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Essential Oils: Safe Use Around Pets

Have you recently noticed there have been several articles and Facebook posts popping up about essential oil toxicity in pets, so naturally, we have had many people asking us “Are essential oils safe to use if I have animals?” Essential oils can be used safely around your pets but they do metabolize oils differently so some extra precautions need to be taken. As an avid user of essential oils myself, I wanted to share a few tips for using essential oils safely around our furry friends.

Quality is key! Everyone knows the old adage “you get what you pay for”; well this is definitely true when dealing with essential oils. You want to make sure you are getting a pure, therapeutic grade oil that does not contain any additives, synthetics or artificial ingredients and are grown without exposure to pesticides and toxins. See how much information you can find about the company who makes them – the more the better.

Dilution is the solution to pollution! While it may be fine for us to smell essential oils right out of the bottle or apply them directly to our skin, animals are more sensitive. Using a water diffuser in your house is a great option just pay close attention to your pet to see how they react to dogs and cats have a much better sense of smell than we do. Scents that are enjoyable for us may be overwhelming or irritating for them to make sure your pets are able to leave the area.

If you are using essential oils specifically for your pets and are applying them onto their skin you should use a carrier oil (liquid coconut oil or olive oil work well) to dilute and slow down the absorption of the oil.

Contact with certain essential oils should be avoided and used with caution in diffusers due to their chemical properties.

The following charts lists oils to AVOID:

Dogs Only:
Anise
Yarrow
Juniper

Cats Only:
Basil
Juniper
Birch
Cinnamon
Eucalyptus
Fennel
Tea Tree/Melaleuca
Oregano
Peppermint
Citrus Oils

Dogs & Cats:
Clove
Thyme
Wintergreen

Remember that these are just the basics and just like us each animal is different; what may not bother one pet can affect another, especially if your pet has any underlying medical conditions. If you’re ever uncertain, it is always best to check with your veterinarian before using essential oils that may come into contact with your pet.

Written by Dr. Jennifer Hanmore

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