Using Essential Oils for Anxiety in Animals: Cats, Dogs and Horses

Essential oils, such as Peace & Calming, can be very helpful in managing anxiety with dogs, cats and horses. Lavender can also be effective, but I have found over the years that that cats and dogs prefer Peace & Calming and show the best response when using it, while horses tend to like both options. Alternating essential oils can also be beneficial.

Common Issues Related to Anxiety With Animals:

  • Separation Anxiety
  • Trauma
  • Load/Trailer Horses
  • Socialization and Introduction to Others
  • Thunderstorms

How Essential Oils Work to Calm Animals:

This essential oil when inhaled and/or absorb into by an animal, will cause the brain to send a message to release “feel good” hormones throughout their body. This relaxes the animal and in turn lowers their heart rate. These physical reactions make it more manageable for your pet to deal with their current anxiety. As a result this will give you an opportunity to each him or her a new way to cope with the situation. So, whether they like it or not, their body will be calming down! Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oils are safe for pets and fully ingestible. It is important to use only a product that you know is safe for pets and I know and trust this brand and have been using it on my own pets and with my clients for almost 10 years.

How-To Use Essential Oils With Animals For Anxiety Guidelines:

The essential oils can be used in conjunction with each other or alternated. Here are some suggestions on the amount of Peace & Calming or lavender essential oil to use. These are guidelines only and each animal’s situation, health and condition should be evaluated and amounts adjusted accordingly.

Introduce Essential Oils: It is helpful to introduce the essential oil to the animal before he/she becomes stressed. Choose a time when your cat, dog or horse feels safe, calm and relaxed and slowly introduce the scent of the essential oil of choice. Animals have the same olfactory response to small as humans do where the first time they smell something, they will “file” the scent away in their brain and associate it with the emotion they feel at the time. I often suggest diffusing the essential oil in a room that you’ll be for a short period of time, approximately 10 minutes. Allow the animal to come and go freely. For cats and dogs, it is easy to diffuse in the home when it’s quiet time, such as in the evening before bed. For horses, use the collar/halter diffuser and take your horse for an easy walk, groom or let him graze.

Before Anxiety Is Triggered, Follow These Guidelines:

  • Diffuse in a room with the animal. If you do not have a diffuser, you can use cotton balls with essential oils on them or apply a few drops on a light weight cloth and pin in cage of an oscillating fan. (i.e. Put a drop on a cotton ball – put in heat registers, by kennels, inside beds)
  • Dogs: Apply behind the ears and to pads of feet, neck or on inside of collar/in collar diffuser. Start with the following guidelines of number of drops to use based on the size of the animal. If you have an animal that is especially prone to digestive issues, you may want to avoid applying oils directly on them.

o    Small: 1-2

o    Medium: 2-3

o    Large: 3-5

o    Toy or cat: Apply 1 drop to hand and rub down along spine.

  • Horses: Apply behind ears and to chest or inside or halter/in halter diffuser.

Example of How To Use Essential Oils for Anxiety with Animals:

For a large dog, such as a Bernese Mountain Dog weighing close to 100#s, several drops can be applied. I would put four to five drops of oil in the palm of my hand and then gently rub onto the underside of their ear flaps or around the lobe of their ear. Also, collar diffusers can be filled with calming essential oils and snapped around your dog’s collar to slowly diffuse out the oil over time or a home diffuser can be running in the room where your dog will be located. Try to apply the oil 30 minutes prior to when you expect the anxiety to be triggered. You can apply another dosage 30 minutes later if you don’t get the results you want. Remember, when using essential oils, it is best to start with less and add more if needed.

Essential oils are a great tool to use to help your animal with a variety of issues that cause them anxiety. There are other natural and un-invasive techniques you can apply as well. To learn more about them, you can read our related blog about anxiety. For more information about products, such as the essential oils, collar/halter diffusers or home diffusers, contact Animal Intuition.


  • The above mentioned options are guidelines only. Each animal and situation is different and the circumstances should be considered before making a decision on how or what to use on your animal.
  • The information provided based on using Young Living therapeutic-grade essential oils only. Be cautious of oils that are just for aromatic use. These cannot be ingested & do not have therapeutic qualities. They may be poisonous & dangerous if used in the manners described above.
  • The statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and is not a substitute for proper medical care. Contact your medical provider or veterinarian to discuss proper treatment.



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