October 02, 2019 2 min read

There are a lot of opinions out there when it comes to how, when, and if one can use aromatherapy for cats and dogs or any animal.  The issue is simple, yet complicated.

In regard to cats, Holistic Veterinarian Melissa Shelton, DVM, “Indeed, cats are sensitive; however, there is a wealth of information available to show that cats are tolerating proper use of essential oils is far more current, and overwhelming in amount.  Millions of people are using essential oils almost daily in their homes.  Almost 63% of these homes contain animals.  The simple evidence is that in the absence of gross misuse and overdose of essential oils, they really are quite safe.”

Essential oils can be very helpful with our cats and dogs, especially for emotional and first-aid type situations. The most essential key in aromatherapy for any use is to stay within your personal skill and knowledge level.  This applies to animals.   You must know how to properly dilute the essential oil, and when to seek qualified help from a veterinarian.

The selection of the right essential oil with proper dilution for a particular outcome is required.  There are many references online or in book form that can help you with this.  Seek out the recommendations of a Holistic Veterinarian, one who uses not only western medicine but alternative therapies as well.  Two Holistic Veterinarians I like are Janet Roark, DVM and Melissa Shelton, DVM.  Dr. Shelton stated, “I can honestly say, essential oils were a game-changer for how I practiced medicine and surgery.”   She has written two books. Her most recent, ADR II, (The Animal Desk Reference), second edition, Essential Oils for Animals.   In it, you will find recommendations by Dr. Shelton for use on small and large animals for all kinds of emotional and physical conditions that can be treated right in your home, using essential oils and following specific dilution guidelines and instructions.

I believe aromatherapy to be safe, if used properly, for our beloved pets. Remember that dogs especially are sensitive to smell. Stop using anything that you sense is bothering your pet. Never isolate your pet in a room that they cannot leave when using aromatherapy.   Start slowly by using more dilution.  If you use too much for too long, your pet may associate the smell with something they don’t like, and it will be harder to use oils with the pet in the future. Your pet will let you know when they like oil and when they don’t.

If you have a question about the use of essential oils, I’d be happy to address it at

Rhonda Barker, CA