Essential oils. What are they?
Essential oils are compounds that come from parts of various plants. The plants are distilled or otherwise broken down to the oils that are considered essential oils.
Each plant has unique properties that may have therapeutic effects on the individual using them. They can be used aromatically (inhaled), topically (on the skin) or internally depending on the oil and the purpose it’s being used. They’re usually combined with a carrier oil like olive oil or vegetable oil for dilution and ease of use.
Humans have been using them more or less forever; before recognized medicine as we know it now. But recently, they have grown in popularity. People have been finding more and more ways to benefit from them and have started trying them on their pets.
How can pets benefit from essential oils?
In general, pets can benefit from essential oils in the same ways as humans. But the body of each species uses them a bit differently. They might be more or less sensitive to a certain oil. Or, more importantly, they might have negative reactions or suffer problems from some oils.
As with most holistic approaches, you’ll want to check with your vet to be sure there aren’t any possible negative effects with using these oils. If you decide to use essential oils, you should always allow an animal to refuse. They’ll know if the particular oil you are considering feels right to them.
These are some good ones to have on hand for your dog. This list is far from complete, but these are some of the most popular oils people like to use. We like lavender, frankincense and spearming for ours.
Lavender – calming and relaxation
Helichrysum – antiseptic, anxiety reduction
Cedarwood – repelling insects and cleaning wounds
Lemon – anti-arthritic, anti-fungal
Frankincense – immune system strengthening, possible cancer treatment
Spearmint – digestive issues
Lemongrass – insect repellent
Citronella – insect repellent
Are much more sensitive to oils and their bodies process them differently. You have to use extra caution, but there are a few that can help. In general, any oils used for cats should be very diluted and you need to watch for signs of problems. You could see behavior changes, digestive issues or confusion. Our cats are mostly outside chasing critters, but we do use lavender on them sometimes.
A few examples of popular oils are:
Lavender – anxiety, calming
Frankincense – antiseptic, anti inflammatory, digestive
Cedarwood – for repelling insects like fleas
Horses can benefit from essential oils too. Once again, lavender is our favorite for our horses. Some of the more popular oils for horses are:
Lavender – skin healing, anxiety
Yarrow – anti-inflammatory,
Helichrysum – skin, bruises
Lemon – immune system, kidneys
Carrotseed – skin, anti-bleeding
Are essential oils worth it?
Having used them for ten years or so, I think they are. You definitely have to use caution and get educated about each species and the oils you’re considering. There ARE some negative effects if you don’t make sure you are using a safe option in the best way. As I said before, you should talk to your vet to be sure.
Therapeutic grade essential oils have the best value. They might be a bit more expensive, but the quality and effectiveness outweighs the small savings you might find.
That being said, we’ve used many of these on our animals. Since we’ve seen some great benefits for our dogs and horses, we have been learning more and more.
Read some of my other posts about alternative health Pet healthcare; traditional or alternative or A pet chiropractor can help your pet. Here’s how. There are also many great articles online. Young Living has been a great source of quality essentials for us.
I’d love to hear about your experiences or your questions regarding essential oils and your pets. Comment below!