Could your pet benefit from essential oils?
Posted May 18, 2018
people have turned to essential oils as part of their holistic
approach to well-being. As the popularity of these products grows,
some pet owners may wonder about incorporating essential oils into
their pet’s healthcare routine.
Although essential oils may be beneficial to pets, Dr. Murl
Bailey, a professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary
Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said to use essential oils with
Essential oils can be a gentler alternative to traditional
medicine. Applied topically, these oils quickly absorb into the
skin and can help strengthen the immune system.
However, not all essential oils are safe to use on pets, and
some pets may be allergic to specific oils. Additionally, the oils
can be harmful if ingested or given in large doses.
“Essential oils should never be given by mouth or in the
animal’s food,” Bailey said. “Oral ingestion can cause vomiting,
diarrhea, and central nervous system depression, which can cause
symptoms such as decreased heart and breathing rate. Seizures are
also possible from large doses.”
Bailey added that oils applied to the animal’s skin may be
ingested during the animal’s self-grooming. Therefore, it is best
to apply the oil at the base of the neck where the animal can’t
reach. Additionally, if you apply essential oils to your own skin,
avoid allowing your pet to lick your skin after application.
Bailey included this list of toxic essential oils:
- Bay leaf (W. Indian)
- Birch (sweet)
- Bitter almond
- Boldo leaf
- Clove Leaf
- Pennyroyal (N. Am.)
- Pennyroyal (Eur.)
- Pine oil
- Sasafras (Brazilian)
- Savory (Summer)
- Tea tree
- Tree wormwood, large wormwood
- Western Red Cedar
- Ylang ylang
If your pet displays any signs of poisoning, you can call the
Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the ASPCA Animal Poison
Control Center at (888) 426-4435. You can also contact your
If you are interested in using essential oils on your pet, your
primary care veterinarian may be able to help. You can also search
for a veterinarian through the American Holistic Veterinary Medical
Association at https://www.ahvma.org/.
Natural ways to treat pets, such as essential oils, are growing
in availability. However, Bailey reminds pet owners that essential
oils are not regulated and the concentration and safety listed on
the label may be unknown in pets. As always, it is always best to
consult your veterinarian before beginning any new treatment
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
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