Essential Oils and Pets


When Shelby Moore was pregnant with her second child, the entire household was sick; herself, husband Dave and son Dixon. Using an essential oils diffuser she’d received as a gift, Moore made a desperate attempt to restore her family to health before the birth of Logan. Though Moore was new to using essential oils, she was willing to try it.

Moore had first been introduced to the trend while suffering from illness during her first pregnancy, in 2015. Her mother-in-law brought her a “peppermint necklace” and it eased her symptoms considerably. Consulting a reference guide for essential oils, Moore treated her family members with recipes designed to help their respiratory systems. Everyone recovered in time. Moore was thrilled. But she was still skeptical.

That’s when her mother-in-law suggested they attend a class to learn more. So they did. Now she uses them with her entire family, including Duke the dog, their first “baby.”

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are described as the lifeblood of the plant. For thousands of years, people have known of, and utilized, the healing properties of plants and their oils. Today, essential oils are produced through an intense distilling process.

There are three ways to use essential oils. Your approach depends on the presenting need or issue, and strength of the oil. You can diffuse oils into the environment, apply them topically, or ingest the oil directly into your system.

Why essential oils?

Moore explains that the increasing awareness and desire to work through health and wellness issues in natural ways has contributed to the rise of essential oil use in the last decade. Many parents are asking questions like, ‘what are we missing? How can we help our families in ways that do no harm?’ “It’s almost a movement,” she says.

Is it safe to use essential oils on pets?

It seems the natural approach to human health and wellness has spread to caring for our pets. While you can use most essential oils with your pets, after diluting them with coconut oil, there are now oils made specifically for use with animals.

Moore has heard of at least one veterinarian and one local grooming location in Lapeer County that uses oils to keep waiting dogs calm.

A couple of cautions

It’s important to introduce essential oils gently and slowly because some animals need time to get used to the concept and/or a scent, just like people. Moore emphasizes, “Start with it on yourself or in the air and watch the body language of your pet. Are they avoiding you when you’re wearing the oil?” If using all natural oils, there really are no side effects, just possibly an intolerance or aversion. “Also, apply the oil to the top of your pet’s head or back of neck so they cannot lick it off.”

Since the essential oils industry is not well regulated, you should choose oils wisely. Companies that use natural ingredients, and manage their own farms to ensure quality, have good reputations and have built trust with consumers. “Do your own research,” Moore advises. 

Common essential oil uses for pets

• To calm an anxious animal, just one drop will work for a while.

• To help with skin issues, such as raw or hot spots, use topical oil or ointment to seal the skin on dogs, cats and horses.

• For digestive issues; Young Living’s Paragize or Frankincense (while not FDA approved, is thought to help break down cancer cells and has helped reduce tumor size.)

For more information, contact Shelby Moore by email: or via Instagram @OilyMoores. Moore will be offering a workshop on essential oils and pets on Monday, January 14 at 6:30 p.m. at Amy’s Place Of Dog Grooming in Lapeer.


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