from potential irritation. Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil are excellent choices for dilution. The amount of dilution depends on your pet’s age and size, and it’s better to start with a higher dilution and monitor for any adverse reactions. Remember, pets should never ingest essential oils, so be cautious when using them topically.
Essential Oils to Avoid
Certain essential oils are toxic to pets and should be avoided. For example, cats lack an enzyme necessary to break down citrus oils, and they can experience symptoms such as heavy panting, drooling, vomiting, lethargy, or wooziness. Dogs and cats have overlapping lists of essential oils that can be harmful, including pennyroyal, peppermint oil, cinnamon, and tea tree oil. However, it’s important to note that individual pets may react differently, so it’s crucial to observe your pet’s response to each oil.
Pet-Safe Essential Oils for Diffusers
Safe essential oils for diffusing around dogs include myrrh, frankincense, chamomile, lavender oil, ginger, and rosemary. Cats can safely be exposed to frankincense, lavender oil, and chamomile. If you’re using pre-made blends, make sure to review the ingredients and ensure that they do not contain any dangerous oils. When diffusing essential oils, always ensure that your pet has an escape route if the scent becomes overwhelming. It’s also important to explore other methods to help your pet deal with anxiety or other issues and familiarize yourself with the signs of essential oil poisoning.
Signs of Oil Toxicity in Pets
Essential oil poisoning can occur in pets, and it’s essential to recognize the signs and take immediate action. Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include drooling, difficulty breathing, weakness, trouble walking, vomiting, liver damage, and skin irritation. If your pet displays any of these symptoms, call the ASPCA pet poison helpline and seek professional assistance. Essential oils are potent substances and should be used with caution around pets.
Conclusion: Pet-Safe Aromatherapy for Happy Pets
When used responsibly, essential oils can provide holistic benefits and contribute to our pets’ well-being. Always consult with a veterinarian or pet aromatherapist for guidance on using pure essential oils with your pets. Remember to diffuse with care, ensure proper dilution for topical use, and be aware of any essential oils that may be toxic to your specific pet. With a holistic approach and expert advice, you can safely incorporate the benefits of aromatherapy into your pet’s life.