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Essential oils are often described as the “life force” of the plant. They are comprised of very small molecules, which act like hemoglobin to transport oxygen and nutrients through the plant, and remove toxins and wastes.They are also the natural “artillery” of the plant, possessing powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-tumoral, and anti-inflammatory properties.

It’s no wonder that sick animals have often found healing by eating certain plants. Yet the essential oil, in its concentrated form (I.e.. once it has been extracted from the plant), is much more powerful than herbs. A very small amount can have an almost instant effect, quickly penetrating the skin to be absorbed into the blood stream and cells.


At the same time, the aroma of the oil can exert a powerful balancing effect on the limbic region of the brain (the centre of emotions), helping to calm and de-stress both animals and humans alike.


There are many different types of essential oil, each with their own unique qualities.

Vetiver is very stilling and calming to an overactive mind, and has been used by Dr. Terry Friedman (M.D.) in his research into ADD/ADHD in children.


Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea tree oil) is highly antiseptic. It can be used on open wounds, and has been studied by Dr. Eugene Sherry at the University of Sydney for its effects on MRSA.

Lavender oil has been used in hospitals and aged care facilities, because of its calming effects. Many patients report a lowering in agitation, and greatly improved sleep patterns when Lavender oil has been diffused.


One of my favorite online resources . You will find over 10,000 essential oil studies which have been published. This resource can also provide you with numerous research experiments currently underway for Frankincense oil and cancer. This includes research by Dr. Jaime Matta into the effects of Frankincense oil on breast cancer and by Dr. H. K Lin, University of Oklahoma, into Frankincense oil and bladder cancer.


Frankincense oil has also made its way into Vet medicine, with studies on its anti-tumoral effects in fleabaneeoorangecolouredhorses (where it is injected into the tumors).


I am a co-author with Dr. HK Lin on a basal cell carcinoma study.  With such encouraging results, essential oils and aromatic medicine are finding their way into Veterinarian practices and general animal care, as a method of treatment.


Many Holistic and Integrative veterinarians are incorporating essential oils with other modalities such as acupuncture, chiropractic, kinesiology, massage, Bowen, and animal training.


Not all essential oils are created equal. The importance of purity cannot be overstated. An essential oil can be labeled 100% pure under labeling guidelines with only 5% actual essential oil. Currently there is no oversight to guarantee the 5% essential oil used is the correct family and species of the plant.


You also would not be aware of solvents used in distillation or whether it is a first, second or third distillation. An example is lavender. The bottle may be labeled lavender when in fact it is a lavandin hybrid (lavandula x hybrid) which has a high camphor content not found in 100% pure therapeutic grade lavender (lavandula angustifolia).


Lavandin applied to a burn can take a first degree burn to a 3rd degree burn with one application. The family of the plant is accurate but not the species.


A common red flag of an adulterated essential oil is “external use only” on the label. Just as we eat plants, we cook with essential oils, drink them in our water and apply them to our body. The skin is the largest organ. What goes on the body goes into the body. This constitutes internal use.


lavender-piecesI only recommend the use of Young Living essential oils. This company is a world leader and developed the quality standard by establishing the seed to seal process. You can read more at My husband and I participated in the seed to seal process at one of the Young Living farms in Idaho. Witnessing the testing of each batch of essential oil was evidence of purity backing up Young Living’s highest quality standard.


A holistic veterinarian stated this past weekend during an aromatherapy class at her clinic, “Do not use store bought essential oils or those found on the internet without a proven track record on your animal. An adulterated essential oil can kill your animal. It could damage the liver and shut down the kidneys.”


When using aromatherapy, it is also essential for you to remember that a dog or cat's sense of smell is much more acute than our own. Signs that an aromatherapy treatment is too overwhelming for your pet are tearing eyes, sneezing, pacing or whining. Cats may lick themselves excessively and dogs may rub their head on the ground in order to escape the smell.


Essential oils are also frequently used as home remedies. Before you attempt to use aromatherapy on your own pets, keep in mind that essential oils are always diluted before they are applied to a pet's skin or sprayed on their coat.


Pure Almond oil, olive oil and jojoba oil are common base oils (lipid oils) to which a few drops of the essential oil is added. Pets can enjoy the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy as much as humans can.


Aside from possibly eliminating bad odors, essential oils also serve many practical functions. A few common everyday uses are supporting your pet's immune system, fighting off bacteria and viruses, preventing the growth of yeasts and molds and repelling insects.


There are numerous methods to provide aromatherapy for your animal companions. Topical, Inhalation, Diffusion, Spritzers, Internal added to water Mammoth-Serenity-essential-oil-diffuser1or food. One of my favorite methods is a petting technique using light massage. My dog and I both share the benefits of the essential oil together. I also diffuse essential oils daily using an ultrasonic diffuser.


Testimonial: I was a volunteer with the animals rescued after a F5 tornado in Oklahoma. The facility in which I was a volunteer received 200+ animals. I focused on the emotional trauma as well as some physical.


As time went on, we began to deal with kennel cough and upper respiratory infections. I fell quickly in love with a Boston we called Lovie. He was crated in an isolation room with a horrible cough. Lovie aka Hunter, had his own diffuser with essential oils to support his weak respiratory system.


I can still see him as he moved to put his nose in the healing vapor, which gave him relief from his cough. Sadly, we learned later he was heart worm positive. I know he was loved by all who worked with him at the facility and the forever family who loved and cared for him until he crossed the bridge.


I continue working with “fur kids” and their humans. My passion is helping rescues and fosters with the animals in their care often abused, emotionally traumatized, dumped due to skin conditions, anxiety and neglect.


About the Author: Beverly and Terry McClendon are Certified Clinical Aromatherapist experienced in Raindrop Technique, Energy Balancing and Reiki. Bev has extensive training working with humans and animals.

She is a published co-author on a basal cell carcinoma study using frankincense with Dr. HK Lin, University of Oklahoma and currently working with Dr. Lin on studies involving diabetes, nerve inflammation and breast cancer.

She currently works with two Integrative veterinarians as their essential oil educator and member of a veterinarian emergency disaster team.

Bev also teaches classes on natural remedies using essential oils for animals and their humans.


Resources: essential oil studies

Reference Guide to Essential Oils: Connie and Alan Higley

Animal Desk Reference: Melissa Shelton Dvm

Essential Oil Desk Reference: Life Science Publishing Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple: Dr. David Stewart essential oil testimonials


The Power of Essential Oils in Animal Care Disclaimer: The information provided is for educational purposes only and not meant to diagnose, treat or prescribe. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.