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Aromatherapy and Pets

Aromatherapy and how it effects our pets is some what of a debatable subject.

 Go onto any internet search engine and you will find pages of websites that provide aromatherapy products for pets, especially dogs and cats. As a qualified aromatherapist I am aware that administering essential oil treatment to an animal should be considered with great caution. Primarily the quality grade of essential oils used is important. Poor quality or adulterated essential oils should never be used on or around your pets.  There are a few essential oils that can be given to dogs to keep them calm and to rid them of fleas and ticks in a natural way, but just like with human clients it is necessary to know the medical history of the animal to prevent contraindications.  I suggest he dilution ratio shouldn't be more than 1% in a dog friendly carrier oil or water  Although essential oils are natural, it should never be assumed that they are harmless for all. Always get advice from a qualified vetinary practitioner before using an essential oil product on your dog. 

Cats are very sensitive to a huge list of essential oils, many are known for being highly toxic to cats. However aromatherapy in the form of some floral waters (hydrolates) can be used safely, but do still consider the medical history of the animal to prevent contraindications. There have been recent reports in the press stating that essential oils are harmful to cats even when not administering to them. Robert Tisserand an internationally renowned expert of aromatherapy and former tutor of mine states on his website, "Cats almost completely lack important liver enzymes that humans do possess, and which are important in the metabolism of many essential oil constituents... Therefore, there is a theoretical risk of increased toxicity to cats, though this is very much less of an issue with dogs... We don’t know for sure that the greater toxicity to felines is because of the missing enzyme, but it’s very likely...I certainly don’t advocate dousing your cat in large quantities of neat essential oils – ever. And cats are quite susceptible to toxicity from nutmeg oil and tea tree oil. But, a small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat." 

I have two cats and often use various aromatherapy products around my home and have never had an adverse reation from them. I would advise that as long as the room is well ventilated and your cat is free to leave the room when essential oil products are in use there shouldn't be an issue. Please note that cats and dogs have a far greater sense of smell, so don't force them to endure the smell of any essential oils constantly, especially if they seem to want to get away from the scent. 

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