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How to treat your pet with essential oils safely

Posted by Kathryn Daniel on

Essential oils are very popular for people, and some users are turning to the concentrated oils to heal or soothe their pets.

Some of the more popular varieties are toxic to dogs and cats and can be downright deadly if used around birds. But if they're used properly, some can bring soothing benefits to pets.

Veterinarian Gina Forgey said almost half of her clients ask her about essential oils and their pets.

She approves of their use - if three steps are followed. She tells her clients to never put them directly on pets, don't allow their animals to ingest them and diffuse only pet safe varieties. Even then she recommends they diffuse sparingly.

Forgey said, "If you have soothing scents then it's gonna naturally make them less anxious. Because their nose is telling them, this is a good place."

She emphasized that cats and dogs metabolize oils differently, "Cats are really sensitive, so you have to be careful with cats cause they can get toxic easily."

To soothe cats, Forgey recommends diffusing lavender and frankincense. Some oils have triggered digestive and respiratory problems for some of her patients. "Cinnamon is one of the ones they say irritates cats and can be toxic, another one is tea tree oil," she continued.

Thyme, wintergreen, clove, oregano and birch and also non-friendly varieties for cats. For dogs, Forgey said pet owners should skip juniper, wintergreen, garlic, yarrow, clove, horseradish, and thyme.

According to Forgey, many clients report great results in training dogs when they diffuse peppermint and lemongrass. Those scents improve focus and alertness.

Forgey said she is often asked about an entirely different kind of oil, C.B.D. hemp oil.

"It's called cannabinoid. And what it is it's the medical portion of marijuana without the hallucinative portion," Forgey said.

Unlike essential oils, C.B. D. is given orally to pets. Forgey said a lot of research is underway on C.B.D. oil. Forgey's been pleased with its impact on her patients.

"Cancer, epilepsy, and arthritis are the main three places that I see really good results," she expanded.

Forgey said C.B.D. doesn't cure ailments, but it does offer relief. For either kind of oil, essential or hemp based, Forgey cautioned users to check with their veterinarian when it comes to brands, dosage, and application.

"There are good uses that are helpful, but you just have to be careful," she said.

Some essential oil companies make lines that are specially designed to be used specifically on pets. Ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.