top 5 essential oils for pets + animals

Do you use your oils on your pets? How did you decide which oils to use? Do you let your pet or animal choose?

Essential oils are extremely popular now, and with that, we need to increase our awareness on how we can use them with our beloved pets. Our furry besties are getting the benefits of our essential oil use, and possibly being affected by them.  

Certain texts dating back hundreds of year’s reference using plant extracts on animals. Dr. Louis Sevelinge generally is credited with developing veterinarian aromatherapy in the 1940s, and in 1993, the French veterinarian Nelly Grosjean wrote the first book dedicated to the use of essential oils with animals.

While Dr. Louis Sevelinge and Nelly Grosjean get a lot of recognition in the “oils and animals" area, Caroline Ingraham began extensively studying the use of essential oils alongside veterinarians and developed the incredibly safe and effective method known nowadays as Applied Zoopharmacognosy . (Translation from Greek roots: animal-medicine-knowledge). This method states that animals have an innate ability to know what they need for health.

Let’s back up a little… What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are secondary metabolites produced by plants as part of their health and defense systems. When we inhale, we absorb these essential oils and their evaporating constituents into the brain. The sense of smell is connected to the limbic system of the brain.

--> The Limbic System is where emotions, memory, and certain regulatory functions of the body are found. Thus, essential oils simultaneously work on the physical level and the emotional level.

How does Applied Zoopharmacognosy work? This method states that animals have an innate ability to know what they need for health. 

---> When working with essential oils, we use this natural instinct and allow the animal to choose what products they prefer. This method is safe, effective, and simple, and it strengthens the bond between you and your animal.

How does the choosing work? 

You keep the lid on the essential oil and let them smell it. Their "choice" or a positive sign looks like prolonged sniffing, interest, or even licking.

A negative choice will be completely ignoring it, barely giving it a sniff, or actual avoidance.

Do not force a product on an animal as it can cause stress. Adverse effects may result by forcing essential oils on an animal. 

Horses, Dogs, and Cats

🐴 Horses // Horses tend to respond very well to essential oils since they are herbivores and have metabolic pathways to break down most oils. They also tend to prefer the inhalation and licking methods used with oils.

🐶 Dogs // Dogs also tend to prefer inhalation and licking methods.

🐱 Cats // Cats do not have metabolic pathways to break down most essential oils. Essential oils can still be safe to use though. Be sure to let them choose their own oils. Cats are even more discerning than dogs. This means your cat will probably tell you exactly what he/she wants. If you have any concerns, you can consult your veterinarian. 

General Rules of Thumb! 👍👍

Animals, due to all their hair follicles, have an increased rate and amount of absorption, so I would use plenty of carrier oil when applying any oil.

Err on the cautious side. Cats should have carrier oil dilution, around 8 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of EO, and dogs under 25 pounds should have 5 drops of carrier oil to 1 drop of EO. You can always dilute further in the beginning. 


If you are diffusing or using oils for yourself while your pets are around, make sure there is an open door or window so they can leave.  

Do you know a cat that will stay put when it does not like something going on? I did not think so. With all the hype going around about essential oils and cats, I understand people are very sensitive and cautious.

The three most important things when being cautious on behalf of your pet while using oils are to check the quality of oil (not all are created equal), letting your pet choose, and providing an out.

Here are my top 5 essential oils to use with your furbaby.

  1. Lavender → Well, just as lavender can be calming to you and me, it can be to your animal as well. Other uses // soothes skin + great before going outside.

  2. Cedarwood → Can be calming and grounding.

  3. Frankincense → Incredibly grounding, calming, and soothing to the skin.

  4. Geranium→ Mix with Cedarwood and Lavender for an outdoor spray. Supports healthy skin. Can be balancing and grounding.

  5. Citrus Fresh™ → Citrus Fresh is relaxing and calming and it smells SO good. Think citrus with a hint of mint. Get tired of that "dog" or "cat" smell? Try creating a DIY Freshening Spray // Add 20 drops of Citrus Fresh or your oil of choice to distilled water in a 4 oz spray bottle. If you notice your pet is avoiding the Citrus Fresh spray, either you can use that to your advantage (to keep the cat off the couch) or switch to a different oil to freshen the air such as Purification, Lavender, or anything else you enjoy.  

I don’t know about your dog, but our dog, Jasmine, can get a funky smelling collar. Before you throw it out, try this DIY dog collar odor remover and freshener recipe. It’s best to do a doggie bath before placing the collar back on ;)

don’t throw away your dog’s stinky collar until you try this DIY dog collar odor remover and freshener recipe.

don’t throw away your dog’s stinky collar until you try this DIY dog collar odor remover and freshener recipe.

What other things do you all normally do to protect your furbabies?!

Thank you so much for investing the time to learn more about how to find wellness. You and your loved ones deserve health and wellness, and I want to see you achieve it.

Learn more about the YL Animal Scents Line - specifically designed for your furry bestie.

With Love & Gratitude, 

Here you'll find step-by-step instructions on how to purchase high quality essential oils from the only company I trust! 

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Hello! I’m Jess – mama to Reese and Kiera, wife to Rich, an environmental scientist, a nature lover and wellness broker. My passion is helping people and nature, both in my professional career and in my personal life. I have spent my career helping bridge the gap between commercial development and preserving nature. Essential oils have become my way to do the same between all the commercial products in our home and creating simple, products on my own. This blog shares my journey to a more natural lifestyle using essential oils, including the science behind essential oils, DIY recipes, tips, and ways to save money using plant-based alternatives. Check out my free email course ditch + switch – natural living with plant based products and learn the steps you need to take to kick those toxins to the curb.

*I am not a doctor or veterinarian. I am not here to diagnose, treat, or cure any of your (or your pets!) illnesses. The content I cover is for informational purposes only.

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