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Dr. Janet Roark (Interviewed by Jessie Hawkins)

Essential Oils for Dogs

Dr. Janet Roark (Interviewed by Jessie Hawkins)

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  • What grade of oils to use (and how to use them!)
  • Different applications of essential oils
  • 10 essential oils to start using on your dog

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59 comments so far - add yours!

  1. Francesca Erazo says:

    I loved this presentation. My question is about fleas. Any EOs that could help and how to do it and how often? My dog is pretty healthy except that he gets eat by fleas. He bites his skin until he bleeds.

  2. ??Marjory?? says:

    Are there any flea repellant EOs?

  3. Deanna says:

    I have a cocker with a large fatty tumor on her back. What EO can you use to reduce this tumor? She also has several of the warts what can i use to remove these and keep them from spreading?

  4. Danah says:

    I have a 13 year old dog who has congestive heart failure and takes Lassix and Enalpril. She still eats like a horse and is active but she has a horrible cough (she sounds like a grown man when she coughs). She’s weighs about 12 lbs. Is there an oil that might help her?

  5. Kim says:

    My 9y0 Pitt Mix is having bladder issues. She is on the max dosage for her medication. What EO can I give her to help.

  6. Rosalie says:

    Are there any EOs you can use on your dog for fleas?

  7. Ronda says:

    Thanks for the great info! My dog is getting recurring ear infections. What EOs can I use to prevent and treat or just support healthy ears? Thanks!

    • Deb Walters says:

      Ronda, my lab/pit mix was shaking her head and had the black build up in her ears. What I found out was it was a yeast infection and I now mist her ears with Apple Cider Vinegar and they have been clean and no more shaking either! =)

  8. Carole says:

    Thank you for your presentation. I was very impressed with your detailed explanation of the EOs & their uses.
    I do have a question regarding Myrrh. You stated that it has powerful cleansing properties, especially for the mouth. Do you rub it on the gums neat or diluted? Or what is your recommended way of using Myrrh for mouth issues? Will this help with foul breath?

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Myrrh is one of the safe ones to use even undiluted. However, you may want to start out diluting it to see how your pet will react first. It can be used for bad breath if the bad breath is caused by some ailment, and is particularly useful with mouth pain.

  9. Becky says:

    What EO can I use for a dog that is having seizures?

    • Kristin says:

      I know people that successfully use CBD oil, derived from industrial hemp, for their dogs with seizures. You can order it from BlueBird Botanicals online.

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Frankincense is what I typically use. It can be applied topically or given daily orally mixed with food for prevention!

  10. Jan says:

    This presentation did a good job of following the FDA guidelines in presenting information about essential oils. However Caroline specifying the name of an essential oil company puts this vet and the summit at risk with the FDA.

  11. Janice says:

    Thank you! This is good info for our animals and a vet, who is not locked or paid by some companies.

  12. Donna says:

    Great presentation, Dr. Rourk! Thank you. Quick question. My 2.5 year old Shih Tzu absolutely loves Vetiver. She will lick it off my feet if she gets the opportunity. When I open Vetiver she makes a beeline for it. I have made a diluted roller bottle for her but other than the calming effect what might she be needing from the Vetiver? Thanks.

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      That is very typical of an oil an animal needs/ wants! I love it when they are that dramatic with telling us! It’s really hard to say why your Shih Tzu likes that oil so much without a thorough history and physical exam. Vetiver also has anti-inflammatory properties in addition to the calming properties, and helps with behavioral concerns as well. The emotional aspect of this oil addresses scattered and stressful emotions to help an animal feel more balanced and centered. Topically, it helps with oily skin. I’m not sure if any of that applies to your pup, but i hope that helps you understand Vetiver a little more!

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Loved the presentation, I’m often scared to use certain essential oils on my dogs. Are there any essential oils that are effective tick repellents?

  14. Annette says:

    Thank you for your insight and presentation. I have watched the Essential Oils Summit, and learned tons about using EOs with humans, but not much on use with animals. Your interview has been very helpful. I do have a 13yo male dog who has had diabetes for almost 3 yrs now, and is on 15units in a.m./ 13units in p.m. of insulin. He also has a grand mal seizure about every 2 months now, so not on meds for that just yet. You mentioned myrrh as something that would require some alteration of his insulin dosage if I used myrrh for teeth probs (he has none for now), emotional issues, or to get peaceful feeling. He does have anxiety from fireworks or loud sounds (like sneezes) that scare him. In the comments, you mentioned frankincense for seizures. Would it help him to do the frankincense and the lavender daily? are there any issues I should watch for? Thank you again for all your help and for the great work you do.

