Contributed by Dr. Janet Roark
Veterinarian, Hill Country Mobile Veterinary Service
If there is one thing I have learned in my lifetime of working with animals and their owners, it is that people love their animals and would do anything within their means to keep them healthy and happy for as long as possible. Pets have become an integral part of our families, and our homes would not be the same without them.
It’s probably not a surprise that pets can greatly improve the lives of the humans around them. One study shows that owning a dog can promote cardiovascular health.1 There are obvious positive health benefits when it comes to taking your dog for a walk, including it being good exercise, but there are also lesser known benefits, such as the positive social interactions that naturally occur when others smile at how adorable your pet is or ask if they can pet him or her. Another study indicates that pets can improve immunity and respiratory health in children.2 Pets can also decrease stress at the end of a long day.3 With all these and other benefits, it’s no wonder we have incorporated pets into our lives so closely.
Pets and Essential Oils
It’s important to keep our pets in mind as we use essential oils in our homes. Dogs and cats in particular have 200–300 million olfactory receptors (humans have only 5–6 million). Their sense of smell is very sensitive, so when you are diffusing, be sure to use a water-based diffuser like the Lumo® diffuser, and only diffuse 4–5 drops at a time in an open area where your pet can leave the room if desired.
Due to this sensitivity, there are a few oils to avoid with pets. Of course, we can use other oils instead. Here are a few suggestions:
Instead of Tea Tree (Melaleuca), use Geranium, Arborvitae, Myrrh, or Cedarwood.
Instead of Wintergreen, use Copaiba, Frankincense, or doTERRA AromaTouch®.
Instead of Cassia, use doTERRA On Guard®, Oregano, or Thyme.
Many oils can support the various body systems of your animals. When using oils topically with pets, be sure to consult with your veterinarian first. Always dilute oils down to 1–2 percent prior to application (100 drops of a carrier oil for every one drop of essential oil). I prefer using Fractionated Coconut Oil as a carrier oil but there are many others. Dilute even more for animals that are less than 10 lbs/5 kg.
Cardiovascular Support: Helichrysum, Cypress, Marjoram, Copaiba
Digestive Support: doTERRA DigestZen®, Ginger, Cardamom, Fennel, Coriander
Endocrine Support: Myrrh, Lemongrass, Geranium
Immune Support: Rosemary, Copaiba, doTERRA On Guard®, Melissa
Integumentary Support: Lavender, Frankincense, Myrrh, Helichrysum, Cedarwood, Geranium, Spikenard, Roman Chamomile, Melissa
Musculoskeletal Support: Frankincense, Copaiba, doTERRA AromaTouch®, Marjoram
Nervous System Support: Copaiba, Helichrysum, Turmeric, Sandalwood, doTERRA Balance®
Respiratory Support: doTERRA Breathe®, doTERRA On Guard®, Cardamom, Rosemary, Arborvitae
Urinary Tract Support: Copaiba, Lemongrass, Juniper Berry, doTERRA Zendocrine®
I know you want to keep your animals healthy, and in return, they will keep you healthy too. These general guidelines may help you in the selection of which oils you use and diffuse around your home to help keep you and your pets healthy and happy.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.