Essential Oils and Pets: 10 Safety and Usage Tips

Essential Oils and Pets- 10 Safety and Usage Tips

I’ve had a lot of people in our Oil Moxie group contact me with questions regarding essential oils and pets. Although I’m not an expert, I do have two dogs that we diffuse around daily and apply essential oils to throughout the week. I have also spent a significant amount of time reading about the safe use of essential oils on animals. I summarized what I think are 10 of the most important essential oils pet safety and usage tips (for dogs and cats). As with everything on this blog, please use the below information to spark further research. :)

Here we go! 10 super important essential oil tips for pets!

Tip # 1. Because animals cannot tell us if they are experiencing discomfort, never do anything to your pet that you have not done to yourself or that you wouldn’t do to a baby. For example, essential oils are not meant for use in the eye or ear canal of a human – this same rule holds true for animals.

Tip # 2. Our furry friends often weigh a fraction of what we weigh. If one drop of Lavender can soothe the skin of a 160 pound person, it will take MUCH less Lavender to ease the skin of a small 10 pound cat or dog – 6/100th of a drop to be exact! Therefore, use the least amount of essential oil possible on your pet and dilute, dilute, dilute! If your pet is the size of a baby or a small child, dilute the essential oil just as you would if you were going to use it on a baby or a small child (1-2 drops in at least 1/2-1 teaspoon of carrier oil). Be conservative when applying essential oils to an animal and don’t be afraid to use carrier oil. You can always use more essential oil, but you can never take it away.

Tip # 3. Despite what you may have seen elsewhere, do not apply essential oils to your pets’ paws. Human feet and animal paws are not the same. Although some pets tolerate essential oils on their paws quite well, others do not and they can become VERY uncomfortable. The risk of discomfort to your pet does not outweigh the potential benefit. Instead, apply essential oils to your pet by petting them. Petting is highly effective, better tolerated, and a much easier application method. Read below for more detail on the “why” when it comes to steering clear of your pets’ paw.

  • Our furry companions are constantly absorbing toxic chemicals through their paws – think floor cleaners, carpet deodorizers, kitty litter scents, hair product residue, fabric softeners on blankets, fertilizers, weed killers, snow and ice melt, air fresheners, pollution, and other environmental toxins. Purging these toxins from your pet’s body can be highly beneficial and essential oils can initiate a cleansing event. However, when essential oils are applied to the paws of an animal, we can create a highly concentrated and very rapid detoxification. This can be very uncomfortable to your pet and can cause itching, inflammation, redness, and pain. These adverse reactions may be difficult to recognize because the paws are covered in fur.
  • Unlike humans, animals (specifically, cats and dogs) mainly only have sweat glands on their feet. Just as a human wouldn’t apply an essential oil (especially a hot oil) to their armpit, do not apply an essential oil to an animal’s paw. Although the paw of an animal feels tougher than the skin of a human armpit, the paw can still be highly sensitive.

Tip # 4. If your pet is extra furry, don’t worry! It is not necessary to get the oil directly onto your pet’s skin for it to be effective. Hair follicles actually aid in the absorption of essential oils. Therefore, petting the essential oil onto your pet will still allow for the oil to be absorbed into the animal.

Tip # 5. Keep an eye on your pet after applying oils to their fur and while diffusing essential oils in your home. If your pet negatively changes its’ behavior or begins to acts strange, do not reapply or expose your pet to more or another essential oil at that time. Never correct an “oil problem” with another essential oil as it may create additional discomfort.  If you ever suspect discomfort at the location of oil application, do not rinse with water (as this will drive the oil deeper into the tissue). Instead, dilute the area with a carrier oil (Young Living’s V-6 oil, coconut oil, or olive oil).

Tip # 6. Tea Tree oil (or Melaleuca Alternifolia) may be toxic and deadly to cats. Therefore, do not use or diffuse Tea Tree, or blends containing Tea Tree oil (such as, Purification and Melrose) on or around cats. The risk far exceeds any potential benefit (especially when there are so many other oils you can use). Reserve these oils for use on yourself and your family and use other oils on and around your cats.

Tip # 7. Do not lock your pet in a room while the diffuser is running. Instead, allow your pet to roam freely throughout the house while diffusing essential oils. Your pet will likely move to another room if they are not enjoying the scent or are having a difficult time tolerating the essential oil.

Tip # 8. As beneficial as essential oils can be to an animal, be sure to allow your pet periods of time during the day that are free from essential oils (cats can actually develop liver toxicity from overuse of essential oils). As with anything, balance and moderation is key. You don’t have to be fearful. Simply be cautious and use your oils conservatively (especially when you first start).

Tip # 9. NEVER use low quality or adulterated essential oils on or around animals (as it can be dangerous and toxic). When used correctly, Young Living essential oils are safe to use on pets and can offer amazing health enhancing benefits.

Tip # 10. Do what professionals have already proven to be effective and safe and ALWAYS refer to a reference guide! You can learn where to purchase a reference guide here. Lastly, seek out a veterinarian for serious issues or when in doubt over pet oiling safety.

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1. Reference Guide for Essential Oils (2013) by Connie and Alan Higley.

2. Essential Oils Desk Reference (Sixth Edition) by Life Science Publishing.

3. AnimalEO by Melissa Shelton, DMV:

4. Applying Oils to Animals:

5. Quite possibly, I have answered this question over a thousand times! No matter how many times I answer it, tomorrow it will be presented yet again! It is time to document my “long answer” in a newsletter!

6.Basic Rules for Using Essential Oils In Animals (Remember…Humans are Animals Too!):

7. Burning Frankincense Resinhas been performed for thousands of years…

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DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is based upon my research and personal use of Young Living essential oils. The statements made and the products mentioned on this website have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please read the full disclaimer here.

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