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Essential Oils And Pets Explained

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Essential oils are fast becoming household staples among people who are embracing holistic health and wellness. The powerful botanical properties of essential oils can provide an array of benefits, and it’s no wonder that more and more people are beginning to incorporate them into their daily lives. Essential oils have the power to soothe the senses, create a calming ambience and even reduce stress levels due to their significantly positive effect on the human nervous system. So how do essential oils and pets fit together?

However, humans are not the only ones who can benefit from these powerful oils. If you’re a pet owner, then you may find it helpful to know that essential oils can also be beneficial to your furry friends. So while your health and wellness is important, let’s not forget about our pets! They are after all, part of the family! In this article we’ll explore the positive effects essential oils can have on pets, as well as guidelines and precautions to follow to ensure your pets have the most positive experience with essential oils as possible!

The Sensitivity of Pets To Scents

Cat and dog cuddling on the grass

Pets have an amazing sense of smell!

When it comes to diffusing essential oils for aromatherapy, the focus of this experience is on our sense of smell. For example, inhaling the scent of lavender can increase relaxation and help calm the brain and central nervous system. Therefore, if we’re going to indulge in this aromatherapeutic experience around our pets, we need to consider their sensitivity. Dogs have a particularly sensitive sense of smell with their noses being able to smell up to 100,000 (!) times more effectively than ours!

Different breeds of dogs and cats are all unique. Therefore, their reactions to diffused essential oils can vary from one to the other. The best way to figure out how well (or not very well at all) your animal reacts to the scents of essential oils is to slowly introduce them. Monitor how they react and focus on their behavioral cues and physical responses. Start simply by applying diluted essential oils topically to your skin and wearing these scents around your house. Cuddle and play with your pets to see how they react. If they don’t show any adverse reactions, then they may be cool with aromatherapy. 

Introducing Pets To Essential Oils

When we’re introducing our pets to essential oils it’s absolutely crucial to adopt a gentle approach. Not all scents are beneficial for our pets, and in fact some of them can even be harmful to their health and well being. The process of introducing our pets to essential oils can require a lot of patience, trial and error and understanding of your pet’s individual needs. 

The first step is to do some research on which essential oils are safe to use for your pet. While we will discuss this more generally later on in this post, it’s best to determine what is best suited to your specific situation. For example, parrots react differently to dogs, and dogs react differently to cats… You get the picture. Additionally, we recommend seeking the medical advice of your local vet if there are uncertainties or information you’re unable to find online regarding your pet and essential oils.

Application of Essential Oils For Pets 

Pets on the couch

Application method is important when introducing your pets to essential oils.

When choosing the best way to introduce essential oils to your pet, the application method is very important. Different methods of application suit certain species better. For example, for man’s best friend, dogs, it’s safe to dilute an essential oil with water and apply it to their collar and their bedding. Most essential oils are also safe to use through a diffuser around dogs. So they too can indulge in the benefits of aromatherapy! 

When it comes to cats, you should stay away from applying them topically in any form whatsoever. The best way to incorporate essential oils into your cat’s life is through a diffuser. However, be careful that none of the mist created by the diffuser ends up making contact with your feline’s coat or any part of their body. Birds and smaller animals are highly sensitive. In general it’s recommended to avoid using essential oils completely around these types of pets. 

Benefits of Using Essential Oils For Pets

Creates A Sense of Calm 

If your pet is nervous in the car, hates fireworks or trembles during a lightning storm, then we have the perfect hack for you! Essential oils may just have the power to alleviate their anxiety during these difficult times. Calming scents such as chamomile and lavender have a calming effect on our pet’s nervous system. Diffusing these scents, or applying them topically in a diluted solution, can promote calm and relaxation during stressful events for our pets.  

Controls Foul Odors

Cat sleeping under duvet

Who knows what your pets get up to when you’re not around.

Who knows what our pets get up to when we’re not around. You may come home sometimes and look at your pet and think “what is that awful smell on you and where did you pick it up?” The good news is essential oils can be your saving grace when it comes to foul odors. Applying essential oils can help mask unpleasant odors and leave your pet smelling fresh and clean. This can be applied very simply by diluting your chosen scent into a spray bottle and misting your pets fur at the source of the smell. 

Improved Skin And Coat Health

Much like on a human head of hair, essential oils such as rosemary and lavender can improve the shine. They can also increase the volume and appearance of your pet’s coat. Additionally, essential oils like tea tree can soothe irritated skin and also support skin health. These essential oils’ skin and coat benefits can be harnessed by adding a few drops to grooming products or by creating a gentle DIY grooming spray by diluting oils in water.

Safe Essential Oils For Pets

Hands holding freshly cut lavender.

Lavender Essential Oil

Both humans and pets can benefit from using essential oils in a variety of ways. However, it is crucial to use caution and pick essential oils that are safe for your animals. Lavender essential oil can be famous for its calming and relaxing effects. It can be used around your pets by applying it topically to their fur or collars. You can also allow them to be in a space where lavender is being diffused. This essential oil will bring no harm to your pets and can really help to reduce their anxiety during stressful situations. 

Chamomile essential oil can promote relaxation for your furry friend. It can also be soothing to their skin when applied topically in a diluted form. Additionally, scents such as cedarwood and cardamom are also able to promote relaxation. Cardamom in particular may even be beneficial for pets that suffer from stomach sensitivities. This is because it has a positive effect on animals’ digestive tracts and stomachs. In addition to being calming, cedarwood essential oil has the ability to repel insects. If you’ve ever seen a fly constantly bugging your dog while they try to catch a nap, then you’ll understand how this can be valuable for your fur baby!

Essential Oils And Pet Harm

There are a few essential oils that you should stay clear of when using them around your pets. The first one is tea tree oil, which can be highly toxic, especially for cats. If ingested, or even if they come in contact with tea tree oil on their skin or fur, it can lead to adverse reactions such as skin rashes, redness and even organ damage. Another essential oil to be careful with is eucalyptus oil. It may have a negative effect on our pets respiratory systems. If inhaled it can lead to difficulty breathing for your pet. There are also a few essential oils which can lead to stomach problems when they are ingested by your pet. Oils such as peppermint (in large quantities), the citrus oils (lemon, lime and orange) and cinnamon oils can cause gastrointestinal problems. 

Precautions For Using Essential Oils Around Pets 

Empty bottles with flowers in them

Always opt for pure, high-quality oils.

When using essential oils you should only opt for high-quality oils that are pure and contain no additives. They may potentially cause adverse effects for your pet. When essential oils are undiluted, they can be extremely potent and cause rashes, irritation and itchiness when applied topically. Therefore the key to using essential oils with your pets is to ensure that you dilute them adequately with water. Be very careful to ensure that the essential oils you are using don’t come into contact with their eyes or nose. Note that these are extremely sensitive areas. Finally, consult your vet. They can help determine which essential oils may be beneficial for your pet’s specific needs and health conditions. Additionally, they are better equipped to inform you about which oils may also potentially harm your fuzzy friends.


As you embrace your journey of holistic living through using essential oils, remember that your pets can also benefit from them! While these oils can be highly beneficial, it’s not entirely open season. Be sure to navigate your pets’ sensitivities and introduce essential oils to their lives with care. Don’t be scared to embrace the benefits of calming scents and healthier coats for your pets! Remember – diluted, high-quality oils ensure safety, while veterinary advice illuminates the path. By following these guidelines, your pet is well on their way to living their best life, under your watchful, protective eye!