  15. Charlotte says:

    Hi Dr. Roark, I have a really awesome non petroleum eo ointment with frankincense, melaleuca, helichrysum, cedar wood and lavender in it. I have used it a few times on my dog for scrapes and bug bites and it works great.

    MDo you think I should make my own dilute blend without the melaleuca instead? Or is this ointment ok to use sparingly? Thank you!

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      It is probably diluted enough and if you’ve used it successfully with your dog, I wouldn’t worry too much! I do make my own with coconut oil and other EOs since most on the market do contain melaleuca, which is always an option too!

  16. Debbie says:

    nice. EO are so confusing to me. i just cant grasp it. but this was a good presentation…enjoyed it. I did take notes. LOL

  17. Kendra says:

    Great information! Thank you so much for sharing ❤️

  18. Donna says:

    I have not used EO’s yet but I’ve heard you shouldn’t use many with or around cats. How can you use a diffuser for your dogs if you also have cats living in the same rooms/spaces? Any suggestions in this regard or is it simply impossible?

    • Dr.Janet Roark says:

      Great Question, Donna- this is a very common question that I get.

      With cats… ultimately, you will hear many things from many people about cats and oils. Here’s my take: Cats lack an enzyme called glucuronyl transferase. This is important for the Cytochrome p450 liver metabolism pathway. This makes cats very susceptible to ALL kinds of toxicity, including plant, NSAIDS (like aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol), chocolate and caffeine (methylxanthines), lead, zinc, and many, many types of pesticides.

      So which oils do you stay away from? Most medical grade oils are so pure that you can use them topically on cats sporadically in a highly diluted form (as if for infants). It’s not a good idea to use them topically or internally on your cat every single day (with the exception of helichrysum, myrrh, lavender and Frankincense).

      *The oils to stay away from and use something different if you can are the oils that are high in phenols and eugenols as far as direct application (topical or internal) to your cat (basil, birch, cinnamon, clove, fennel, melaleuca, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and wintergreen.)*

      That being said, I have used even medical grade Melaleuca on my own cat without dilution without any ill effects. Just like people, every individual animal is different and you should consult your veterinarian if you are concerned and get some bloodwork to ensure no underlying liver disease.

      There are many ways to use essential oils with cats – my preference is water diffusion. You can also make a litter box powder with essential oils by using 1 cup of baking soda and 3-4 drops of an essential oil of your choice, stirring well and letting it sit over night (to saturate the baking soda with the oils) and then sprinkling this on your cat’s litter (You do not have to use the full cup, just enough to cover the litter). You can also apply the oils topically (I recommend dilution for this – 1 drop in a tsp to a tbsp of carrier oil and using a drop of that mixture) – the easiest way to topically apply essential oils to cats is simply by petting along the spine. It is the best tolerated. You can also use the reflexology points or rub the tips of the ears, if your cat is more agreeable to these applications. The cat will ingest these oils via grooming when applied topically, which is why dilution is recommended. You can also apply essential oils to cats by giving it internally. Start with just a toothpick drop of the oil, and mixing it with wet food. Some cats are very picky eaters and will not eat their food if there is an oil in it, others don’t seem to mind it at all. Just observe your cats behavior and they will tell you what works best for them.

      As far as diffusion goes – I diffuse everything (yes, even those oils that are high in phenols)! i just make sure not to diffuse anything in my kitty’s room (where her food and litterbox are) and make sure she’s not “locked” in the room with the diffuser – she will go away if it’s one she doesn’t like or need. I find that most often, though, she needs the oil I’m diffusing as much as I do, and sleeps as close as she can to the diffuser. The Protective Blend is one of her favorites!

      So the “Take Home” message is this: don’t give oils to cats topically or internally *every* day (with some exceptions), dilute them, only use medical grade quality (and tested) oils, and when in doubt, feel free to ask!

  19. Jean says:

    Awesome information. I had no idea dogs could benefit from essential oils. No other vet, including holistic, has mentioned the use of them.
    Thank you for your service!

  20. Kathy says:

    Very much enjoyed your informative presentation. A question re tea tree oil. It is in many dog shampoos. Please comment on whether that is of concern. Thanks!

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Kathy – it is so dilute in these formulations that it would not cause toxicity with normal use. Go ahead and use it!

  21. Karen says:

    My horses do well with organic herbs and essential oils. My dogs do better with homeopathics and essential oils. Very informative.
    Thank you!

  22. Mary Foster Rodriguez says:

    I am a vet and have used tea tree oil as well as other essential oils for years in dogs and horses.
    I have heard about the issue you discussed and it had been reported that the tea tree oils that were used were not pure therapeutic grade oils and had other ingredients in them.
    Dr Melissa Shelton is a vet that published an animal desk reference for oils for all kinds of animals that is absolutely a great book to have on hand.
    She has used essential oils in her hospital practice for years, documenting her work with labs and blood chemistries.

