Are Essential Oils Safe to Use Around Animals? What Every Pet Owner Needs to Know
At Woolzies, we love our animals. They bring unconditional love, joy, and fun to our lives. We do all we can to care for them and support their well-being.
However, what's good for you may not be healthy for your four-legged friends!
Keep reading as we explore whether essential oils are safe to use around pets. If you have a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, fish, guinea pig, or hamster – this article will help.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Pets?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions, but the answer isn't as simple as we'd like...
Yes, certain essential oils, when used correctly and with caution, are safe around some animals.
Many pets – especially dogs, cats, rabbits, and rodents – have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. While diffusing a blend of essential oils in the living room is enjoyable for you, there is a chance your pet may become overwhelmed and unwell.
Using Essential Oils Safely with Pets
Essential oils are useful for pets – but there are a couple of rules you should be aware of before you start.
First off, don't use essential oils near puppies, kittens, caged animals, reptiles, birds, and aquariums. Next, never administer essential oils to pets orally, and be careful using homemade cleaning products around the house. If essential oils get onto their paws or fur, they may ingest the oil.
Finally, only use therapeutic-grade essential oils that are 100% pure – Woolzies essential oils tick all boxes.
So, how do you use essential oils around pets?
Using essential oils aromatically may offer immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, bug-repelling, and calming benefits to your pets.
However, this must be done carefully as their sense of smell is a thousand times more sensitive than yours.
Add just 1 drop of essential oil to your diffuser along with 150 ml of water. Let it run for 5-10 minutes to gauge how your pet responds. Ensure the area is well-ventilated and that your animal can leave the room if they are bothered by the scent.
If there is no unusual change in breathing or behavior, you can diffuse oils for a maximum of 30 minutes at a time. Introduce one essential oil at a time and never use a blend of oils around animals.
Safety Note: Keep your diffuser out of reach of pets as there is a risk of them knocking it over and ingesting the oils.
Apply Essential Oils Topically
You can apply essential oils topically to a pet's skin – but only in specific circumstances.
When used topically, essential oils must be well-diluted and only applied to the skin when necessary – like in the case of a rash, tick bite, or wound. Never apply to sensitive areas like the snout, eye area, or genitals.
A dilution rate of 1 drop per 2 tablespoons of carrier oil is appropriate for animals.
Animals clean their fur, which may result in accidentally ingesting the oils and triggering toxicity. So, we suggest putting a cone around your dog or cat's head to stop them from licking the oil.
Don't apply essential oils topically to very young, old, sick, or pregnant animals. They also shouldn't be applied to small animals like guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, or rats.
The Best Essential Oils for Animals
When using essential oils around animals, stick to gentle oils with subtle scents.
These are three of our favorite essential oils to use with pets:
Lavender is a calming oil with a gentle aroma that makes it great for humans and animals. It's ideal for animals with anxiety around loud noises, car rides1, or being left alone.
Next time fireworks go off in your neighborhood, try diffusing 1 drop of lavender oil in a well-ventilated room for 10-15 minutes.
If your pet is an anxious traveler, add a drop of (diluted) lavender oil to a cotton ball and keep it in the car during the trip.
Chamomile has a subtle aroma and soothing properties. It's one of the safest oils for animals with itchy skin, insect bites, sore paws, and burns.
Add 1-2 drops of Roman chamomile oil to 2 tablespoons of almond oil and rub some of this onto your pet's skin to relieve inflammation and itching.
Do your furry family members struggle with fleas?
The scent of rosemary essential oil keeps fleas, ticks, and other insects from making themselves at home on your pet. It may bring a healthy shine to their coat! Try adding 1 drop of rosemary oil to your pet’s shampoo and lathering up their fur before rinsing it off well.
But keep in mind that every animal has their own biochemical makeup. Take note of their behavior and adjust the oils you use based on what they can tolerate.
Essential Oils to Avoid Around Animals
We recommend avoiding essential oils with pungent aromas around animals. For example, research shows that using undiluted tea tree2 on dogs and cats may cause:
● Increased salivation
● Central nervous system depression
● Impaired balance
Other oils to avoid around pets include:
● Ylang ylang
However, speak to your vet or a holistic animal aromatherapist if you have doubts.
Essential oils are safe to use around some pets – provided you follow the tips in this article and use them with care.
Have you used essential oils with your pets? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments!
Note: If your pet starts wheezing or acting differently, contact the ASPCA 24 hour pet poison helpline at (888) 426-4435. Alternatively, take them to the vet immediately.
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