Aromatherapy for Pets


      Many pets can be successfully aided by essential oil dilutions. Their enhanced sense of smell allows a small amount of a dilution to make a great effect. Diluted essential oils can be sprayed in a room or on the pet’s bed. A light application of a aroma blend can be stroked onto the flank or rubbed onto the ears of a pet.

            I have successfully used aromatherapy on farm animals and horses in very diluted blends. My first client, when I moved into my present location, was a piglet. An aroma blend applied to her ears allowed the piglet to successfully suckle and thrive. At a later date, an aroma essence blend calmed an otherwise uncontrollable horse, allowing the horse to be trained for a rider. The most challenging blend was made for a dairy cow that would not allow the farmer to milk her. Within four days, the cow relaxed and the farmer happily milked her. I felt like I had unlocked a secret of Nature.

            Birds are the least likely to respond to aromatherapy by smell alone. When I have made aroma blends for birds, they responded with light topical application or spray. I used a spray close to a bird that kept plucking all his features. It took close to three weeks to stop the habit, spraying twice daily.

            Sometimes, the best way to use aromatherapy for a pet is to wear the blend. Cats and dogs respond quickly to an owner’s scent. Usually, if the owner likes the scent, so will the pet. It’s a good idea to try a blend on yourself and introduce it to the pet. It doesn’t always work.

            My son, Jason, had one kitten that did not respond well to me when I wore a calming blend. He was so active he seemed to fly around the room, terrorizing visiting clients. Determined, I worked on a calming combination of essential oils and essences. The next time he flew past me, I sprayed the air, but not the kitten. Within minutes, he was snoring, curled contently in a corner. The aroma changed the habit, but not the spirited personality of the kitten, correctly named Gizmo.

            Another example of aromatherapy helping a pet is the story of Mom. Mom is a chow border-colley mix. She was a stray dog who had puppies on my property. The five puppies were delightful and quickly adopted by friends and neighbors. However, the animal protection agency told me Mom was unadoptable, wild and unmanageable. I believed Mom was homeless and afraid. Her actions led me to believe she had been mistreated and beaten previously. Mom quickly adapted to her new home. I used aromatherapy to release fear and trauma. I sprayed near her flanks with an aroma blend. She liked the scent and we’ve been friends ever since.

Tips for Pet Therapy

            Lavender is a relaxing essential oil that calms cats and dogs very quickly. I recommend a blend to have on hand when strangers, storms, and car rides stress your pet.

Calming Lavender Blend

Combine 2 drops of Lavender (Lavendula species)

1 ounce of Sweet Almond Oil

Allow to cure 3 hours. Massage 1 or 2 drops of the blend on the index finger and thumb. Gently rub the fingers onto the top inside of the pet’s ears. Repeat one time if necessary to calm the pet.

            Essential oils can be safely diluted for an insect repellent. Spray or apply topically the following recipe before the pet leaves the house or apartment. The bedding can also be sprayed once or twice a week. Only spray or apply essential oil blends as needed.

Insect Repellent

In 8 ounces of water, add

4 drops of Lemon Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Citriodora)

4 drops of Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus)

2 drops of Cedarwood (Juniperus mexicana or virginiana)

2 drops of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)

Cap and bottle the repellent. Turn the bottle upside down to blend the repellent before misting or topically applying. Apply the repellent to the flanks and ears of the pet. One application daily should be sufficient.


If the pet is suffering from insect bites an oil base application will calm the itch. This blend will also calm itchy skin and avoid inflammation and bald spots.

Itchy Skin Blend

In 2 ounces of sweet almond or jojoba oil add

4 drops of Lavender (Lavendula species)

2 drops of Sandlewood (Santalum album)

2 drops of German Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla)

1 drop of Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Allow to cure 3 hours, if possible. Apply topically to itchy or infected skin 2 times daily.


Muscle Pain or Arthritis

In 2 ounces of Sweet Almond or Olive oil add

5 drops of Peppermint (Mentha peperita)

2 drops of Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

2 drops of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

1 drop of Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)

Allow to cure 3 hours or cap and shake once or twice to blend. Apply on painful area 2 times daily, avoiding eyes and broken skin.