Essential oils and pets

Essential oils and pets

If you’re in my Rustik Health Education and Promos Facebook group, you might have read my post about the time I sprayed my outdoor cat with doTERRA TerraShield essential oil blend to help repel ticks (and insects in general).

At the time, I didn’t know the blend included catnip… so minutes after I sprayed “Kitterson”, he was licking himself all over! That was a fail.

As an essential oils educator, one of the top questions I get asked is if oils are safe to use around pets. Just Google the topic and you’ll find TONS of controversy and opposing opinions on this.

Here are my favourite sources on the topic to help you form your own opinion.

What a famed aromatherapist says…

British aromatherapist Robert Tisserand is said to have renewed interest in essentials oil when he published his book The Art of Aromatherapy in 1977. He has since written an authoritative book on essential oils safety, done many lectures and presentations, and written multiple research articles.

On his website, Robert Tisserand addresses the issue of essential oils and pets. He focuses specifically on cats, given cats almost completely lack important liver enzymes which support the metabolism of many essential oil constituents. Because of this, cats are at the most theoretical risk of toxicity (it’s much less of an issue with dogs). That being said, he believes a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat.

A small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat.

What scientific research says…

Ok, well… there isn’t a ton of research on essential oils and pet safety, and that is part of the issue. But one holistic British veterinarian did some great investigating and I recommend you read the article.

Here are the main takeaways I got from it:

  • In cases where toxicity was observed, applications were 5 – 10 times more concentrated than usual.
  • Given the lack of enzymes, one must consider the dose and frequency of essential use with cats to allow for proper metabolism.
  • The quality of the essential oils used matters.

There are a few oils that make the list as contraindicated for cats – but truly remain listed as contraindicated for almost all of the aromatherapy world. 

However, there are a few oils you would definitely want to avoid using around pets but these are the same oils you want to avoid yourself: Bitter Almond, Boldo, Calamus, Garlic, Horseradish, Mustard, Sassafras, Wormseed (Chemopodium), and Pennyroyal.

What the largest essential oils company says…

I know what you’re going to say.

Of course the largest essential oils company in the world is going to say oils are safe to use around pets. They want to sell more oils. And to that I would say the largest essential oils company in the world would not have become so if it was harming pets left, right and center 😉

Here is a great one-pager from doTERRA with tips on using essential oils with animals.

Do you use essential oils around your pets?

M.

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