The use of ‘aromatics and herbals’ is said to date back thousands of years. The ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, China and India used aromatic and herbal plant infused oils, botanical unguents and ointments for skin and wound care, health issues, hygiene and ritual anointments.
Fairly new to the world of aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, botanicals and even flower essence therapy for our animal friends. With more and more people seeking holistic and alternative therapies for their own health issues, they are also becoming aware that many of these same therapies can be used with their beloved animal companions.
Safety First. When working with essential oils and aromatherapy botanicals with our animal friends it is important to note that it is not the same as aromatherapy used with human clients. Some animals (such as cats, birds and ferrets) are not well-suited for the use of essential oils, and certain contraindications and health issues may apply to individual animal clients much like they would for people. Animals are not classified into a box or list. Like people, dogs are individuals. An individual health history intake and current health status, known allergies or contraindications, emotional and physical well-being and caregiver participation are all part of the overall picture when considering which essential oils or botanicals are appropriate. It is also important not to apply essential oils neat (used directly on the skin). Essential oils must always be mixed with a carrier oil for proper, safe application.
It is important to be wary with all the information that is shared on the internet and in social media groups.
When working with animals with essential oils, flower essences and botanicals, it is important to be aware and in-tune with both the animal and the caregiver. It is up to the professional aromatherapist to educate and empower the client/caregiver, and to make sure safety and well-being are of the upmost importance.
The use of Aromatherapy for our animal friends should not be substituted for regular veterinary care.

Lori Gammon, CAAP ( Certified Animal Aromatherapist Practioner)

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