How Do Essential Oils Effect Pets?

DoTerra Essential Oil

Pet Care

We pet owners love our pets as part of the family and want to share the healing powers of the oils with them as well. We just need to remember that their bodies are built a little different than ours… here are some important tips to remember when caring for your 4 legged friends.



Cats seems to indicate that they are highly sensitive to pine, melaleuca and citrus oils. So sensitive, in fact, that it could be toxic to them by prolonged inhalation or even small amounts topically.


We have heard a lot about the effects of essential oils on people, but I have had great results with Serenity blend on our cat when she was in a stressful situation.  The first time I tried using it on the scruff of her neck was when I needed to take her to the groomer because she was so matted.  Butterscotch is usually meowing and roaming around the car whenever she goes somewhere, and shedding like mad!! After a few drops of Serenity she just laid on my lap in the car!  When we got to the groomers she was so relaxed we actually had to turn her over to get to the other side!!!  It made the whole trip so easy!!!

A few months later we had a vet appointment so I did the same.  I have to say that I only used about three drops on the scruff again.  We had the same  outcome; she was so relaxed the staff at the office commented on what a good, calm kitty she is!  I told them about the Serenity blend and they were really impressed.  In fact, one of the office staff bought a bottle!!! – Kelly


My cat had a gum infection and I rubbed a blend of  Oregano, Frankincense, and OnGuard… diluted with Olive Oil… (3 drops of each oil and a tablespoon of Olive Oil) and it did wonders for him! It caused him to not be so happy with me and he drooled for a little bit… but I noticed a huge difference in his ability to eat and less swelling that evening. -Allyson



Here are some important things to remember when you intend to use essential oils on your dog.

·  Dog’s sense of smell is extremely sensitive. Do not apply the oils directly on or around your dog’s nose or eyes. What smells good to you may be very irritating to your dog, especially if he cannot escape the smell. Try the bottoms of the paws (between the pads) or the ear flap or back of the neck.

·  Be cautious about using stimulant-type oils with your dog if she is pregnant, ill or epileptic. Research your oil for possible side effects before you use it.

·  Always dilute your oils and start with the smallest dose possible until you know how your dog will react. Test the oil by holding the bottle out for him and see his reaction. Let your dog decide if he wants the oil! My dog Willow runs to me when I use Balance and Frankincense and I always share with her.

The book, Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals, by Kristen Leigh Bell, has the 20 best and worst oils for dogs. A few examples include:

Best: Lavender, Geranium, Basil, Bergamot, Roman Chamomile, Eucalyptus and Frankincense.

Worst: Cassia, Oregano, Birch, Camphor and Wintergreen. -Tanya Swanson


“TerraSheild and Melaleuca both have anti-parasitic properties and should help with fleas. I often put 5 drops on a bandanna and tie it around my dog’s neck. You might also try applying a drop to the bottom of their paws.” – doTERRA Diva, Facebook


“Purify essential oil can be used to sooth and cleanse a pet’s skin from abrasions, cuts and insect bites. It is also great when added to a pet’s shampoo for eliminating odors.” – Allicia Johnson


One of our dogs has had seizures since she was a pup.  She has been diagnosed with epilepsy.  We have done a lot of things holistically to help her but finally this year had to revert to a synthetic drug after she had two sets of horrific seizures that wouldn’t stop.  The vet both times had to put her under and keep her for a couple of days.  It was so hard to see her go through this that we have talked about putting her down if the seizures return though we could hardly bare the thought.

The last few days she has been sick, not eating and very lethargic.  Yesterday she vomited a lot and so I gave her DigestZen and peppermint.  She didn’t throw up after the oils.  But in the middle of the night the dreaded seizures started again.  We have gone through this with her so many times through the years we knew exactly the symptoms and what was coming.  When it goes so far, we know it is going into one seizure after another and the only way to help her is to get her to the vet and put her under.   We always hold her and try to console her.

My husband had her and said, “Here it comes.  This is going to be bad.”  I grabbed frankincense and lemongrass and rubbed a drop of each on each paw – in and around.  The seizure immediately stopped!  Then I gave her lavender which calmed her down.

We were both in awe the seizures stopped so quickly, especially after reaching the point of “no return!”.   She slept peacefully through the night and is fine today, no nausea, no seizures.   I am very grateful for these oils.

