Animals and essential oils


Animals and essential oils


Like man, some animals can be allergic or sensitive. Here are a few precautions for use

Man and animal: the differences

Animals are different from humans: physiologically, skin, pelt, corporal mass, skin licking, sensitivity to smells. Dogs and cats have a much stronger sense of smell than ours and smells affect them much more potently.

Here is the percentage of the olfactory zone in relation to brain size:

MAN 0.29% HORSE 5.1% CAT 5.9% DOG 10.1% RODENT 24.4%

An animal is lighter than a child
Their sense of smell is more evolved
Their skin surface is different
hence the need to be cautious

The use of essential oils with animals is therefore different from what is advised for man. One must respect the method of administration, the precautions for use and the counter indications that are specific for each animal and essentially the need to have its cooperation.

Local application of essential oil on a dog

When pouring a few drops of oil on the skin of a dog’s neckline, these diffuse into the blood. Therefore one must avoid essential oils that are photo-sensitising, allergenic, skin sensitive and, in general, it is preferable not to apply it on sensitive mucous such as around the eye, nose, lip, ear, etc…
In general essential oils need to be diluted.

Oily preparations for dogs
Vegetable oils soften the aromatic aggressiveness of certain essential oils and bring their own qualities to the mixture (vitamins and essential fat acids). You can safely use almond oil, and olive oil. Macadamia and hazelnut oil have a fluidity that allows quick penetration and they do not leave a greasy film on the skin, the fur and… the cushions.
Important: it must be a dilution of 10 to 30% of essential oil. For example, one drop of essential oil for 10 drops of vegetable oil. Only use a few drops of this mixture.

Dog shampoos (anti-parasite, against dry dandruff and nourishing/shiny coat)
For an anti-parasite action, pour 60 drops of essential oil of lavender and of geranium in a 200ml bottle.
Shake well before use.
Important: it must be a dilution of 10 to 30% of essential oil. For example, one drop of essential oil for 10 drops of vegetable oil. Only use a few drops of this mixture.
The most effective and simplest application method is through a shampoo, about 3 drops per dosage.

The bugs don’t like Lavender and Citronella , it is a great insect repellent, also effective against fleas or ticks.
Thyme is a potent bactericide, fungicide and pesticide
Cedarwood oil is a great overall insect repellent. Can be mixed with citronella and/or lemongrass to fight fleas.

Essential oils for horses

essential-horseHorses are sensitive to odours as they have a highly developed sense of smell and this is deeply linked with their behaviour (feeding, recognition mare-foal, orientation, sexuality, etc…). They are also able to recognise plants with a therapeutic effect on them.

Before any application of essential oil, it is important to observe and understand the horse’s reaction. Choose 1 to 5 essential oils and make the horse smell them. If he turns his head away or lowers his ears, don’t insist. One can let him smell two oils at once, and he will instinctively go towards the one he needs. If the horse appreciates the essential oil, it can be applied twice a day externally or orally. Any treatment should not exceed two weeks.

Beware, certain oils must be used with care (dosage/dilution, administration method to avoid/to prefer, counter-indications for gestating mares or for foals, photo-sensitising, allergy risks, etc.). We always recommend that the advice of an aromatherapist is sought before using essential oils or to use products already ready for use.

First very important consideration: essential oils are never used pure. They are to be diluted to the ration of 2 to 3 drops per 5ml of vegetable oil (you can choose but I prefer almond oil). On the head, do not use more than 1 drop per 5ml of base oil.

For near blood horses (Arab, Anglo, thoroughbred…) as well as for ponys, especially nervous ones, use 1 to 3 drops for 5ml. For large none thoroughbred horses with dense muscles, you may use 3 to 5 drops per 5ml.

Caring for a horse by aromatherapy produces great results if you dilute your essential oils at a maximum ratio of 10% in vegetable oil.

The animal needs to be calm. Do not force anything on him when he is in contact with the smells of the products.


What essential oil should one use?

Renew the application once or twice a day for a duration of two weeks maximum. Effects should become apparent within 4 to 5 days.

In the case of stress, irritability, nervousness: noble chamomile, basil or true lavender are aromatic plants with calming and soothing properties.

  • In the case of bruising: noble laurel or helichrysum .
  • In the case of burns or small wounds: true lavender which is a skin soother.
  • In the case of muscles pain (after a physical effort): true lavender , basil , lemon , eucalyptus or peppermint will be used to assist recovery. Basil also helps to avoid cramps and muscular contractions. Spike lavender and ginger for tendonitis: massage the inflamed zone.
  • In the case of thrush: tea tree oil which also has antibacterial properties that sanitises the air in diffusion.
  • In the case of colic: Roman chamomile will calm the horse
  • For wounds: tea tree and geranium , lemon for pimples
  • For caring for a cold, essential oils most adapted to assist in horses are eucalyptus radiata , niaouli , peppermint. Use at least two of these three products in total and massage the chest of the animal.

