Poor-Quality Essential Oils
With proper knowledge, using essential oils is safe, says Troutman, who adds that essential oils have many therapeutic benefits including relieving muscle aches and arthritis pain, relieving itch or other skin disorders and deterring insects and other pests.
Many veterinarians safely use essential oils on hundreds of patients with great success, she says. However, using low-quality oils can pose a problem.
“Poor-quality oils are extracted with chemical solvents. This process can leave toxic residues in the oils that are impossible to completely remove. These, in addition to other synthetic chemicals that may be present in these products, can be very harmful to pets,” she says.
Her rule of thumb? If it’s safe for humans to ingest, it’s usually safe to use topically on a pet. Anything labeled “Not for internal use” or “Aromatherapy only” is not safe to use on pets, she says.
Troutman recommends contacting an integrative vet with essential oil questions, especially if you live with a feline, as cats can be more sensitive to certain oils than dogs.
With veterinary guidance, holistic treatments can be a useful part of your companion’s wellness plan. Remember that animals are individuals, and what works well for one may be a disaster for another – so it’s always a good idea to run any alternative treatment past your vet.