The ON!ST community is made up out of diverse pawtivists, who come together to create a happy, healthy and sustainable world for our pets! Today we are honored to spotlight and celebrate an incredible woman in our own community, Kim Douven. She will share the knowledge she gained over the years on essential oils for pets with us.
Kim Douven, Mom of many rescue dogs & cats | Essential oil enthusiast.
"I started looking for natural remedies to help one of my senior rescues “Puk”. Because the mainstream medicine could no longer help him, we were on the verge of putting him down, until a drop of essential oil changed the course of his life. I was amazed by the effect that real essential oils can have! Since then, Puk sleeps through the night without waking up from the pain. That is why I have made it my mission to support all dogs with natural healing methods as much as I can. So, I am happy to share my personal experience and advice with you in this blog*. I will tell you about three essential oils that are a great way to calm you pet when exposed to stressors, how they can be applied, how to choose other effective oils, and things to watch out for."
Three calming essential oils
When you companion animal is exposed to a new environment or a situation that has a previous negative association, they could feel anxious. Therefore, I will share three calming essential oils with you that can help you four-legged friend relax.
Is made from a tree and its effect is heavily underestimated. All tree oils have a grounding effect and copaiba oil is also rich in beta-caryophyllene the same active ingredient as in CBD oil contributing to its calming effect and reducing anxiety (Curio et al., 2009). Copaiba oil can be ingested orally and inhaled through a diffuser. Be sure to pay attention to the purity of this oil and the credibility of the brand. This essential oil is especially useful during exciting periods such as moving or boarding.
Ylang Ylang oil
is a floral oil that has a relaxing effect and reduces blood pressure (Hongratanaworakit et al., 2004; Hongratanaworakit et al., 2012; Watanabe et al., 2013). Ylang Ylang oil is mainly used for its smell, it can be applied to the skin however the smell is quite strong, so it is best to inhale or defuse it. Another great application is to apply a diluted mixture to the ears or to the paw pads (Ylang Ylang is a very safe oil so it fine if you pooch licks it off).
It is a citrus oil and great for animals that have tics or are frightened (Han et al., 2017; Sanguinetti et al., 2011). This oil can also stimulate appetite, which is useful if your pet if they have stopped eating in a stressful new situation (such as a move to a new home). Applying citrus oil to the skin can trigger photosensitivity (sun allergy). It is therefore safer to vaporize in a water-based diffuser, which also happens to be a great way clean the air. Bergamot oil may be ingested as well but this is more often applied to bigger animals such as horses. So, it is completely safe if your pets were to lick off some of this oil.
Applications of essential oils
Did you know that essential oils enter the limbic system (specific set of brain structures) through the nose? This part of the brain that determines our state of mind and we have loads of influence on it through essential oils. These oils can be applied in various ways.
Some oils can be ingested. Think of herbs and flowers that are also used to make tea, such as Chamomile or Lavender. Instead of tea we can put these oils in their food. One drop is enough!
Be careful: essential oils are incredibly concentrated, less is more!
Applying oils to the skin
Oils can also be applied directly to the skin (or ears which will give them a wonderful scent for a long time). It is best for our four-legged friends to dilute the oils first with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil because oils are very concentrated and could otherwise irritate the skin. Examples of powerful oils that should always be diluted are oregano, thyme, cloves, and cinnamon. Especially when you are new to the world of essential oils, always dilute them to see how your pet responds first. Another safe skin application option are 'Touch rollers’ these are ready-made rollers that are already diluted.
In addition, all oils can be inhaled through water-based vaporizers. Note that it is not wise to put oils in a burner, as this changes the chemical composition. Vaporizing essential oils through a diffuser is the safest method for all animals and fills the entire room with the desired aroma. Again, less is more so a few drops are enough. It is also important that our pets can always leave the room when the diffuser is on. Because animals smell much better and stronger than we do, and the aromas trigger an emotional effect. This way they can leave the room if the aromas are unpleasant for them.
Choosing effective oils for your pet
My vision is that all animals are different (just like us) and we therefore need different things. What works well for one person may cause problems for another. Just like perfume, the scent can be slightly different for everyone. This all depends on your mood sometimes you need something calming, other times you want something uplifting and that impacts how your brain processes scent. That is why I let the animals choose their own oil. You do this by letting them smell a closed bottle (An open bottle gives so much smell that it can trigger an adverse response).
What to watch out for when buying essential oils
Only use pure essential oils
The most important thing to pay attention to is that you use pure essential oils. Unfortunately, 80% of the essential oil on the market have been manipulated during their production process and many oils are even entirely synthetic. This is because it is cheaper to produce synthetically. An easy way to recognize synthetic/manipulated oils are their price. Imagine you buy a bottle of Sandalwood for 10 euros. To make a bottle of pure essential sandalwood oil, you need several trees. Would several trees only costs 10 euros in total? Another example is flower oil, you need more than thousands of kilos of flower pedals to make rose oil, would that only costs 10 euros? These artificial oils do not only have a different effect than pure essential oils, but they can also be dangerous!
Use ethically sourced oils
The oils I personally use are not only pure, but they are also fair, cruelty-free and therapeutically certified. Every tree is treated with respect and replanted. When growing resin (such as for Frankincense essential oil), no more is taken than is feasible for the tree. This way these trees can continue to grow.
I hope to have given you some useful tips for your four-legged friends! Feel free to ask me for advice, you can find me on instagram (kimz_kruiden). Here I share a lot of oil tips every day.
- (Curio et al., 2009) - The calming effect of copaiba oil
- (Hongratanaworakit et al., 2004; Watanabe et al., 2013) - The relaxing effect of aroma therapy
- (Hongratanaworakit et al., 2012) - Antimicrobial activity of blended essential oil preparation
- (Han et al., 2017; Sanguinetti et al., 2011) - Calming Effect of bergamot essential oil
Do you have a lot of experience, passion and/-or knowledge on a certain topic that you would like to share with the ON!ST community? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Medical disclaimer - The content available through this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a health care professional in diagnosing and treating your four-legged friends. ON!ST does not give medical advice, nor does it provide medical services. The content obtained by you at or through this blog is reliant on the use of your own common sense.