Massage the skin, preferably at head level, behind the ears. Sometimes the mouth or the chamfer is also suggested. If the horse has a tendency to scratch himself in his stall, he may move the oil towards his eyes or mouth. It is therefore safer to choose somewhere hard to access to avoid risks!

For any serious illness (colic, etc.) a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.

Recipe to sanitise a stall
Measure 20 drops of peppermint essential oil , which has an antiseptic action, for 5 L of water. Mix well and use this water to rinse the stall after cleaning it.

Recipe to deter flies
Mix 15 drops of true lavender essential oil , 15 drops tea tree oil , 15 drops eucalyptus radiata and 15 drops garlic essential oil. Add 50 cL of warm water and mix thoroughly. Pour the mixture in a vaporiser. Before each use remember to shake the mixture well. Avoid contact with the eyes but pulverise the entire coat
Essential oils for guinea pigs
Diffusing essential oils with a diffuser in the same room as where the guinea pig lives. Beware not to saturate the air. Hence, do not close the door of the room where the diffuser has been placed and use it for about 15 to 20 minutes.


Essential oils for cat

Particular traits of cats

Cats are highly sensitive to essential oils and these can be very harmful even deadly. Take care to have your bottles of essential oils safely put away so that your cat cannot reach them (tea tree essential oil, for example, can be deadly for a cat)

This sensitivity is due to its physiology:
– He has a particular organ that allows the detection of pheromones. This organ takes in odours by letting air through its passage. Essential oils that are very volatile and odorous could overload this organ. The result is perceived by a change in behaviour going from aggressiveness to apathy.
– He lacks a hepatic enzyme able to degrade certain molecules and render them soluble. Once this is achieved it allows him to evacuate these through the bile or urine. As a result, all essential oils containing phenol will be eliminated very slowly (several days for a cat as opposed to a few hours for a dog).
– The higher the dose and the length of exposure, the more overloaded the liver becomes. The cat is then in danger of toxic hepatitis which can lead to his death.
For that reason, since a cat licks itself for cleaning purposes, he cannot have essential oils sprayed on his coat.

EO are not forbidden for a cat but precautions must be taken: the choice of the EO and its dilution, the method of application, the number of daily applications, the duration of administration, remembering the need for pauses and controlling the good functioning of its organism. Just as a precaution and to avoid misuse, we advise you not to use essential oils with cats. It is preferable to ask the advice of a veterinarian and avoid all self-medication

Atmospheric route:
It is the best way to initiate the animal to EO. By accustoming him regularly and beginning with low doses of gentle EO. Do not burn EO in an incense burner or other technique of heating because they loose all their effectiveness and their residue can become toxic.

Dermal route:
Cats do not like being sprayed with products. The best place to put drops of EO on the skin is behind the ears on the neck area with an anti-parasite pipettes thus avoiding licking. EO enter the skin quickly and spread to the sub-coetaneous tissue and even the blood circulation. If applied pure, EO risk to irritate the skin, it is, therefore, preferable to dilute them in alcohol (or oil but it will make the coat sticky).

Another possible solution is to soak his collar with a few drops of diluted EO.

For wounds or local lesions, the application of diluted EO with a cotton bud is very practical. EO being very volatile, they evaporate quickly and they are also quickly absorbed by the skin. The risk of ingestion is thus minimal if one stops the cat from licking himself for 10 minutes after application.

It is strongly advised not to apply EO on the skin daily. Rather 3 to 5 days in a week for example to avoid liver saturation or skin irritation.

The use of hydrosols is a very good choice for cats who react badly to essential oils as they present fewer risks.

Intoxication by EO:

Happily, the accidental ingestion of essential oils is rare. They taste very badly and the cat will salivate immediately, even sometimes vomit which will make the amount ingested minimal.

In general, these are skin lesions: redness as much as 1st-degree burns caused by EO with phenol and aromatic aldehydes especially if applied undiluted. A loss of fur may ensue which can be temporary or permanent. As a precaution, a test should be done on a small part of the body.

In the case of external intoxication, water rinsing is useless as EO do not dissolve in water. You need to shampoo the cat to remove it but the best solution is to apply vegetable oil generously on the fur before washing it.
In the case of oral intoxication, the cat needs to swallow some vegetable oil to will dilute the EO (sunflower, olive or better still, paraffin oil as the latter is not digested and is fully expelled in the stools).

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