Basic Essential Oils for Animals

  1. What is an essential oil? Highly aromatic substance found in specialized cells of certain plants. Technically, when this substance is in the plant, it is called an "essence." After distillation of a single type of plant, the aromatic substance is referred to as an essential oil. An 'aromatherapy oil' is usually a 2% dilution of an essential oil in 98% almond or grapeseed oil which is often extremely poor value for money. In reality, this 'Aromatherapy Oil' is just a massage oil presented in a 10ml bottle which looks exactly like the ones normally containing undiluted pure essential oils. You could buy exactly the same product in a 50ml (5 times as much!) bottle of massage oil from a reputable supplier for only a fraction more money!

On the other hand, an essential oil is an undiluted product that has been extracted from flowers, herbs, leaves, grasses, roots, woods, barks, spices, fruits or gum. Newcomers to aromatherapy experience a great deal of confusion over this because high street shops often sell 'aromatherapy oils' that do not inform clearly on the label precisely what is in the bottle. Therefore it is assumed to be an essential oil, when of course it is not. Very misleading, and very expensive.

  1. Distillation: Method used to extract essential oil from the plant. Steam distillation is the most common form of distillation.

  1. Quality: It is essential to buy high quality oils; cheap oils or “bargains” are almost always of poor quality. It takes a lot of plant material to make a small amount of oil. For example, it takes more than 30 roses to produce 1 drop of rose essential oil! A half-ounce of pure essential oil can last a long time, since only small amounts need to be used for their intended medicinal effects. Not all bottles of the same size yet of different oils should be priced the same. In other words, if they carry 50 different types of oils, yet every 5ml bottle is $7.40, there is something wrong, and you can guarantee these oils have been adulterated in some way.


  3. Storage: Essential oils must be stored in dark, airtight, glass bottles because exposure to light, oxygen, and heat causes chemical changes in the oil over time. All oils need to be kept cold. The ideal temperature is 65°F, although between 45°-65° is adequate.

  4. Cautions/Carriers: Without the appropriate training, most essential oils should not be put directly on the skin or taken internally as they can burn or irritate the skin, mouth, and stomach. Essential oils are combined with "carriers" such as cream or vegetable and nut oils (e.g., Almond oil, Grape seed, Wheatgerm, Avocado oil & Jojoba oil) and then applied to the skin (see dilutions below for blending guidelines). Caution is needed when using essential oils containing phenols or benzyl alcohols. These constituents that are naturally held within the plants are highly toxic to cats and should not be used. Phenols and benzyl alcohols are water soluble and rapidly absorb into the body, which may cause liver damage. Cats do not have an enzyme that assimilates the phenols and benzyl alcohols.


Dilutions: Depending on the specific oil and the situation, a total of 1-5 drops of essential oil goes into 1 oz. of carrier oil. These amounts vary based on the person for whom you are making the blend (see dilutions below) and on the strength of the specific oil you are using. For example, you can use several drops of Lavender to every 1 drop of Rose.

  1. Properties: Most essential oils, although highly concentrated, do not appear “oily”. As oils, they are lighter than water and highly fluid. They are primarily lipid (fat) soluble rather than water-soluble allowing for easy, fast penetration into the skin and bloodstream. Oils are absorbed through capillaries, lymph ducts or the lungs (when oils are inhaled). Once applied to the skin or inhaled, the body takes about 30-90 minutes to entirely absorb the essential oils. Strong blood circulation increases absorption rate.

  2. Where do you find them?: Essential oils may be found in virtually any part of the plant: seeds, flowers, fruit, leaves, stems, roots, bark, wood, needles and resins

  3. .Adulterant: A substance which was not originally present in the oil at the time of distillation added to an essential oil. An adulterant can be artificial or natural. Adulteration (the `stretching` or `extending`) of genuine essential oils, in order to increase profits or to `standardize` an oil, is apparently common practice within the essential oil industry. It seems `100% essential oil` on a label is NOT a guarantee that the contents are pure and genuine. (Alcohol, naturally occurring oil from one cheaper oil added to another..note different smells for same oil, vegetable oil)

  4. .Shelf Life: It is impossible to say exactly what an essential oil shelf life will be. The storage conditions will vary and make a significant difference. Note that if an essential oil begins to appear cloudy, thicker, or if it smells more acidic, it has likely begun to oxidize.


All oils are detoxifying and antiseptic.  All help strengthen immune system and equalize metabolism.  Energy in patient and energy in oil create healing. 


  1. Lavender(True): Single most important skin remedy: Treats ringworm, mange, mites, sunburn, wounds, bruises and burns. Also, respiratory disorders and a natural relaxant, calming oil. Can be used without dilution.

