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Essential oils for your pet:

Yay or Nay?

Lauren Lew, Concierge

Perhaps you have used essential oils such as lavender or spearmint occasionally after a long day or to relieve some aches and pains. If these oils may have become a daily ritual you may be considering using them for your four legged bestie too... The Mittens team has been asked many times if using essential oils for pets is safe and effective?

Our answer: it depends!

While our pets are family, it’s important to remember their bodies are different from ours. So it's important to consider the safety and effects of anything you give them. Luckily many holistic veterinarians are now interested in this topic too and can give you more information. Until then, here is our Cliff Notes version!

What does science say about using essential oils for pets?

The use of essential oils is a relatively new concept in veterinary medicine, so research is still in early phases. A preliminary study suggests some otitis externa infections in dogs and cats may benefit from essential oils. In a study of rats, an essential oil, Artemisia campestris, may have antioxidant properties that support the kidney and brain. However some oils can be toxic to pets and cats in particular could get hurt. So read on for what to look out for...

What are the important things to know about essential oils?

“The quality of essential oils and proper handling [are] the [keys] to success with oils”, according to veterinarian Melissa Shelton, who works with essential oils in her daily practice. The good news is that the few problems that she has encountered with essential oils have been related to low grade oil or misuse.

And what kinds of oils might help your pet?

  • Frankincense oil: calming, reduce growths.

  • Lavender oil: calming, skin care.

  • Spearmint oil: gastrointestinal problems in dogs

  • Cardamom oil: support digestive and respiratory system, as well as calming.

  • Cedarwood oil in dogs: helps with stiffness, kidney function, dandruff, nervousness

  • Thyme: supports immune system

Lastly, what types of oils should you NEVER use for your pets?

  • Avoid tea tree oil, yarrow, wintergreen, birch, clove, oregano, anise, juniper, peppermint, cinnamon, and thyme in cats

  • Avoid tea tree oil, yarrow, wintergreen, birch, clove, oregano, anise, juniper wood oil, woodworm, rue in dogs

  • Some essential oils such as lavender may be safe but can be toxic if used incorrectly

  • Keep in mind this is a limited list and we suggest you consult with a vet or your concierge before buying

If you are keen to use essential oils, watch out for our next post on this topic, we will cover the watch outs and the how to's!

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