The essential oils that are used in aromatherapy usually work on many different levels. In reality, essential oils obtained from herbs possess the aptitude to ease several medical conditions as well as traumas, including fatigue, infection, and motion sickness. In addition, they also offer various antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. From the emotional point of view, essential oils also have the potential to alleviate the sufferings of animals struggling with anxiety, stress, irritability as well as compulsive behaviour. When inhaled, essential oils have an effect on the most internal and fundamental areas of the brain, including the limbic system that regulates feelings as well as the emotions.
In addition to inhaling them, essential oils are administered in several different ways. In fact, administering essential oils with an electronic glass diffuser is said to be especially helpful, because it helps to diffuse the ionized oil in the form of suspended droplets into the air and these can be subsequently taken up via the nasal passages. Similarly, for topical application of the essential oils, aroma therapists generally suggest that you dab the watered down the oil at the back of ears to prevent dogs from licking the oil. A number of essential oils can be safely applied externally on a comparatively large skin surface with a view to aid healing almost all things, including wounds, to controlling skin irritations. A few of them, for instance peppermint, may also be used internally. However, the internal use of essential oils requires proper care as well as supervision.
Similar to any natural medicines, essential oils also ought to be employed with some consideration and always in a controlled manner.
A number of animals are able to deal with essential oils better compared to others. For instance, cats have dissimilar metabolic processes and hence the essential oils can just reach toxic levels when in their bodies. Therefore, if it is necessary to administer essential oils to cats, it should be used with great care. Although majority of the dogs have not been found to be as susceptible to essential oils as cats, still you should be very careful while administering these oils to them.
The viewpoints of different people on the safety of using essential oils are different, especially when the opinions are along their cultural lines. For instance, the French have a propensity to use the essential oils in their undiluted or 'neat' form. They are also very comfortable while using these oils internally. On the other hand, the British are more conventional while using essential oils for massage or applying them externally in other ways. They emphasize on the significance of diluting the essential oils by adding suitable carrier oil, for instance, hazelnut oil or sweet almond oil, before using them.
The quality of the essential oils used is another major concern. In the absence of any body or association to monitor or regulate the quality of the essential oils, it is nothing but being sarcastic when we say that the buyers ought to be very careful while purchasing these oils. The labels found on the packages of the commercially available essential oils can carry wrong or misleading information. In fact, the word 'pure' printed on the labels of the essential oils is pointless, because it is not easy to say whether a product has been adulterated using less expensive oils or any chemical product similar to the natural oil or any artificially made substance which has close resemblance to any element present in the essential oil. For instance, rose oil is very highly priced and any manufacturer may use rosewood oil or rose geranium oil to cut down the expenses, as the latter oils have a fragrance akin to that of rose oil. It is possible for an experienced aroma therapist to smell the oil and say whether the essential oil has been adulterated; it is difficult for commoners like us to detect this.
Several different grades of essential oils are available in the market and most of the oils that are commercially available are so adulterated that they are basically unfit for use for remedial purposes. It has been found that generally small-scale manufacturers, who are very cautious about quality, make the best quality essential oils manually.
Below are a few 'dos and don'ts' regarding essential oils.
You should never blend different types of essential oils without undertaking any prior research, because a number of them do not go well with others. As an alternative, people who are using essential oils newly ought to purchase premade essential oil blends or combinations from sources having a high repute. Several aroma therapists are of the view that nearly all essential oils function most excellently when a blend of different oils is used, as this enables them to function in a synergetic manner. In addition to the combinations or blends, there are various other ways of using a number of essential oils simultaneously. For instance, if you desire to use many different oils externally, you may layer these oils individually; i.e. apply one layer of a diluted essential oil properly, wait for no less than 30 minutes for the oil to fade away and subsequently, apply a layer of different oil.
It is important that you always confirm the contraindications for all essential oils before using them. In addition, you should never use a number of essential oils like thuja, birch and wintergreen on your animals, when not under the supervision of a professional. Then again, a number of essential oils should never be used on animals that are pregnant or epileptic. There are some essential oils whose use may result in skin reactions or photosensitivity. You should be extremely cautious while administering essential oils to dogs suffering from chronic and debilitating health conditions like struggling with problems related to the kidney and the heart. It is advisable that when you are administering essential oils to ailing or frail animals, particularly while using them externally, you ought to always check with a veterinarian or a competent aroma therapist.
Never use any essential oil close to the mucous membranes or the eyes. Even the essential oils that are safe for topical application on animals should always be used at the back of their ears or any other common site for applying these oils to ensure that they, especially a dog, are unable to lick the oil.
Never use water for washing essential oils from any unsuitable body area, as it will just help to increase the consequences of the oil and also make it soak deep into the skin. As an alternative, you may use a different type of oil, for instance, a vegetable oil, to water down the essential oil. You may also use butter, whole milk or any different type of fat or mayonnaise for this purpose.
You should never administer any type of essential oil to internally to any animal unless it is being done in the presence as well as under the direction of a competent and trained practitioner.
It is worth mentioning here that the essential oils occur in a wide assortment, very akin to the plants which yield them. Below is a list of a number of vital essential oils and the manner in which you may use them. Similar to any all-inclusive treatment, before you try any essential oil on your cat or dog, it is essential that you look for a professional practitioner.