By Dr. Andrew Jones
Essential Oils For Pets
Thousands of people are safely, and effectively using essential oils for their families, with some wonderful results. Currently there is published research supporting the use of essential oils for anxiety, skin disease, gingivitis, fungal disease, resistant bacterial disease, pain management, cancer and dementia.
There is historical use of essential oils and healing for thousands of years, but more recently they became recognized in France. A French chemist in the early 1900’s applied lavender oil to a chemical burn; the wound healed faster, and it prevented secondary infection. Essential oils were then used to treat soldiers in WW1 for skin infections, burns, gangrene, and non-healing wounds.
Veterinarians are now using essential oils on animals for a variety of disorders, from skin diseases such as ringworm, natural flea repellents, lavender for anxiety, to oils for treating ligament injuries.
They clearly are a very underutilized alternative healing modality in veterinary medicine.
Cats use a different system in their liver to detoxify and are particularly sensitive to essential oils that contain polyphenolic compounds. These are so-called “hot” oils like cinnamon, oregano, clove, wintergreen, thyme and birch. Cats appear to be especially sensitive to Tea Tree Oil (melaleuca), so it is best to avoid this oil for them. In general avoid giving your cat any internal essential oils, and apply all oils in a diluted form.
Essential Oil Tips
•Always dilute the oils with a carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil.
•Avoid eyes, nose, anal area, and genital areas.
•Use cautiously with puppies under 10 weeks of age, very old dogs or pregnant dogs.
•Avoid these oils on dogs and cats regularly: Wintergreen, thyme, clove, cassia, camphor, and oregano. These oils wouldn’t be good to use each day, but are good occasionally.
•Avoid internal use of essential oils in cats, avoid tea tree oil for cats in any form
The following oils can be safely used for Dogs and Cats
•Lavender: The best one to start with. Universal oil, can use pure or diluted. Beneficial for anxiety, such as separation anxiety in dogs, or excessive vocalization in senior cats. May help allergies, burns, ulcers, insomnia, car ride anxiety and car sickness
•Clove Oil for warts.
•Cardamom: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, normalizes appetite, colic, coughs, heartburn and nausea.
•Fennel: assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue. Balances pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.
•Helichrysum: Anti-bacterial, reduces bleeding in accidents, skin and nerve repair. Also useful in cardiac disease.
•Frankincense: ( boswellia) Has helped some cases of cancer. Works on the immune system. Has reduced tumors and external ulcers. Increases blood supply to the brain so can be beneficial with cognitive dysfunction ( dog alzheimers). Alternative practitioners will frequently use frankincense for massage and speed tissue repair.
•Lemongrass oil. Combine with almond oil and massage dogs with injured knees ( ie cruciate injury), or other soft tissue injuries.
•Spearmint: Helps to reduce weight. Good for colic, diarrhea, nausea. Helps balance metabolism, stimulates gallbladder. When diluted and used short term, this oil is helpful for many gastrointestinal issues in cats.
•Cedarwood and Catnip oil are wonderful insect repellents- can be used for fleas, lice, and safely used on cats.
•Chamomile Oil. Spray on linens before for bed for more restful sleep. Calming Salve: Combine 1/2 cup coconut oil with 1/4 cup beeswax and heat until mixed. While cooling stir in 15 drops each of Roman Chamomile and Lavender essential oils.
•Ginger Oil. Put 1–2 drops in water to help with an upset stomach. If you are feeling nauseated, put a drop of Ginger in the palm of your hands and inhale. Rub 1–2 drops on your stomach or bottom of feet to aid digestion
•Vetiver and Rose. This provides another avenue to restore your pet’s appetite. Apply essential oils of Rose and Vetiver to a bandana and tie it around your pet’s neck.
Andrew Jones, DVM
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