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Animals | March 11, 2023

Exploring Alternative Medicine for Animals: Essential Oils and Other Herbal Meds

Exploring Alternative Medicine for Animals: Essential Oils and Other Herbal Meds

There are some professional opinions and research results when it comes to pets and livestock and the use of essential oils, CBD, and other herbal remedies. In this article, we’ll look at these options, their use with animals, and what the experts have to say.

Consult Your Veterinarian First

Before you use any medication or herbal remedies on your pet or livestock, consult a licensed veterinarian. A full, in-person exam is always preferable, but even a quick phone call can ensure your animals don’t get exposed to something that may be harmful.

Herbal Medicine Benefits and Pitfalls

Herbal medicine stems from the use of specific plants and their active therapeutic properties. Over the centuries, people have discovered wonderful herbal remedies that help with coughs, sore joints, pain, and more. Many of these are now part of proven human medications and pharmaceutical treatments. Animals can benefit from herbal medicine as well.

However, some of the ingredients in herbs can be incredibly potent, and even toxic to some livestock and pets. That’s why the American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) states that herbal treatments should be prescribed by a licensed veterinarian.

What can herbal medicine do? Some plants and extracts have been shown to help animals with chronic kidney failure, hormonal disorders, skin diseases, liver issues, bowel problems, and more. Some studies have shown that herbal supplements can reduce the need for chronic medications. However, many herbal medications and supplements are not regulated for quality control or safety. That’s why it’s so important to work with a veterinarian who understands and can administer or recommend an herbal approach to animal health.

Can Animals Benefit from Aromatherapy?

There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that pets and animals can befit from some forms of aromatherapy. Social media is littered with proponents of the method, stating cures for coughs, alopecia (skin diseases), and digestive problems. However, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), essential oils and the aroma they give can be dangerous to pets when directly applied or too much is concentrated into the air.

For example, tee tree oil when used properly is said to heal dry, damaged skin, deter fleas, and more. However, there are other studies that show tee tree oil can be harmful to both dogs and cats.

Anytime a pet ingests concentrated essential oils or breathes too much of the vapor, side effects can occur. These include unsteadiness when standing, low body temperature, depressed mood, vomiting, and diarrhea. The experts at the ASPCA strongly urge pet and livestock owners to avoid directly applying essential oils to animals.

Thankfully, when used in a diffuser for short periods of time, and away from pets, some essential oils have shown to be beneficial.

Cedarwood oil: is a natural flea repellent.

Chamomile oil:
treats skin issues, such as burns, ulcers, or eczema.

Fennel oil:
can help felines with thyroid or pineal gland issues.

Frankincense oil:
may help boost canine immunity. Use cautiously around felines, as this oil may cause an increase in blood pressure.

Helichrysum oil:
has shown promise for healthy feline skin.  

Lavender oil:
can help with canine anxiety.


Always Choose Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils

While they are more expensive than the non-therapeutic grade of essential oils (which can suffer from quality control), therapeutic grade means they are pure, made from organic plants, properly handled, and distilled. You would not skimp on products for your family, so why choose a lesser grade for your animals? Look for label terms such as “100% organic” as well as “therapeutic-grade” when choosing essential oils.

CBD Treatments Go Mainstream

As new age as some holistic treatments might seem, CBD oil and creams have quickly become a mainstay for pet health in the U.S. These over-the-counter options have become increasingly regulated by the USDA, and have been shown to help with pain and other animal ailments.

Options include hemp oil capsules, liposomes that can be added to food, edibles that can be given instead of a treat, as well as topical ointments.

At Coastal, we carry a full line of Pet Releaf CBD and other herbal remedies for pets and animals. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before giving your pet anything new. And check out the full line of options, including a hemp extract for dogs in need of hip and joint pain relief.

Coastal Loves Pets and Livestock

If an animal you love and care for is in pain or needs help dealing with everyday life, consult your veterinarian and stop by your local Coastal. You’ll find medications as well as herbal options for livestock and animals, as well as treats, feed, brushes, buckets, shampoos, and a whole lot more for animal health and happiness.  

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