by: Josie Noecker, Pet Foods Buyer
Can essential oils be used for fleas and ticks? Which essential oils are considered to be safe to use for my pet? In this article I will give some information regarding the common questions one might have in regards to essential oil usage and pets.
The most commonly read reason essential oils may pose a problem to your feline is because they cannot metabolize the oils the way dogs and humans can. It boils down to their liver not having the enzymes to break down the oil in their systems. Other sources state that it is not the oil itself that poses the issue, but that the oil was a low-grade quality with chemical additives. If one were to use essential oils, it is vital that they are therapeutic-grade and also diluted 1-2 drops of essential oil to 99-98 drops of a carrier oil such as olive or almond oil.
With cats, avoid the following oils: wintergreen, birch, and any oils containing Phenol (thyme, tea tree, cinnamon, clove). Citrus, pine, fir, and sage oils should also be avoided. Keep in mind some cleaning products use citrus and pine essential oils. If you have those kinds of products, keep the animal away for a minimum of an hour in a well ventilated room.
Hydrosols are said to be the safest option for felines, and may be the only safe aromatherapy option for them. Hydrosols are sprays that are created from what is left in the plant after the oil has been distilled out. Some examples of hydrosols are: lavender, rose, geranium, neroli, and chamomile. Hydrosols are also said to be easy to work with. One could combine several hydrosols into one for specific needs just as you would with the oils.
For dogs, it seems essential oils can be used easily and effectively with little or no worry of adverse side-effects. Quality is key, use only therapeutic-grade essential oils and as a precaution always dilute the oil in a base oil. This way the smell will not be too overpowering or potentially irritating to the dog. Some oils safe to use are lavender, myrrh, sweet orange, rose, geranium and peppermint. Oils to avoid would be anything containing high levels of phenols and ketones, such as clove, oregano, wintergreen, and cassia.
You can also use essential oils as flea and tick preventatives for dogs. The most commonly used are lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint. The following are a couple examples of effective flea/tick sprays. Ingredients include the following: 600ml warm water combined with 2 drops of lavender and 2 drops cedar wood essential oils. Shake well and pour into a spray bottle and spray on fur; avoiding contact with eyes.
A healing and flea repellent spray can be made with lavender by mixing 15 drops of lavender into water in a small spray bottle. This can also be used as an aid for hot spots. You can also turn a regular pet shampoo into a flea shampoo simply by adding a couple drops of a flea-repelling essential oil to it.
Aromatherapy is known to be relatively safe for large animals and dogs. Just use some caution when choosing particular essential oils as they can be irritating to the animal if not diluted. For cats, the safest way to provide them aromatherapy is through hydrosols which would provide aromatherapy and medicinal benefits without the oil. Here’s to healthy and happy pets.