Frequently Asked Questions
What can I help with?
Allergies, Itching and Skin Problems
Aches and Pains
Phobias & Fears
What is Zoopharmacognosy?
The scientific term ‘zoopharmacognosy’ means the animal’s innate ability to self-select and self-heal with aromatic plant extracts to stay in optimal health. In Cindy Engel’s fascinating book ‘Wild Health’, she studies and shows animals in the wild selecting specific healing plants needed to restore balance in their system, whether it be to heal an injury, remove a parasite form their system or soothe and calm themselves.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are potent compounds found in aromatic plants. Essential oils can be contained in either the flowers, roots, leaves, or bark of a plant. The fragrance we smell from a rose is essential oil being released into the air. The main function of essential oils in plants relates to long term survival mechanisms, such as attracting insects to pollinate the plant, disease prevention or defence by repelling insects or competing plants.
What is a hydrosol?
Hydrosols are gentle healing floral waters. Hydrosol is also known as hydrolat or flower water. They are water-soluble, containing tiny traces of essential oils, therefore, unlike essential oils, hydrosols can be added into a saucer of water for the animal to self-soothe and self-medicate in their own time.
How do essential oils work?
Essential oils are very volatile. They are very small, fast-moving molecules, which have a very high evaporation rate as soon as they are exposed to air. As the molecules are so small, once the top of the essential oil bottle is open, the molecules enter the olfactory system, through mucous membranes, into the blood and brain, affecting the nervous system. Fragrance has a powerful effect on the brain and can be calming, uplifting, or stimulating. Essential oils work on emotional and energetic levels, which is why inhaling minuscule amounts of essential oil can cause a physical symptom to resolve.
When should I use hydrosols?
The gentle energetic quality of hydrosols is often suited to sensitive animals who find essential oils too strong. Often used with animals who are young or weak, for cats and small animals (who select hydrosols over essential oils 90% of the time), to treat deep seated fears or phobias, for wild or herd animals who do not want to interact with humans, or for long term care to support chronic conditions such as arthritic pain, as the gentle quality of hydrosols are unlikely to cause sensitisation.
What can essential oils do for my animal?
Essential oils and hydrosols offer a natural way of keeping our animals healthy and happy in a respectful and non-invasive way.
Different essential oils carry different properties. Therefore, it is important that we offer a well-considered selection of oils to our animals to choose from, allowing them to select what their body needs to restore balance. Depending on the essential oil, the following properties are present: relieves allergic symptoms, antibacterial, prevents and soothes aches and pains from inflammation, antidepressant, anti-fungal, inactivates parasites, insect repellent, relieves itching, antiseptic- reducing the possibility of infection, eases spasms, calming and mildly sedating, restores tissue growth, relieves congestion by reducing swelling of the mucous membranes, stimulates digestion, stimulating – promoting activity or enthusiasm.
The medicinal effect of essential oils have been studied scientifically since the early twentieth century, but have been used for health and well-being long before that.
How do I use essential oils with my animals safely?
Always allow animals to use their natural instinct through offering essential oils for self-selection; allowing them to choose what they need, just as they would in the wild. Animals will direct their healing by responding to inhale, orally ingest through licking or indicate for a topical application on their body. It is amazing to watch animals interact with essential oils instinctively. This method is safe and effective. This interaction between you and your animal is also a wonderful bonding experience, strengthening trust. Animals can’t tell us in words what they need to be healthy and happy, by allowing them to choose and interact with aromatic extracts, we learn to understand them better, decreasing stress and achieving greater well-being for all.
Please visit the page 'Offering Essential Oils' for a step-by-step guide.
How do I use hydrosols with animals?
Please visit the page 'Offering Hydrsols' for a simple guide to using hydrosols with animals.
Why dilute essential oils?
Essential oils are natural, but removed from their natural state. In nature, animals are exposed to essential oils mostly through consumption of the whole plant or inhalation as the aromatic molecules are released when they walk through or roll around in plants. Nature intended essential oils to be available to mammals in minute doses. Essential oils are powerful medicine when undiluted. Every medicine also has the potential to be a toxin when used as it is not intended. Therefore, it is advisable to take the lowest dosage that is effective. This is why we dilute essential oils before use in most cases.
Important points for offering essential oil to animals:
Listen to your animal, let them show you what they like and dislike. Always allow them to select the essential oil. If the animal shows no interest in the oil, such as moving away from the bottle or leaving the room after smelling the oil, always respect their wish and put the bottle away. Please do not follow them with the aroma they showed no interest in. Forcing an aromatic extract on an animal can lead to an allergic reaction.
Never use undiluted essential oils with animals. Always dilute the essential oil in a base oil (such as sunflower oil), even if it is for inhalation.
If the dog has indicated a topical application, dilute the essential oil well in a water-based gel or base oil, with a maximum dilution of 1%.
Never apply essential oils on cats topically. Using floral waters (hydrosols) is a better option for cats.
Never add essential oils to water or food.
Always use high quality essential oils from a trusted supplier who sells to aromatherapists, making sure they are not adulterated with hidden chemicals mixed in as this can cause an allergic reation. Read up on the benefits and precautions of the essential oil you want to use from a reliable source.