Here I am on my 50th birthday at the North West Grooming show in Tacoma Washington. How did I wind up here? Kismet, Fate and the stars aligned in my favor. I am assisting the amazing Michelle Knowles www.allthingspaw.com in her 3 seminars on The Philosophy of Spa , Handstripping 101 and Allergies. I get to be in the seminars and also talk to groomers about Spa therapies and essential
Oils. My passion is essential oils. They make me happy. What makes me even happier is educating groomers, pet parents, trainers and other pet
Professionals on how to properly use them. There is a large push within the pet pro population as well as the pet owners to seek out alternative therapies to work with. Essential oils are one of many areas of great interest. With this also comes a great responsibility to provide accurate and up to date information on EO usage on pets safely.
There is a lot of misinformation out on the web and cautions must be taken when learning to use EO properly. Here is my list of do's and don't when working with EO's and animals:
Let the pet choose the oil. Approach the pet with the EO bottles closed. Let them sniff it, if they back away, so do you. No oils applied to this pet. Animals have an acute sense of their metabolic needs and will know when they need a natural therapy. If the opposite happens and they come forward toward the oil and show interest in a particular oil , this is your cue to continue. Uncap the oil and let the dog inhale at its own comfort level. You have just applied a EO therapy to this dog with the inhalation method. This is a great way to introduce oils to dogs
Cats are extremely sensitive to the therapeutic use and effects of EO and should only be used by trained professionals on any feline breed. This is my hard stance on cats. Cats can not metabolize certain oils that contain the following chemical componds:
Phenol[Also known as carbolic acid, phenol describes a group of aromatic organic compounds consisting of a phenyl group bound to a hydroxyl group. Although similar in molecular structure to an alcohol, phenols have their hydroxyl group attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon ring, whereas an alcohol’s hydroxyl group is bound to a saturated carbon atom.
It turns out phenols can be pretty toxic to humans too. They are corrosive to the skin, eyes, and are irritants to the respiratory tract.  But this isn’t too surprising, given the safety warnings that come with high-phenol oils (Cinnamon, Clove, Thyme, Oregano, Savory). These oils are generally recommended for use at the lowest dilution of 1%. If used at a higher dilution, there is a risk of burning your skin or respiratory tract, depending on how you’re using it. Most websites recommend only using higher dilutions for very short periods of time when higher effectiveness is needed (such as getting rid of a particularly bad cold).
Monoterpene Hydrocarbons : [Terpenes are a very large class of organic compounds commonly produced in plants. Monoterpenes are within this class and consist of two isoprene units (which are a more basic organic compound produced by plants). Monoterpene hydrocarbon refers to a monoterpene attached to an aromatic hydrocarbon ring (what else has an aromatic hydrocarbon ring?… phenols
Other than phenols, oils containing monoterpene hydrocarbons can be toxic to cats. So what oils contain monoterpene hydrocarbons? Unfortunately, many. Here’s a list of monoterpene hydrocarbons found in essential oils, and the oils that contain these components.
Terpineol: cajuput oil, pine oil, and petigrain oil
Limonene: Very common in citrus oils
Pinene: pine oil (obviously), and other coniferous oils.
Often, essential oils producers will dilute their oils with additives to bring down the price of the oil. Many of these additives are toxic to cats (and humans to an extent). So if you find that your cat is reacting to an oil not listed as toxic, it could be that reason. This website is great for more information and a full list of oils not to use around cats : www.usingEOssafely.com/safecats
- Rabbits and other small rodents also fall into the category of animals who's livers can not process and filter out the above chemical compounds.
- Diffuse your oils around your pets. Always have somewhere for them to go away from the diffuser mist if they have had enough. Diffuse for no more than 30 minutes at a very low dilution rate depending on your pets size.
- Apply topically to your dogs skin. Always dilute your EO in a carrier oil. This oil will be a base to help absorb the EO slowly into the pets bloodstream. Examples of carrier oils are; olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil and more.
- I do not recommend feeding EO to your pet unless you have been trained. Again this could seriously injur or kill your pet if it is done incorrectly.
- Hydrosols make a great alternative to straight EO therapies. They are easy to make and cost effective. They are basicly flower water.
I will leave you with this; less is more when working with oils. Check your information against several sources and then check again to be sure. Essential oils are a great holistic therapy for you and your pet,but education is the key in using them properly and safely.