Fragrances for Living Blog
Aromatherapy for Pets - What You Can or Cannot Do
At AromaTech, we are very proud of our 100% pure Essential and Aroma Oils. They are vegan, non-GMO and non-allergenic. Since they are free of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC), they're friendly for the environment too. On our website, you can read that AromaTech oils are also pet-friendly. Yet, rumors abound about aromatherapy for pets. Dogs would be fine, but cats and other small animals are in danger. Is aromatherapy safe for our four-footed friends, and in what way?
For cold air diffusion only
We have said this often and keep repeating it too because it is vitally important. AromaTech essential oils are neither for topical use nor to be ingested. Even though numerous mouthwatering recipes exist where you use "just a few tiny drops," our oils are meant for cold air diffusion only. We offer specialized high-quality diffusers for this purpose. These produce an ultra-dry mist so that your home always has a lovely, subtle smell. Thanks to this technology, our fragrance diffusers require only a fraction of what you'd need when heating or burning essential oils. For your pet, this fraction makes a huge difference.
Humans are different from dogs, and dogs are different from cats
Humans can safely use our essential oils if they keep in mind the advised quantities, and provided they diffuse our essential oils with a suitable scent machine such as one of our AromaTech diffusers. Under these conditions, dogs and other big pets too will experience only beneficial effects.
But what about small animals, and more importantly, what about cats? They don't have the necessary liver enzymes to metabolize specific essential oil components such as phenols, ketones, D-limonene and especially terpenes. Since terpenes, however, are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, that would make a multitude of plants potentially dangerous for cats. Would that mean we'd have to lock our feline friends inside so that they're protected against nature, the very environment where they thrive best?
Catnip, Mint, and Citronella
These potentially dangerous plants include catnip (Nepeta cataria). Have you ever seen how cats behave when they find catnip? They act as if they've ingested a love potion with a generous supplement of steroids. They love the smell of mint too, which also contains a lot of terpenes. So, if catnip and mint are truly dangerous, why is a cat attracted to them so? That wouldn't make sense, or would it?
Aromatherapy pioneer and cat-lover Robert Tisserand was confronted with the same question, and he researched the subject thoroughly. He concludes to let common sense prevail. He tells us, "A small amount of any essential oil, and a moderate amount of most, will not harm your cat." He counsels to keep the room well-ventilated, to diffuse tiny amounts for a limited period only, and to give the cat the freedom to leave the room if it wants.
It stands to reason that if your cat already has liver-problems, you put your diffuser off as soon as the animal enters the room. Besides, cats are extraordinarily smart creatures. Lemongrass essential oils often contain citronella, which is very dangerous to them, but the felines don't like the smell, so will avoid it anyway.
Also, should a mishap occur despite safety precautions, and your pet ingests some oil, call your veterinarian immediately.
Essential oil storage
Now that we have taken away your concern for your pets consider a word of advice on essential oil storage. Oils don't like extreme temperatures or repeated changes in temperature. Both industrially-extracted and cold-pressed oils are prone to oxidation, so always keep them in a cool and dark place. During the summer, when it’s hot, you can even put them in your refrigerator. However, if the temperature is below 5° C, the oil may become cloudy and even solidify. Allowing it to get back to room temperature will solve this problem, and you'll have a clear oil again that smells as wonderful as before. If an oil isn't stored correctly, it turns rancid and loses its beneficial characteristics. Your pet may be the first to notice when this happens.
The effects of a specific oil or blend on your pet
Now that you are reassured that our essential oils are indeed pet-friendly, you want to know which one you should use. Many of the effects which essential oils have on you, will have the same effect on your pets.
- Lavender: This scent ambassador from the French Provence promotes calmness, reduces stress and nervousness. It is antiseptic and soothes a persistent cough if you have a cold. Our Lullaby essential oil blend may be all a newly-adopted pet needs to feel at home.
- Chamomile too is calming. Consider diffusing our Serenity essential oil blend if your dog has a nest of impatient and impetuous puppies.
- Mint and Eucalyptus: These help to elevate your mood, increase mental stimulation, and make you more alert. We have already said that some cats adore these scents. Mint Motion aroma and essential oil blend may have them running up and down a room, chasing their tail, playing as if they were kittens again.
- Bergamot: Adored for its lemony flavor, bergamot is used to treat stress, depression, and Our Bergamot Orange aroma and essential blend has these characteristics and is deodorizing at the same time.
A matter of taste?
Not all pets like all scents. Even if you have two dogs, one may like the aroma of cedarwood, while the other hates it. Scientists have yet to uncover the mystery of why some pets like or dislike specific smells.
Remember that our nose is directly connected with our limbic system which offers us responses to any queries about our survival. If a specific smell brings out a particular reaction in you, consider that this may be the same for pets. Animals have a limbic system too, and in general, they know what is best for them. So, even though you may not understand some of their reactions, go ahead and trust them, and simply experiment a bit with our essential oils until you've found a scent or a blend which pleases them as much as it pleases you.