Essential Oils for Your Pet (and you, too!)
Thanks to some health challenges my dogs have faced, I’ve learned more about natural pet care and holistic companion animal nutrition than I ever thought possible. My education came from my holistic veterinarian, independent study and personal experiences. My dogs benefited from holistic veterinary care that included chiropractic, acupuncture and acupressure, homeopathic remedies, Chinese herbal medicine, and medical-grade essentials oils, and we can too!
Essential oils are the powerful and concentrated compounds distilled from the leaves, stems and/or flowers of plants. These distillates have been used for centuries dating back to 4500 BC. People and pets today use essential oils to repel insects, ease emotional stress, cure diseases, detoxify, and replace missing nutrients from processed foods. Essential oils can reduce the need for conventional antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications, as many oils possess anti-infective and pain-relieving properties. Using essential oils instead of household cleaning products helps to reduce chemical exposure and sensitivities. Some oils even kill molds and dust mites, reducing indoor allergies.
I’d like to share with you some of my favorite essential oils and blends of oils, which I have used to help myself and my dogs over the years.
Lavender: Considered the “Swiss Army knife” of essential oils, Lavender has a wide range of uses and benefits! Diffuse in the air and use as aromatherapy to minimize seasonal discomfort from pollen, dander and dust mites. Lavender relieves emotional stress by calming the body and mind. Apply topically to soothe skin irritations and itching, and to cleanse and speed healing of superficial wounds.
Peppermint: Diffuse for mental clarity and an energy boost, before or after exercise or a long hike. Peppermint oil promotes a healthy respiratory system and easier breathing. It also aids digestion, and can be added to water or tea to soothe an upset stomach.
Wintergreen, Clove, Peppermint and Helichrysum: Together in a blend called PanAway (Young Living Essential Oils), this is wonderful for the relief of sprains, bruises, muscle and joint pain.
Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus and Rosemary: Together in a blend called Thieves (Young Living Essential Oils), this blend is antiviral, antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal. Thieves can be diffused in the air, applied topically (must be diluted in a carrier oil first, as these oils are very strong), taken internally (in Inner Defense gelcaps), and used to cleanse and disinfect the home in the form of Thieves All-Purpose Cleaner. Thieves blend is also found in throat lozenges, toothpaste, hand wipes and sanitizer, laundry and dish soaps, and more. See the entire Thieves product line here.
Citronella, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Lavender, Myrtle and Melaleuca: Together in a blend called Purification (Young Living Essential Oils), these oils deodorize and purify the air by when diffused. Purification is also great to apply to insect and tick bites, bee and wasp stings, and minor cuts and scrapes to cleanse and disinfect. Purification can also be applied to the skin (diluted) and clothing, to repel biting flies and mosquitoes.
Some tips on using essential oils include:
- Diffuse essential oil in a professional diffuser, or through a humidifier by placing several drops of oil on a cotton ball, gauze pad or tissue placed at the vapors’ exit area. Mix a few drops with hot water in a mini crock-pot. Soak a cotton pad or gauze with essential oil, and place inside the air vents at home, your office and at hotels. Use few drops on a cotton ball at your bedside or pillow, or directly on a corner of your carpet. Remember, start with small doses and duration of diffusing until you and your pet get used to aromatherapy.
- Topically, applied either directly (after testing a spot) or diluted in a carrier oil such as olive, almond or jojoba oil, or vegetable glycerin. Avoid contact with eyes or sensitive skin areas, mucous membranes, etc.
- Inhalation directly from the bottle or a drop or two on your palms.
Some tips on making your own natural cleaning products include:
- Furniture Polish: Emulsify in your blender 2 parts olive oil and one part lemon juice. Apply, wipe and dry.
- Oven Cleaner: Scrub your cooled oven with a paste of baking soda, salt and water, then apply lemon juice and leave on for at least one hour. Wipe down with plain water.
- Drain Cleaner: Pour boiling water down the drain weekly followed by a solution of ½ baking soda and ½ distilled vinegar. Allow this mixture to rest in the drain for a few minutes, then flush with running water.
Essential Oils Desk Reference, from Essential Science Publishing