 (a few weeks later) – During Thanksgiving our dog had another cluster seizure.  We were in Idaho visiting family and she was outside and no one saw her start seizing.  We have no idea how long it had been going on when her sister made enough racket to call attention to the problem.  We got the dog in the house and as before, grabbed the frankincense and lemongrass and applied one drop each to her paw.  Immediately the seizure stopped.  Lest anyone question whether the last experience with the seizures and these oils was just a fluke, there can’t be any question now!  These oils are amazing. The only downside for me is that people are sick of hearing me talk about them.  So THANKS EVERYTHING ESSENTIAL for providing a safe outlet for my testimonials. -Debbie Huckstep


Check out this video on how the Dog Whisperer helps to calm an anxious dog with essential oils….



How can essential oils benefit my horse?

Nervousness/anxiety relief
Training support
Insect repellent
Wound care, muscle care, fractures, hoof rot and infection care
Strengthen the human-animal bond

Which oils are useful to my horse? 

Anxiety/Nervousness- Serenity blend, Lavender, Frankincense, Roman Chamomile, Juniper, Bergamot Focus- Basil, Lemon, Cypress, Wild Orange

Hoof Rot- Blend 1 drop Roman Chamomile, 1 drop Thyme, and 1 drop Melissa in 1 tsp. fractioned coconut oil and apply on location.

Infection- On Guard blend

Leg Fractures- Ginger (dilute and apply with a hot compress wrapped around leg).

Muscle Tissue- Apply equal parts lemongrass and lavender on location and wrap to help regenerate torn muscle tissue.

Insect repellent- TerraShield blend Wounds- Helichrysum

How do I use the oils on my horse?

Give your horse the choice. If your horse turns away from the scent of an oil, she may be telling you it’s the wrong oil. Never apply an oil directly to your horse’s nose…as it may be too strong and they will have no relief from it. Always dilute the oils with a carrier oil or cream.

Physical problems require topical use: 1-2 drops of EO  (Essential Oil) diluted in 1 tsp of fractioned coconut oil or other carrier oil is usually plenty. You can reapply the oils as needed. The oils will follow the hair follicle up into the bloodstream.

Emotional problems are better tackled aromatically. Place a few drops in your hands and rub them together slowly. Cup your hands and hold them under your horse’s nose. If you have chosen the correct oil, you should see a difference almost immediately



 Extreme caution should be taken when birds are involved. Tea Tree (or Melaleuca) oil is extremely toxic to birds (including parrots.) Inhaling, absorbing, or ingesting are all lethal. Pine oils can also be hazardous. Parrots are much more sensitive to inhalants than many other animals. The aromas of the oils can cause distress as well.

If you are using oils near a bird, and the bird appears to be in distress, get the bird to fresh air immediately, and consult with your avian veterinarian. has some information on using oils near birds, but it is not a comprehensive site. (I do not represent the website in any way, I’ve merely stumbled across it in looking for resources in regards to parrots & oils.) – Amy Meade



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5 CommentsLeave a comment

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  2. I’m concerned that I’m seeing all these comments about using EO’s on cats. The leading expert on essential oils and animals (I want to say her name is Dr. Bell?) Teaches that EO”s of any kind are unsafe for cats, and that only hydrosols should be used! And the one comment about using oregano on a cat really scared me because I’ve always been taught that oregano should not be used with dogs at all, and I’m concerned about using it on cats since using oils at all is not recommended! There doesn’t seem to be enough education for IPC’s about essential oils and cats.

  3. I agree. Everyone should be very careful when using essential oils on cats. They are very different from dogs to where some cats have even died from having essential oils applied to them. Hydrosols are the best for cats – they can be blended as essential oils. I do a Pet Care class to eduction other IPC’s in my area. I would feel awful to find out that someone’s cat has passed because they did not take precautions. If you don’t have access to hydrosols then just remember to dilute two or four times more then you would for a small dog or infant baby.

  4. Anyone know about oils for dogs (eyes) cataracts?

  5. I have a cocker spaniel that always suffers from ear infections – they smell – as well as exremely dry skin – she licks her paws a lot – and I feel like it is for the pain from her ear infections – yeast – is there anything I can do to relieve her discomfort?

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