  2. Frankincense: Respiratory conditions including sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, also cystitis and other urinary problems. Calms, slows breathing. Good for phobias.

  3. Peppermint: Abdominal cramps, colic, colitis, flatulence, vomiting, fevers and sudden infections. DO NOT USE WITH OTHER HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES. TOO POWERFUL.

  4. Cedarwood(Atlas): Skin remedy for flaking and greasy skin, fungal infections and hair loss. This is an oil which will revive and uplift. Good for stress and tension.

  5. Eucalyptus: Respiratory conditions including asthma, coughs, sinusitis, throat. VERY DILUTED CAN IRRITATE THE SKIN.

  6. Basil: Good insect repellent, immune system booster, cramps. Uplifting for dull and depressed pets. MAKE SURE IT IS SWEET.

  7. Bergamot: Excellent for mouth and throat. Bad breath, sore gums, sore throat. Immune system. CAN SENSITIZE SKIN TO SUNLIGHT, SO AVOID USING FOR MASSAGE.

  8. Chamomile (German): Nerve pains, toothache and teething pains, insect bites and wounds. Muscular and join pains. Pain from abscesses and burns. Good for stress. Helps pet sleep.

  9. Chamomile (Roman): Anti-inflammatory oil, for dermatitis, rashes, inflamed joints and muscles and colitis. VERY SAFE TO USE BUT HAS OCCASIONALLY CAUSED SKIN REACTIONS.

  10. Germanium: Helps hormonal imbalances including adrenal gland problems. Ulcers, wounds and burns. Occasionally causes skin irritations with sensitive skin.

  11. Juniper: Skin, dermatitis, eczema, hair loss, overweight pet with stiff joints. DON’T USE ON PETS WITH KIDNEY DISEASE

  12. LEMON: Astringent, refreshing, good for warts, broken nails, poor feather or scale condition, ulcers and nosebleeds. An immune booster. CAN CAUSE PHOTOSENSITIZATION AND SKIN IRRITATION AFTER EXPOSURE TO SUN.

  13. Orange: Mouth ulcers, gingivitis, fluid retention, obesity, constipation, tendency to respiratory infections, dull, dry greasy skin. PHOTOSENSITIVITY

  14. Palmarosa: Scar tissue, loss of appetite, weakness and debility. Repeated intestinal infections.

  15. Patchouli: Skin remedy. Wet eczema, open sores, yeast. Cracks and fissures, wounds and bruises. Nervousness and anxiety.

  16. Neroli: Scars, diarrhea, shock, fright, depression. Ideal stress reliever.

  17. Rosemary: Fluid retention, severe cough, liver disease, jaundice. Immune booster. DO NOT USE ON EPILEPTIC PETS

  18. Tea Tree: antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral. Can be used undiluted on skin in most cases but can cause irritation.

  19. Valerian: Sleeplessness, anxiety, nervousness, restless and fears. Strong odor. SHORT TERM USE ONLY.

  20. Palo Santo: (Holy Stick) The oil is used for calming panic attacks and anxiety, and as a remedy for cough, colds, and asthma. Also effective for headaches and migraines, especially in combination with frankincense. Excellent for alleviating pain from tight muscles and restricted joints. The aroma supports meditation and deeper concentration.


  22. Lemon Balm: Lemon Balm is a considered to be a calming herb, and belongs to the mint family. It was used as far back as the Middle Ages to reduce discontentment, promote sleep, support appetite, and help support digestions.

  23. Oregano: Oregano is an aromatic herb, which exerts powerful anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral properties.


Methods of Administration

Massage and diffusion.  Some may be taken by mouth but this is not recommended because small amounts may be toxic.

Massage:  Good for dogs/cats.  Not optimal for scales, feathers or thick furred animals.  Very enjoyable.  Mix drop of oil with ½ tsp. carrier oil (wheatgerm, grape seed, sweet almond, sunflower).  The carrier allows absorption more easily.  Three or four minutes.  Repeat twice daily for four days, less if symptoms resolve.  Clean the skin well after massage to avoid the pet licking and swallowing oils.  Never apply directly on skin unless you are directed to do so.  


Diffusion:  Candle heating a small bowl of essential oil diluted.  Electric diffuser.  Soak cotton wool with diluted oil and place it out of pets reach in the room.  Dogs/cats for 15-20 minutes per day.


Smaller pets, less time.  A minute or two at a time.  Repeated until healing is complete.  

Avoid other homeopathy treatments when using:  Black pepper, camphor, eucalyptus and peppermint.

If pet swallows any oil, call your vet.

Cats can have a sensitivity to phenols, naturally occurring in cinnamon, sweet fennel, parsley seed, West Indian Bay, aniseed and clove.

