Amazing Animal Aromatherapy: Combining the use of essential oils with other alternative medical practices helps heal a variety of conditions affecting pets.
Mar 01, 2007 03:20PM
By Dr. Stephen R. Blake
Aromatherapy, which has become incredibly popular for treatment of human conditions, is equally suitable for animals. In my own practice, I find that combining the use of essential oils with other alternative medical practices helps heal a variety of conditions affecting pets. Of course, using essential oils with pets requires a somewhat different approach than with people.
As essential oils are derived from flowers, trees, roots, petals and various plant parts, no two oils are exactly alike. Still, their basic properties remain consistent. All provide antioxidants, are anti-microbial, and serve to detoxify the body.
Over the past five years I’ve discovered that essential oils can be administered to canines in several ways. I like to massage it into the pads of their feet once or twice a day, place oil inside the ears, or rub it along the spine.
Normally, I mix 30 drops of the selected oil with one ounce of cold-pressed almond oil, and place one drop on the pad of each foot. With this method, the oils absorb through the skin and into the blood within minutes. The dog doubly benefits as it breathes in the evaporating aroma.
Felines, on the other hand, prefer not to have oils applied directly to their skin. When working with cats, I use a diffuser and put it on their bedding or a placemat where they hang out.
Horses do well with applications to the ears and spine. For birds, I usually mist the cage with oils mixed with water. I use one drop of oil per one ounce of water and spritz the cage twice a day.
The main oils I use with animals have multiple benefits.
• Lavender – good for burns, salving wounds and calming the animal
• Frankincense – has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-tumor properties, also prevents scarring and works as an antidepressant
• Myrrh – fights infection, supports the immune system, helps counter hyperthyroidism, eczema and respiratory disease
• Purification – this blend of oils serves to detoxify both the patient and its surrounding environment
• Valor – this blend helps realign body, mind and spirit
• Helichrysum – reduces pain and regenerates tissue
• Lemon grass – aids repair of ligaments and joints
Rules of Application
It’s vital to know about oils before using them. Cinnamon bark, clove, lemon grass, oregano and thyme oils, for instance, can irritate skin and should always be diluted.
Generally, I find it helps to diffuse frankincense in my exam room before giving the patient a light massage with this same oil. Cats, dogs and horses all seem to respond well to this application, as it calms both caregiver and patient. I simply place a few drops in my hands, rub them together and then gently massage the animal for a few seconds. Frankincense’s protective properties simultaneously reduce the chance of my next patient being exposed to any contagions.
When dealing with a possible ligament or joint injury, I advise owners to massage the area with one drop of lemon grass diluted with one teaspoon of almond oil twice a day. Or lavender often can be used undiluted, depending on the animal’s individual response to the oil. Lavendar is an excellent oil to use on burns, eczema, insect bites, wounds or areas where there is excess itching.
For musculoskeletal cases, a blend of spruce, frankincense, rosewood and blue tansy (Valor) massaged into the pads on each paw works wonders. When the animal is placed on the floor, they’ll naturally shake themselves and, in the process, adjust their own spine.
Thoughtfully applied, essential oils allow any caregiver to take a proactive approach in maintaining pet health and forwarding healing. Such oils provide an effective complement to almost any healthcare regime.
Stephen R. Blake has been practicing Veterinary Medicine since 1973. He is certified as a Homeopathic Veterinarian and as a Veterinary Acupuncturist. To learn more visit: