“Can You Recommend Any Pet Safe Essential Oils?”
By Caryn Gehlmann
A question we, at e3, often get asked is, “Can you recommend any pet-safe essential oils?” We love our pets and safety is important. And as this question implies, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the effective and safe usage of essential oils for animals.
So to help you figure out if pet-safe essential oils are right for you and your pet, I want to introduce you to someone that’s at the top of my list when I want to talk about the pros and cons of aromatherapy for animals, Jill Barker. Jill’s experience is in energetic bodywork, neuromuscular re-patterning, and injury recovery. She has found aromatherapy to be an amazing therapeutic tool, allowing both humans and animals to heal and rebuild a healthy balanced state of being.
Tell us about your background and experience with essential oils.
I’ve been a massage therapist and bodyworker for many years. Around 15 years ago, I began doing bodywork on horses in collaboration with a former Olympic trainer. This was also around the time that I initially connected with Caryn from e3 and started to explore the use of essential oils in my work with horses.
Can you give us a few examples of how you use essential oils when working with animals?
Geranium is one of my favorite essential oils to use with dogs, horses, and other livestock. I use aromatherapy to connect with an animal and many times I find the gentle energy of Geranium brings a feeling of calm. It gets the attention of the animal without pushing or demanding it.
I often turn to Eucalyptus Radiata when working with a dog or horse that is rigid, resistant, or acting out because it’s fearful. This can be active aggression like biting, kicking, posturing, or an adamant refusal to drop the defensive position. Using this essential oil helps the animal let down its guard and be more available to cooperate with you.
With both of these essential oils, there’s the need to be extremely patient. You always want to let the animal you’re helping unfold at a pace they’re comfortable with. You need to also remember that animals have a heightened sense of smell.
When using essential oils or hydrosols with your animal, there’s the need to be extremely patient. You always want to let the animal you’re helping unfold at a pace they’re comfortable with. You need to also remember that animals have a heightened sense of smell so less is more.
Usually, I begin by unscrewing the bottle but leaving the cap in place. This allows the essential oil molecules to slowly drift into the air. When I see a positive response, such as a relaxation of muscle tension, a shift in posture, or a change in the breathing pattern, then I remove the cap to allow more essential oil molecules to saturate the air. Next, I gently move the bottle back and forth in a sweeping motion between me and the animal.
What safety recommendations do you have for consumers who want to purchase “pet safe essential oils”?
The first thing pet owners and animal lovers need to understand is that there are many unknowns when it comes to safely using essential oils on animals. Research isn’t standardized and this field is currently unregulated. However, the following recommendations can help you make good choices for the health and wellbeing of your pet:
- Remember, each animal has a unique medical history, personality, as well as likes and dislikes.
- Do your research and talk to your vet. Researching online can be challenging because you’ll find contradictory information. However, I’ve found the book, “Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals,” by Kristen Leigh Bell, to be a good starting point for research.
- Consult your veterinarian before using with pregnant or nursing animals, or exotic pets.
Don’t trap your animal with a scent. This is true, even if you’re not intentionally using essential oils on your animal. For example, if you have a diffuser running, you want to make sure your pet can leave the room if the scent doesn’t agree with them!
- Never use essential oils for birds, amphibians, or aquatic animals.
Less is more and never have your pet ingest essential oils. And don’t forget if you apply it to a part of their body that they lick, that means they could ingest the oils that way!
- Make sure that you’re buying pure, quality-tested essential oils from a reputable source.
Thanks, Jill for helping us understand the safe and cautious approach to introducing pet safe essential oils to our beloved pets. Please give us your feedback and join us on Facebook, we’d love to see a photo of you with your pet!
Psst… we have a new product in the works for you to use with your pets! Make sure you’re signed up for e3’s newsletter so we can update you when it’s ready.