Using essential oils for pets can help get rid of bad odors, boost your pet's immune system, prevent yeast and mold growth, and repel insects. You may also be able to treat mild ailments, such as skin inflammations, itchy skin, rashes, bad breath, flatulence, and motion sickness.
When using essential oils for pets, remember that animals have a much more acute sense of smell than you do, and some pets may react badly to essential oils.
Use a mild blend at first and observe the results. Tearing eyes, sneezing, pacing, or whining are all signs that your pet finds the scent overwhelming. Dogs or horses may rub their head on the ground and cats may excessively lick themselves to escape the smell.
This article looks at aromatherapy and cats and essential oils for horses. For dogs, see this dog aromatherapy article.
To say that using essential oils on or around cats is controversial
is putting it mildly. Some people believe you shouldn't even diffuse
essential oils around cats.
The concern arises because some essential oils may be toxic to cats, in particular oils containing phenols or benzyl alcohols. Because cats don't metabolize those substances well, they may cause liver damage.
However, aromatherapy expert Robert Tisserand thinks this concern is overstated, writing, "Cats are quite susceptible to toxicity from nutmeg oil and tea tree oil. But, a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat."
An article in Animal Wellness
that solicited the opinions of several aromatherapy experts concluded,
"Exercise caution and watch your kitty for subtle changes in behavior
and/or a lack of energy."
Here are the two biggest precautions you can take:
If you are still concerned about using essential oils with cats, consider using hydrosols instead. A cat’s liver can properly process hydrosols, according to Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals.
Horse professionals are using essential oils for horses. In Scented Horses, aromatherapist Catherine Bird offers the following guidelines for safely using aromatherapy with horses:
Bird lists these essential oils for a basic kit for horses:
Books for more information about essential oils for pets:
Essential Oils for Natural Pet Care: A Veterinarian's Desk Reference for the Top Health Concerns of Cats, Dogs & Horses
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