Essential Oils and Pets

April 01, 2011 By: Allison Stillman Category: Mind Body Spirit

My dog Sophie asked me to write a column about essential oils and the impending flea and tick season. She is particularly fond of oils, not all pets are, but she certainly is.

Springtime means the onset of a new battle for our pets with those dreaded pests called fleas and ticks, and this season promises to be an especially powerful one with all the rain we have seen. The adult female flea is known to lay up to 30 eggs each time she lays, and over 400 in her life cycle. The fleas feed on the blood of the host, namely our dog or cat, which not only cause our pets extreme discomfort, but can also spread diseases and other parasites. The flea does not limit its habitation to the pet it has fed upon, and can last for up to two months from a single feeding on our pets. They can exist for the remainder of the life cycle in our backyard on the grass, or on our pet’s bedding, or even our own bedding, (a ghastly thought)!

Wherever our dog and cat roam, there too, go the fleas. So it is important to wash the bedding on a regular basis, theirs, and ours. If our pet has fleas, chances are our home environment has them as well.

There are many treatments on the market for pets and the home, but unfortunately, most of them are full of harmful toxins. Not only are essential oils a wonderful alternative, in addition, our homes smell delightful when we use essential oils instead of, or in addition to, the toxic solutions available today.

To help rid our home of fleas, try sprinkling powder (talc or baking) containing orange essential oil, which is a very effective anti-flea substitute. Lavender is another very effective essential oil that will not only repel fleas and ticks, but also soothe the wounds these pests leave behind on our pets. I like to take 3-4 drops of lavender and rub my palms together and then coat my dog’s coat, especially the underbelly and legs of my dog before we go out on a walk as a preventative measure.

When I find a fleabite, or my dog has licked or chewed a bite, I take a couple drops of lavender essential oil, and massage it directly onto the bite. Not only will the pet stop chewing immediately, but the lavender also will heal the wound and reduce the inflammation immediately.

You can also put about 15-20 drops of oil into a spray bottle filled with water, shake well, and spray the oil mixture onto their coats as well, mindful to cover their eyes and ears. You can also put 25 drops in one ounce of jojoba oil, mix up and use as a massage oil for your pets skin. The stronger oils of eucalyptus, cedarwood and tea tree are even more effective in keeping fleas away. In fact, the insect repelling qualities of eucalyptus are the reason for eucalyptus first being distilled back in the late 1800′s. You can also put a few drops of these potent oils on your pet’s bedding periodically to repel flea infestation, particularly after laundering.

You can spray the oils on your carpet, (using a weak dilution in water) and your lawn. While all of these methods may not prevent fleas entirely, you can bet that you will be quite successful in deterring a large infestation, and lessen the amount of toxins your animal receives. Always be mindful to keep in consideration that our animals have an incredibly powerful sense of smell, dogs 500 x stronger than our own, so they probably aren’t going to be particularly fond of the smell, but they hate the smell of Advantage and Frontline even more. Cats also do not like oils, and too much exposure to essential oils can be harmful to their livers. So less is more is always the rule!

All in all, essential oils are a tremendous help in reducing the population of fleas and ticks, and while they may not get them all, oils can certainly have an impact on these dreaded pests.

Allison Stillman is a renowned aromatic alchemist, author and an expert on the historical use of essential oils in religious and spiritual ceremonies. Her book, The Sacred Art of Anointing is a result of her 30 years of research and practical experience with essential oils and anointing, and has been added to the Harvard Divinity School Library. She is featured in the books, “Love for No Reason” “More Hot Chocolate for the Mystical Soul”, and “Insights from the Coffehouse”. To find out more: or visit her on Facebook,

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