The most common adverse skin reactions are:  benzoin, lemon eucalyptus, Melissa, tagetes, valerian and yarrow.  Cats and birds can react to tee tree. Birds very sensitive to smells.

All essentials okay for epileptic pets except fennel, hyssop, rosemary and Spanish sage.

NO OILS ON PREGNANT ANIMALS.  Prefer Release/Relax/Tranquil/Rescue Remedy.


Bach Rescue Remedy

Impatiens: For those who act and think quickly, and have no patience for what they see as the slowness of others. They often prefer to work alone. Teaches empathy and understanding of and patience with others. We've found it very fast-acting in alleviating an impatient attitude and lowering stress. 

Star of Bethlehem: For trauma and shock, whether experienced recently or in the past. Teaches the ability to recover from traumas and to integrate them into the present life. 

Cherry Plum: For those who fear losing control of their thoughts and actions and doing things they know are bad for them or which they consider wrong. Teaches trust in one's spontaneous wisdom and the courage to follow one's path. 

Rock Rose: For situations in which one experiences panic or terror. 

Clematis: For those who find their lives unhappy and withdraw into fantasy worlds. They are ungrounded and indifferent to the details of everyday life. Teaches one to establish a bridge between the physical world and the world of ideas; may foster great creativity. Is also used to bring clarity and alertness to the present moment.


Keep flees off the furniture, carpeting and wherever your pets may roam with a spritz of cedar. In a spray bottle, mix 5 drops of cedar essential oil for every tbsp of water and lightly spray wherever needed. Reapply once or twice a month to keep the fleas at bay.

Get fleas off of your pets by adding 20 to 30 drops of tea tree oil to your regular pet shampoo. Massage the shampoo thoroughly into the fur, reaching all the way to the skin, and then allow to set for 5 to 10 minutes. Rinse, and watch the fleas fall off.

Help to ensure that fleas do not return to their happy home, which is your pet. Soak a nylon collar with a 50/50 solution of water and eucalyptus oil. Allow the collar to dry and then place it on your pet. It's time to redose your pet's collar when you no longer note the scent, generally every two weeks or so.

Soothe minor skin irritations driving your pets crazy by mixing 2 Tbsp. of almond oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. Massage the oil mixture into skin irritations to help reduce itch, kill bacteria and even calm your best friend's nerves.

Make sure your pets are protected from ticks before they head out to the great outdoors. Combine a 50/50 solution of clove essential oil and water in a spray bottle, and cover your furry friend in a fine mist. If you will be accompanying your pet, this bug and tick repellent is a fine solution for you as well.


Reduce the itchy dander plaguing your pets with a splash of patchouli essential oil. Either mix 10 drops of oil with 2 Tbsp. of almond oil, massaging it into the skin, or add 20 to 30 drops into your pet's shampoo each time they receive a bath. Unlike tea tree oil, there is no need to allow the oil to set; however, it is important that you give your four-legged friend a deep, dander-lifting massage.


Ensure that you never hear that your home smells like dog again, by using bergamot oil, a natural deodorizer, two or three times a week on your sweet, yet not so sweet smelling pets. Once again, mix a 50/50 solution of bergamot and water, applying a light spritz when needed.


Oregano oil can be used to get rid of fleas; as you may know most commercial flea powders, sprays and shampoos are toxic and consequently may kill or debilitate you loving pet. Using Oregano Essential oil to treat with a bath. Use a mild pet shampoo or even baby shampoo, add 3-5 drops of Oregano Oil and Lemongrass oil or Citronella oil per cup of shampoo. Another alternative would be to add a few drops of Oregano oil and Lavender oil. This will drown the fleas and begin the repellent treatment. (Some pets may not like baths or cannot be bathed the following is also an effective treatment when applied twice weekly) While grooming your pets fur you may add a few drops to your palm (combined with coconut oil about a Tbsp) and and then massage it into their coat. Always massage along the grain of the fur, massaging against the grain will only flick the oil off and not allow it to get in contact with the skin. Remember most animals are even more sensitive to the effects of the oils than humans, they seem to have a natural affinity to the healing powers of the oils. It is recommended to use a slightly lower dosage on your pets or animals than you would upon yourself. Therefore dilute with some virgin coconut oil. Adding 2 or 3 drops of oregano oil to your pet’s fresh water daily will help them void most internal parasites. Applying a half dropper of oregano oil in each infested ear twice daily will cure ear mites. After applying the oregano oil into the ear, massage base of the ear for 30 seconds to distribute the oil. Remove any excess oil from around the ear and discourage your pet or other pets from licking the treated area. This infection should clear up in approximately one week.