In my opinion there are few things that should ever be given to or put on cats. Cats are highly sensitive to everything and they do not metabolize foreign substances well through their livers. Even if cats inhale a particular oil over and over they can have problems. The membrane within the nose can be agitated or "burned" by oils. Oils are just too strong and should only be used with direct supervision by a veterinarian. There are a few herbs and some Bach flower remedies that can used on cats. Always call a holistic veterinarian before proceeding with any foreign substance on a cat. Not all veterinarians are up to date on the use of flower remedies and herbs. And, as with all substances, it is possible for an animal or human to have a reaction to any natural substance, just like having allergies to the actual plant that it was derived from, so always use caution. And as with all substances there might be one that works for one dog but doesn't work for another with the same problem. It sometimes takes a little time and experimentation to find the right oils for each individual.
Since essential oils are very strong they should never be used on dogs full strength. Oils should always be put in a carrier oil before applying to dog's skin. For an oil that goes on the skin it is recommended that one drop of oil be mixed in 1/2 tsp. of carrier oil. (jojoba, grape seed, etc.) On people it is recommended oils go on the feet for the best benefit. For dogs it would be the least hairy areas with the exception of the area near the eyes or nose, sensitive areas such as near the vulva or penis, and places that are very easy to lick off. Most essential oils work into the skin quickly and so it isn't necessary to hold the dog for long periods of time to make sure the oils soak in, only a few minutes at most (massage in spot approximately 3 minutes).
Diffusing can be used with a dog as well. Just place a few drops of the essential oil into a diffuser and leave the dog in the room with the diffuser for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. When using a diffuser use caution if other more susceptible animals are present. Diffusing oils can cause extreme reactions in birds and some cats, as well as other exotic animals. Sometimes, as with oils for sleep, a spray of diluted oil on the bedding is another method that works well.
Below is a list of some of the oils I felt were essential. The ailment is listed first in bold. Those oils that are also in bold are oils that we carry at Mind Body & Spirit and the way to use is written after each oil or group of oils listed.
Aggression: sandlewood, ylang ylang (massage or diffuser)
Arthritis: pine, rosemary, juniper (massage)
Burns: lavender (massage around burn, not on the burn)
Cancer Aide: rosemary, ylang ylang (massage)
Coughing: eucalyptus, pine, tea tree (massage or diffuser)
Diarrhea: cinnamon (massage)
Grief: basil, bergamot, orange (massage or diffuser)
Hyperactivity: lavender, chamomile (massage)
Infections: lemon combined with sage (massage)
Kidney Issues: juniper (massage)
Nervousness: chamomile, lavender, lemon (massage)
Painkiller: lavender and marjoram
Parasites: eucalyptus, lemon, peppermint
Skin Irritations: tea tree
Sprains: rosemary, juniper
Travel Sickness: peppermint, chamomile, sweet fennel
There are many more oils that are helpful to our furry four-legged friends but these are a small example of oils for use. For other resources ask a holistic veterinarian for a list of Bach flower remedies and or essential oils that can be helpful for your friend. Blessings and Healthy Living!