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Essential Oils and Pets

By December 9, 2019August 16th, 2023No Comments

A picture of some essential oils

Essential oils seem to be a part of everyday life now days. But what exactly are they? Do they work as much as they are promoted? Can they hurt your fur friends?

Essential oils aren’t actually oils. They’re highly plant constituents that possess potent medicinal and cosmetic qualities. Because they don’t contain any fatty acids they can’t be classified as an actual oil. Essential oils are used for a wide range of things. Can they be useful for our pets though? The answer is yes, but not in the way that most think.

To start with, let’s take a look into an animal’s nose. Our pets have millions more olfactory receptors in their nose than we do! A dog’s nose is incredibly sensitive to the world around us. Their range compared to ours is about 10,000 to 100,000 times as acute, scientists say. If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.

Cats on the other hand have much more, with over 200 million scent receptors in their nasal cavity! Most breeds of dogs don’t have even close to that number. Your cat’s sense of smell guides her to prey, tells her if food is edible or toxic, tells her where you’ve been, and even helps her find her home if she gets lost. Incredible isn’t it?!

If you would like to use essential oils for your pets, then this is something you need to take into consideration. What might be a nice smell for us could be severely hurting our pets. So, what is the right way to use them?

Defusing and Diluting

Whether you are diffusing essential oils in the room or you would like to use them more directly on an area for your pet, it is best to dilute them. The high concentration of these oils is what bothers our pets highly tuned sniffers.


Defusing is a great way to reap the benefits for your pets. In fact, many shelters have started to use lavender oil in their kennels to help keep the animals calm. It is best to use a water-based diffuser, keep it on a low to intermediate setting, and only use a few drops at a time. It’s important to allow your pet an option to exit the room if they like.


If you would like to target a specific area in your house, a bed, kennels, cleaning, etc. Make sure the oils have been properly diluted in water or a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, almond oil etc.) Use the “less is more” rule.


Make a bug spray for summer for your dogs by using water, a carrier oil, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella and peppermint.

Does your dog get anxious when you leave or in the car? Try using a calming spray made out of lavender and chamomile oil. Use about 5-10 drops in 300mls of water, cover the face and spray on the back and legs.

What about cats?

Cats are a bit trickier, just like everything else regarding them! The truth is, you will hear many things from many people about cats and oils. Here’s my take: cats lack a liver enzyme that is important for metabolizing certain things, so it really isn’t a bad idea to use a bit more caution with cats. If you use the cautions already mentioned, these oils are perfectly safe to use in your DIY cleaning or diffused in your home with cats.

All in all, essential oils can be very useful in your home. Take a look into the essential oils you are using and what their company says about them. Be sure to also ask your veterinarian also! Your veterinarian wants the best for you and your pets, so don’t be shy about asking any questions you might have.

– Submitted by Samantha Castor