Essential oils are potent medicines that still can be quite subtle in their effect. Many people are now becoming aware of the benefits of essential oils for themselves and want to use them on their non-human family members as well.
While essential oils are awesome medicine, they are certainly powerful enough that they can cause negative effects if not used properly. Here are my top three pointers for using essential oils with your furkids:
- Choose wisely
Many brands of essential oils are poor quality. What this means practically is that the oil may be diluted and not terribly potent in the best case scenarios, or it may be made from less than optimal plants or with less than ideal processing methods. In these scenarios the plants may have pesticides on them (which naturally end up conentrated in the oil), or there may be chemicals used in the distillation process that end up in the final product. Because of this, there are only three brands I can recommend for use on anyeone, but especially pets since they are much more sensitive to these things than we are. I recommend using doTERRA, Young Living, or Original Swiss. There may be other, smaller companies that produce good quality oils, but these are the three I can recommend with no hesitation.
2. Always dilute
There are certain times I may recommend using oils undiluted, but I never recommend doing that unless you are working directly under the supervision of a knowledgeable veterinarian. Oils are very powerful and different individuals have different tolerance levels. My general rule for dilution is to use a maximum of 40 drops of oil per one ounce of carrier oil (such as sweet almond or coconut oil).
3. Careful with kitties!
I do not work much with birds or other exotics, and I suspect the same thing may apply to them, but if you want to use oils with your exotics, please find a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about them and essential oils before using them. They are so sensitive!
I work primarily with cats, dogs, horses, and other large animals. Among these species, dogs and large animals are relatively forgiving with their body’s ability to process oils safely. Cats, on the other hand, are quite sensitive. Their livers do not process some compounds as easily as dogs, large animals, and humans do. Generally speaking, pure, therapeutic grade essential oils are fairly safe with cats, however I always recommend using caution with tea tree, eucalyptus, and other similar oils. In fact, I don’t recommend using the more typically toxic oils on cats at all unless under direct veterinary supervision or in a product like Bug Off! that was specifically designed by a veterinarian. Remember to always use oil products for cats according to the directions.
Always dilute with cats. I can not think of a time when I have ever recommended using undiluted oils with a cat, except for some very safe oils used in a room diffuser.
Those are the top three essential oil tips, have questions? Email me! I love blogging, especially when I know it’s answering my tribe’s questions.
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