Book Review – Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals

Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals

By Kristen Leigh Bell

Findhorn Press 2002


When researching books on aromatherapy for animals and essential oil use it is hard to find reliable information. Many books do not have valid detailed information. They do not address safety and usually are specific to one animal.


As with most good aromatherapy books there is a brief history of modern aromatherapy. The author also shares her story of what drew her towards essential oils, and how it progressed to an interest of use with animals.


Section 2 provides a breakdown of essential oils (what they are), absolutes, hydrosols, and the other botanical ingredients that are commonly used. She does a good job of explaining the different forms of extraction as well as ways products are adulterated.


Section 3 is a breakdown of the aromatics that are explored. She only explores about 50 essential oils, but these are the ones that are generally considered safe for use with animals. There are details on a few hydrosols, which have gained popularity since publication.


Sections 4 through 7 explores the uses of aromatherapy with animals. Four and five are the largest exploring dogs and cats respectively. Six and seven provide a brief glimpse for use with small animals and large animals.


The remainder of the book is a variety of resources for both further education as well as the resources for the information provided throughout the book. Due to the age of this book not all the resources are valid any more.


Overall this book does provide a lot of good information. It is short at 200 pages so easy to read or use as a reference. The author put a lot of thought and research into all the information. Based on what I have learned and the publication date some of the information is outdated. Also, as a side note this author discontinued working with animals shortly after the publication of this book in 2002.


If you are interested in more information please feel free to contact me.



Chickens & Essential Oils

Rooster exploring

Recently while I was doing some volunteer work with the farm animals a person asked my opinion about an article they had seen using oregano essential oil with chickens. I am choosing to not share the link to the article because I do not want people to think I promote the authors suggestions. Unfortunately the article didn’t state which type of Oregano they utilized I have to assume it was Oregano vulgare.

Oregano essential oil is generally high in carvacrol and thymol. These chemical constituents lend to the possible therapeutic uses with viral infections, bacterial infections and helping with congestion. The author references investigating essential oils in the prevention of Avian flu. I did an extensive search through PubMed, one search¬†and couldn’t find any research on Avian flu and oregano oil. Due to the therapeutic benefits with viral and bacterial infections this oil may help with prevention, as long as it was used safely and highly diluted.

Mama chicken protecting her hatchlings
Protecting her babies

For human use the oil has a recommended maximum dermal use of 1.1% and several cautions against oral use (pg. 375 & 376 Tisserand & Young 2014). Knowing these precautions I would never suggest use of this oil with chickens, simply because they are small birds with completely different systems. The only way I would use it would be during cleaning of their coop after illness and when all the chickens are removed for a period of time.

To ensure the health of your flock rather than turning to essential oils consider using the actual plant. Adding a variety of herbs to a nesting box can help deter pests, add a healthy snack and create a fresher environment. The fresh herbs will also provide vitamins and minerals which are not available from an essential oil. If you do use fresh herbs these will have to be changed frequently to avoid mold developing, if you are in a humid area consider dried herbs.

Chicken with chicks
Exploring the new world