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  • Anne-Marie

Essential Oils and your dog

I get asked a lot of questions about how to use essential oils with pets. For now, I have focused Oils for Paws on dogs, but essential oils can be used safely on lots of our domestic pets. There’s a lot of information out there on the internet. Like everything on the internet, some of the information is accurate and some, not so much.

Some essential oils are quite toxic to our pets so it’s worth knowing what you can use and what you can’t. Just like with food and some plants, the same goes for oils; what’s good for us, may not be good for our pets. You wouldn’t feed your dog chocolate, and the same goes for essential oils – we may respond well to a particular oil but your dog or cat may end up very ill or at worst, die from the toxicity. Similarly, some of the essential oils on the market are advertised as 100% when in fact they are not – they may have added products that make the oil harmful to not only your pet, but you.

Essential oils are what is known as a volatile oil. That just means they evaporate easily at ‘normal’ temperatures and it also gives them their aroma. A volatile oil is in simple terms an evaporative oil from a plant derivative. But just because it comes from a plant doesn’t always mean its safe to use.


So which oils are toxic?

Cats lack a particular enzyme that helps break down some of the compounds in some essential oils. Dogs have the enzyme, but some oils are still toxic to them.

Essential Oils to avoid or are toxic to Dogs (but not limited to):

· Anise

· Birch

· Cinnamon

· Citrus (including Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine)

· Clove

· Garlic

· Juniper

· Pennyroyal

· Pine

· Tea Tree

· Thyme

· Wintergreen

· Ylang Ylang

Essential Oils that are toxic to cats (but not limited to):

· Birch

· Cinnamon

· Citrus (including Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine)

· Clove

· Eucalyptus

· Oregano

· Pennyroyal

· Peppermint

· Pine

· Tea Tree

· Thyme

· Ylang Ylang

Oils for Paws currently only use a limited number of essential oils, from a trusted brand and all are always thoroughly diluted in a carrier oil – I usually use fractionated coconut oil because it is so good for our pet’s skin. The oils currently used include: Cedarwood, Chamomile, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Lavender, Spearmint and Vetiver. These have been chosen for their properties; healing, antibacterial, calming or aromatic quality. I stay away from the ‘hot’ oils including oregano and cassia. These oils feel hot on the skin, even on humans so our pets would not enjoy them either and they may not be broken down effectively.


Sources: https://essentialoilvet.com/ (Dr Janet Roark), https://www.doterra.com/US/en, www.petpoisonhelpline.com

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