Please note: I am not a doctor or veterinarian and cannot give medical advice. The information contained in this article is from my personal knowledge and research. I have been using Young Living Essential Oils for four years, including around and on my children and pets, without any ill effects. I have done hours upon hours of research before using them, and I still study their uses and effects.
Lately, there have been a lot of posts on social media about the dangers of essential oils to pets. People read these, share them without another thought, and essential oils are blamed for illness and death in pets. This causes frustration on many levels because those same posts don’t always state what brand of essential oils were used. Some brands include synthetic fragrances and are not truly pure plant matter. The FDA does not regulate essential oils and states the following:
“There is no regulatory definition for “essential oils,” although people commonly use the term to refer to certain oils extracted from plants. The law treats Ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source.”
For example, “essential oils” are commonly used in so-called “aromatherapy” products. If an “aromatherapy” product is intended to treat or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. To learn more, see “Aromatherapy.”
Similarly, a “massage oil intended to lubricate the skin is a cosmetic. But if claims are made that a massage oil relieves aches or relaxes muscles, apart from the action of the massage itself, it’s a drug, or possibly both a cosmetic and a drug,”
“The law treats Ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source.”
This means that an essential oil containing only steam distilled Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) and a lab-created synthetic fragrance of lavender can both be labeled as pure essential oils.
This is why knowing where your products come from is so important. Essential oils — the real plant matter ones, not the lab-created ones — have been shown to help support overall feelings of wellness in all kinds of animals, from humans to dogs, from cats to guinea pigs, and even birds. But there are a lot of cheap, fake oils out there and people are not educated on the lack of regulation of essential oils, how they are made, or their proper use. They buy a diffuser, set it up, and start making their homes smell good without a thought to what is actually in that little bottle. How, then, do we know that it’s the Eucalyptus globulus and not eucalyptus fragrance that is causing our dear pets to have medical emergencies? We don’t, and yet essential oils, in general, are being blamed.
If you’re interested in learning how to live above the wellness line with essential oils, it is highly suggested that you seek out a reputable company and not purchase essential oils from the local grocery store. Do some research and ask some of the following questions:
1) How long has the company been in business?
2) Does the company own their farms or have partner farms?
3) Does the company control everything from planting to bottling?
4) Are the essential oils steam distilled and is the oil going into the bottle from the first distillation?
5) Are the oils tested both by the company’s quality control and by third parties?
6) How many tests are done? There are currently 20 possible tests that can be done to check an essential oil’s quality and constitution. (We will talk about these in a future article.)
7) Are they synthetic-free?
8) Are they organic?
9) Are any labeled as a dietary supplement?
Next, do your research. Lots and lots of research. Please don’t take your neighbor’s cousin’s sister’s word for how to use essential oils. Definitely ask your friends and family questions, but then follow up their answers with studying. Find out which oils might irritate the skin if used improperly. Learn about carrier oils, photosensitivity, and possible prescription drug interactions. Study the use of each oil, including what they can be used for, how to use them, and general safety information. When you start to use essential oils, start slow! Don’t set up your diffuser and add 15 drops of lemon. Instead, use 2 drops and monitor how you (and your pets) feel.
Yes, you can diffuse (real) essential oils around your pets. Place the diffuser in a main living area and make sure your pet is able to go to another room if they don’t like the smell. Never apply essential oils topically to your pet without consulting a veterinarian, and never apply undiluted essential oils. Start with ones that do not have phenols or salicylate in them. Oils that contain phenols or salicylate include, but are not limited to: Wintergreen, Basil, Oregano, and Tea Tree. Many people pick up essential oils because they smell good, and then use them similarly to candles or wax melts, but they can be so much more with the right quality and information. They can also be harmful if you are not armed with knowledge.