Are essential oils safe for dogs?

Eden Bennett @ 2022-05-03 10:00:00 +1000
My Opinion on Essential Oils for Dogs
As I make my way through my course on essential oils for dogs, the more I understand these products should be left to be administered only by the hands of trained professionals. By professionals I mean practitioners with a degree in natural medicines from a legitimate and acknowledged course provider.
I think there is too little readily available information about the complexity of an EO, how environmentally taxing they are to manufacture, and the cause and effect of their health implications for dogs and cats.
Multi-level marketing has played down the risk of essential oils, ruined purity, is taxing on the environment, and the inclusion of cheap essential oils in plug-in aromatic diffusers, candles, household cleaners, hand wash and other body care has slowly deteriorated the status of essential oils, and their position in the natural medicine hierarchy. In France, for example, Essential Oils can still only be purchased from Pharmacies due to safety concerns.
Now, I want to make it clear, that I genuinely believe there is a time and a place for essential oil use as complementary medicine, however, even at the completion of my course, I acknowledge that I am not competent enough to recommend people use essential oils on their pets, nor would I attempt to do so myself at home without first consulting a Veterinarian who has specialised in complementary therapies.
My opinion does also apply to the administration of essential oils via diffusion into the air. If only to reiterate my point, since commencing my course I have eliminated any and all products in my home with oils in them, including reed diffusers, cleaners and candles. Opting instead for old fashioned castile soap as a cleaning agent. I have several products that have been specifically formulated for dogs that have small amounts of essential oils in them, but we went to the effort to determine the quality, origin and type of oil included in the product to be sure they were safe.
In a natural medicine tool box, Essential Oils are the end of the line. They are the most potent form of natural therapy, and have been likened to resorting straight to chemotherapy for the treatment of common disease or ailments. Before employing essential oils, all other natural options should be exhausted, including the the use of herbs, targeted nutritional supplementation, flower essences and homeopathics. They should also not be used as a stand alone remedy, rather they should be used in conjunction with other natural therapies to work synergistically on the problem.
My Key Learning Points:
  • Essential Oils CAN have contraindications with existing medications and impact the efficacy of other treatments when paired incorrectly.
  • While two essential oils may both be beneficial for the kidneys, one will utilise different pathways to the other, one can be harmful while the other is not depending on the circumstance, and a learned professional can tell you which is more suitable. It is not enough to search 'essential oils for calming' without thorough comprehension of the mechanisms each particular oil may employ to be effective.
  • Manufacturing Essential Oils is extremely taxing on the environment and several plants used for medicine are now at risk of extinction due to poor farming practices. - 70 Rose Petals makes one drop of Rose Oil. - 75 cups of Peppermint Tea to make one drop of Peppermint Oil. - 6000 pounds of Lemon Balm makes one pound of oil. - Sandalwood Essential Oil can only be made from trees that are 30 years old, and the tree must be destroyed to do so. - Cedarwood Atlas, Frankincense, Juniper and Indian Sandalwood are all threatened or critically endangered.
  • Essential Oils are typically lipids, which mean they have access to your dog's brain. When your dog inhales an essential oil, it has a direct pathway to your pets brain. This is why essential oil diffusion can have neurological side effects such as seizures and disorientation.
While some essential oils can be used safely, in moderation, as specified before, they are the last resort in the natural medicine tool kit, and should be used in conjunction with other therapies.
If you can be certain of the origin, quality, potential contraindications, side effects, dose and safe administration of essential oils and the function they serve within the body, then by all means, utilise essential oils in your toolkit.
However, please, be extremely wary of bloggers or influencers promoting the use of oils without accreditation, salespeople without certification, poor quality oils or packaging that does not disclose the origin of the oil, be mindful of expiration dates, and extremely mindful of the fact that most diffused essential oils can immediately pass through to your dog or cats brain.
On several occasions I've spoken with customers whose dogs are exhibiting impaired motor function, sudden onset of seizures, disorientation, inexplicable vomiting and other concerning episodes, and the common element has been the use of an essential oils diffuser in the bedroom, or in a room the dog is frequently in. Essential Oil toxicity is serious, and can certainly be life threatening.
I will discuss Essential Oils again, as I work my way further through the course, and share my thoughts on the application of oils for various purposes, and if there is anyone here who has more knowledge to share, I think the more information that is out there, the better!