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Thank you for your comment. It has been used extensively and is largely dose dependent for toxicity, even with the purest of therapeutic oils. Due to this reason and owners improperly using the oils (too frequently or not enough dilution), I tend not to recommend it as there are other oils that are safer and equally as effective when giving advice to pet owners. If you are using them yourself in your practice, i have no doubt that you use them at the correct dilution rate for the animal it is being applied to. Based on the information provided in JAVMA, I tend not to use it except in difficult cases. If you go to my facebook page, i did an extensive review of that article, which i think will coincide with what you are familiar with and use in your own practice. 🙂

    • J. says:

      That is very interesting. What is the name of that book? And what are some other books on essential oils that are good?

      • Dr. Janet Roark says:

        The book she is talking about is the “Animal Desk Reference” which is a great resource, especially for veterinarians. I have read through it several times! Dr. Shelton is amazing and now has her own line of oils. Other great books include “SpOil Your Pet” by Dr. Mia Frezzo and Jan Jeramias, and “Essential oils for dogs and cats” by Skye Patterson.

  23. Jessica says:

    Dr Roark-
    Two questions…you mentioned to not use certain oils for dogs with seizures, however didn’t mention which might be good to use on a dog with seizures. My 8yr cavalier kc spaniel was recently diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy and not on medication as seizures are new (started 6mo’s ago) and biweekly at this point. Suggestions as to what might help?

    Second, what brand of EO do you use when you are talking about the blends in your top 10 oils? Thank you!

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Jessica- please send me an email with your specific request. Due to FDA/ compliance issues I unfortunately cannot share certain information in a public forum like this.

      But Frankincense is an excellent oil to start with for your dog!

  24. Amelia says:

    I have a basket full of essential oils for myself. it is good to know what oils my dog may be sensitive to. I just purchased a diffuser so with this information, I will be more likely to make use of the essential oils that I have. Thank You!

  25. Dr. Janet Roark says:

    Thank you everyone so much for watching! For more information about using Essential Oils with your pets, be sure to follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EODVM.

    Let me know if you have any questions!

  26. J. says:

    What essential oil did you use for your headache, Doctor? I either missed that part or you did not mention it.

  27. Lois says:

    I understand that all frankincense is not the same and the only effective one is sacred frankincense. Is this true?

    • Heather says:

      No, that’s not true at all. There are several kinds, depending on the tree. A quality Frankincense will cost around $20 for a 12 ml bottle. If you are paying more than that, you are being ripped off, most likely by an MLM company with large marketing costs. Do your homework.

      • Dr.Janet Roark says:

        It’s true that you do get what you pay for when it comes to essential oils. 3rd party testing of the oils is critical, and for that the oils may cost more, but is well worth it in my opinion to know that the grade of oil is the best possible, without any harmful to your dog fillers.

        • Heather says:

          Absolutely agree about quality. The ones I deal with are small companies and some go personally to the countries who supply the oils and also ensure they are tested, GC, etc. Many oils are also certified organic. Do be aware, however, that there are fewer distillers than companies selling the oils which means that many companies are selling the exact same oils (from the same distiller) with a huge variance in price, due to other hidden costs like marketing, levels, etc. I stay away from those, having tried them before. I don’t want to be supplementing a large corporation’s marketing budget.

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      Lois – it is true that some Frankincense is stronger than others, but all are effective if you are using a pharmaceutical grade oil!

      • Lois says:

        Thank you Dr. Roark-
        I have a dog with a sarcoma of the nerve sheath and our integrative vet is not experienced using essential oils, but is on board with me using Frankincense to combat the cancer cells. I am uncertain what brand to use and how much to give. She suggested one drop mixed with his food, but is that enough?

  28. Katy says:

    Enjoyed the presentation for the most part. However, please do not put drops of lemon oil in your dog’s water dish. Oil and water don’t mix! Your dog will basically be getting undiluted lemon oil (as it floats on top of the water) which can harm their esophagus. I’m a little surprised to see that comment make it into the interview, considering Jessie Hawkins pounds that principle into students at her school. Oil and water do not mix.

    • Jean says:

      Great point, Katy. I mix oils in my drinking water by adding some fine sea salt, but am not doing that for/to my dog.

    • Dr. Janet Roark says:

      It is true they do not mix, But the way dogs drink, they will not be getting only undiluted oil, but a good amount of water as well, thus diluting it out. if you are concerned, you do not need to do this, but i have used lemon in water for years with great success! (and no harm!) use caution if your cats drink out of the same water dish though.

  29. Jean says:

    What were the ingredients/components that make up the protective blend? The audio was garbled/cut out and missed out what came between orange and eucalptyus.

    Thank you.

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