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Aromatherapy for Animals – Dogs, Cats, Horses & Llamas

Aromatherapy for Animals – Dogs, Cats, Horses & Llamas

Using essential oils and botanicals with dogs, cats, horses, llamas and other animals is a hot and uncertain topic for many pet owners. How do you know what to use, how much to use, and in what way to help and not harm your pet? That is the BIG question.

In my 20 years of experience, I have successfully used essential oils safely with my dogs, cats, horses & llamas. It comes down to practicing 5 main factors to “aromatherapy responsibly” with pets.


5 Main Factors to Consider When Using Essential Oils with Animals

  1. Education in essential oil uses, benefits, safety & application practices – Know what you are using, how it works, what happens when there is a reaction, and how to manage and effects (good and bad).
  2. Usage of specific essential oils – Many essential oils are safe for animals but knowing their potency, chemistry and contraindications will be key.
  3. Dilution ratio & quantity of those specific oils used – More is NOT better, it’s actually the opposite. Using small amounts, highly diluted that match up to the specific need at hand.
  4. Frequency of use – Use to support and help a specific need, only when needed for short durations. Make sure the animal is in a well-ventilated area during use.
  5. Application methods used – All essential oil use should be highly diluted in carrier oil before applying them to the animal. They skin and excretory systems are highly sensitive and while you think the animal is tolerating a specific application method, there may be some reactions you are not seeing at the cellular and internal level. When an animals get too overwhelmed, they could have a toxic effect, in which you have a very short window to help them recover.


Safety Guidelines & Contraindications

  • Keep essential oils out of the reach of your pet and do not let them lick it
  • Always dilute essential oils in a fat-based carrier to not irritate their skin or excretory organs such as their kidneys, liver, lungs, lymph and circulatory systems. Essential oils are fat-soluble, not water soluble so they need to be mixed in carrier oil first.
  • Do not use essential oils with a pregnant animal, or one that has serious health conditions, without consulting with a trained and certified professional or clinical aromatherapist, and/or your holistic veterinarian.
  • If you have a short-haired animals that will be outside, avoid creams and massage oils that contain citrus oils, as they can cause burning and photosensitization
  • For more safety tips, visit the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapy Safety page.



Cats are extremely sensitive to scent exposure and can be quickly overwhelmed if not properly used. Animals, especially cats, have a much slower and sensitive metabolism to process & excrete essential oils. Too much can bombard their system quickly causing a toxic reaction. Here are my tips using essential oils safely with cats –

  • less than .25% dilution ratio (1 drop per ounce)
  • well ventilated area where they can roam
  • used no more than twice a day (only if necessary, like on a boo boo)
  • avoid ketone rich essential oils, camphorous & spice oils


Dogs, Horses & Llamas 

Although horses and llamas are much larger than dogs, their system is still as sensitive as a dog’s. Thus, following the same guidelines.

  • use a .50% dilution or lower
  • well ventilated area
  • horses may have different responses per nostril so be mindful if they back away from a scent
  • no more than 2-3 times a day for a specific need
  • general deodorizing and anxiety room sprays can be sprayed when needed, just follow dilution
  • do not to let animal lick the aromatherapy product


Essential Oil Dilution Ratio Chart for Animals









Information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prescribe. It is recommended that if serious health issues exist, you consult a licensed medical provider. JennScents does not assume liability or responsibility for the use and/or misuse of this information.

The information shared was created solely by Certified Clinical Phyto-Aromatherapist & Scentpreneur™, Jennifer H. Pressimone. Copyright2018. No portion of this content may be reproduced, shared, or copied without written permission from the author. Any such reproduction in any form would constitute plagiarism.

References: This blog contains excerpts from, JennScents Aromatherapy Guide for PetsJennScents Aromaversity Certification Courses and the JennScents Holistic Aromatherapy Comprehensive Guide.

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