Aromatherapy for Animals and Pets
Much like aromatherapy can provide emotional and physical benefits for humans, essential oils and aromatherapy can benefit our beloved pets and animal friends. It, however, is important to recognize that animals are different than humans. That's amongst the reasons why medical doctors don't also act as veterinarians and vice versa. (I'm simplifying, but you get the idea).
For example, most humans (except for those with allergies or particular medical issues) can ingest large amounts of chocolate without life threatening consequences. However, chocolate can be fatal to dogs.
The same essential oils and blends that we use on ourselves are not always safe to use on our dogs, cats, birds, horses or other pets. Cats, for instance, are especially sensitive to essential oils. Many essential oils, including tea tree, are said to be quite toxic to cats. My understanding is that their systems, particularly their kidneys, are not able to safely process essential oils.
Like veterinary medicine, animal aromatherapy should be considered its own field. Even if you have a solid foundation in aromatherapy and essential oil safety for humans, special care and knowledge needs to be considered when utilizing aromatherapy and essential oils on or near our precious pets.
For instance, I tend to be very careful in how I use essential oils as I have a cat in my household. I avoid utilizing essential oils on my cat and I do not intentionally diffuse anywhere near him. My office/retreat, where he isn't allowed, is my sanctuary for diffusion. When blending with essential oils typically in the kitchen, I ensure that there is adequate ventilation, and I ensure that he is not in the vicinity.
Recommended Book About Aromatherapy for Animals
It goes beyond the scope of this single brief article to thoroughly and safely cover aromatherapy and essential oils for pets. For detailed information, let me recommend Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals...
Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals:
A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils and
Hydrosols with Animals
In 2002, Kristen Leigh Bell published the text Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals. Kristen Leigh Bell is the most recognized expert in the safe utilization of aromatherapy with animals, and her book is the resource that I have the most confidence in when researching safe practices for animals. For more information, visit AromaWeb's detailed book description for Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals.
There are several books available that cover aromatherapy for pets and animals. With the exception of Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals, most of the other books that I've take a look at either offer recipes and/or recommendations that raise a red flag with me or that seem to primarily rehash aromatherapy intended for humans and seem quite limited in their coverage of actual aromatherapy for animals.
Recommended Facebook Forum About Aromatherapy for Animals
Animal aromatherapy expert Kelly Holland Azzaro (R.A., C.C.A.P., C.B.F.P, L.M.T.) of Ashi Aromatics Inc. School for Animal Aromatherapy & Botanical Studies moderates the helpful Animal Aromatherapy - Safe Use group on Facebook. The Animal Aromatherapy - Safe Use group is a closed group, so you do need to be a member of Facebook and join the group (free) in order to view and post messages as well as view the invaluable File area that Kelly maintains.
Kelly is also the current Past President of the National Association for Aromatherapy and also oversees NAHA's public relations. Kelly is incredibly busy and generously volunteers her time in overseeing this very helpful group, so it's important to understand and respect that questions posted to this group can sometimes take time before Kelly can respond. Do pay special attention to the Files section of the group as most questions that members ask are already answered within the posted files.