Please read this carefully before using essential oils
This is by no means a comprehensive list of safety issues and you are strongly advised to seek the advice of either a qualified Essential Oils Therapist for Animals and/or human Aromatherapist before using essential oils on either yourself or your animals.
Never take oils internally unless under expert supervision. Keep oils away from the eyes and never use directly in the eyes, nose or mouth. Do not allow animals to touch open bottles with their muzzle.
Always dilute oils in a base oil, gel or carrier lotion before use. A dilution of 1-3% for humans, 1-3% for dogs and 3-5% for horses is considered normal. Cats will only accept oils in very dilute form if at all and do not respond well to Essential Oil Therapy although they seem to prefer hydrosols (floral waters) if they show a need. Lavender, German Chamomile, Yarrow and Tea Tree may be used undiluted on minor wounds with care and discression. However, some people find that Tea Tree is too strong and so this may need dilution in a gel base and it has been known to cause temporary paralysis in dogs so should be used with extreme caution if at all. Do not use an oily base for burns as this can retain heat and make the burn worse. Gels are the best base, or use a cold water compress instead.
Keep oils in a cool dark place away from medicines, especially homeopathic remedies as the strong smell of the oils may render them ineffective. Most have a shelf life of up to 5 years but citrus oils such as lemon will begin to fade after 6 months. Keep well out of the reach of children and never allow children to play with the bottles.
Do not under any circumstances use essential oils if you are epileptic or pregnant, or on pregnant animals, babies and very young children without first consulting a qualified aromatherapist or Essential Oils Therapist for Animals. Toxic levels of some substances can build up very quickly in small bodies and so it is recommended that young animals and children under 12 are only treated after consultation with a professional.
Never try to treat an animal for anything other than minor first aid incidents such as small, clean cuts, bruises or grazes without taking veterinary advice. The Veterinary surgeons act 1966 and Animal Welfare Act 2006 state that only a qualified veterinary surgeon may legally treat or prescribe for your animals. If an owner consults a non-vet and thereby fails to alleviate suffering for his or her animal, prosecution under the 1911 act is a possibility. It is your responsibility to consult a qualified vet if your animal shows any mental, behavioural or physical symptoms which may require diagnosis and medical attention and to inform your animals usual vet before trying any complementary therapies on your animal.
Do not use oils for longer than 2 weeks at a time without seeking professional advice.
Only apply oils in a gel base if the person or animal will be exposed to the sun as oil bases can cause burning. Only use FCF (furocoumarins/Bergapten free) Bergamot before exposure to the sun to avoid photosensitivity to the skin. Citrus oils such as lemon are also photosensitisers and should not be used within 12 hours of exposure to the sun so always check with a good reference book first.
Never force oils onto a person or animal even in the hope of doing good. Always respect their feelings and privacy and right to refuse help.