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How to offer essential oils to animals

A safe and effective step by step approach to offering essential oils for self-selection and self-healing.
Please note that hydrosols (floral waters) are the preferred option to be used with small animals such as cats, guinea pigs, rabbits.

Step 1

Make a shortlist

Make a shortlist of oils for your animal to choose from. There should be around 5 oils on the shortlist where all of the issues are addressed. If this is your first time interacting with aromatics with your animal - Thank You for giving this a go! This is where an initial consultation with me is helpful. As part of the consultation, I provide a carefully selected shortlist of essential oils and hydrosols to you, where I look at the whole story and narrow down aromatics which specifically address all issues presented. Please click here to book a consultation with me.

Step 2


Put the closed bottles of essential oils on the floor and watch your animal indicate which bottle they are interested in. When they have found the bottle the need, they will stop sniffing.

Step 3


Dilute this essential oil in a base oil, in a separate bottle. Please see below for dilutions. 

For Dogs:

Behaviour or emotional problem: 1 drop of essential oil in 5-10 ml of base oil.

Physical problem: 2-3 drops of essential oil in 5 ml base oil

For Cats and Small Animals:

*Hydrosols are safer than essential oils for cats

Behaviour or emotional problem: 1 drop of essential oil in 10-25 ml of base oil.

Physical problem: 1 drop of essential oil in 10 ml base oil

*For Inhalation only. Never apply Essential Oils on small animals topically.

For Horses:

Behaviour or emotional problem: 1-3 drop of essential oil in 5 ml of base oil.

Physical problem: 3-5 drops of essential oil in 5 ml base oil

Step 4

reading their response

  • If the animal smells intently, licks lips or bottle, follows the area, goes into a trance state – offer this oil twice a day.

  • If the animal smells the bottle a little, but is easily distracted, yet remains in the same room – offer this oil once a day.

  • If the animal walks away from the aroma and leaves the room, do not use this oil, they have no interest in it.

  • Do no offer more than three oils in one session.

Step 5

Interacting with their response

There are three main types of responses: Inhalation, Oral, or Topical.


Inhalation is the most powerful way to take in the essential oils. The molecules go straight into the olfactory system, into the brain/ blood barrier, altering the brain chemistry and nervous system.

The animal may go into a trance-like state, nostrils flaring, lowering their head, eyes flickering as they process the oils in their neurochemistry. This response is often misunderstood as if they are doing nothing.

Hold the bottle near them for the duration of their processing.

To check if they are complete, you can move the bottle further away from them and put the lid back on the bottle. If they are look for the oils by flaring nostrils or finding it with their eyes when the lid is on the bottle, open the bottle again and allow them to work with the oil until there is no reaction when you move the bottle away and place the lid back on.


If the animal tries to lick or bite the bottle when it is opened, place a small amount of diluted oil on your hand, and offer it to them to lick. You can repeat this 2-3 times in one session. Keep the bottle open in your other hand, so the animal can also inhale the oil from the bottle.


Occasionally, the animal may want a small amount of diluted oil rubbed on one part of their body. This is often an acupressure point. They will indicate this by pointing with their head, licking or grooming the area, moving that part of their body into you, or through their unique method of communication.

Move your hand into the area of their body slowly, allowing the animal to move away or guide you to the exact spot. If they move away, do not apply the oil.

If they guide you to a spot and relax to your touch when your hand is near the area, massage the oil into that area lightly, until your animal moves away.

Topical applications should not be used with cats and small animals.

Patience is key to the process. It is important not to offer other oils until the animal has ‘come back’ from the initial oil they were working with.

I highly recommend the book 'Essential Oils For Animals' for a complete and practical guide to using aromatherapy with all animals. It is suitable for beginners as well as experienced users.  Please click here if you would like to purchase the book. 

For cats specifically, 'The Aromatic Cat' is a wonderful resource. Please click here if you would like to purchase the book.

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