New or experienced with animalEO - this is what Dr. Shelton wants you to know!
Once again, I want to send out a big welcome to everyone who is new to our newsletter – and new to using essential oils with their animal family members! I thought that this newsletter would be a perfect time for me to reflect upon what I want you to know about myself, essential oils, and the animalEO brand of essential oil products for animals.
First up, a little bit about myself. I’ll give you the very shortened version! I am an integrative (or holistic) veterinarian in Minnesota, and am also a Certified Aromatherapist, and Certified Equine Massage Therapist. I have owned Crow River Animal Hospital since 2001. In 2008, I started to use essential oils in the animal hospital for all sorts of medical and emotional concerns. I started to research and document the safe use and responses to the use of essential oils from a veterinary perspective. I then started to teach on the use of essential oils for animals, and even traveled internationally to do so. I also found that I REALLY enjoyed writing books on the subject, and detoured into my journey as an author.
While taking on all of these roles, I am also a mom, wife, business and hobby farm owner, founder of an animal sanctuary, and mom to many animal kids. Routine veterinary appointments for services such as vaccinations, spaying or neutering, or dental cleanings took a necessary “back seat” to the work I was doing with essential oils, and then in 2011 – I made the difficult (but very important) decision to completely close our animal hospital to traditional veterinary services, so that I could focus solely on cases using essential oils. Gradually, this change has evolved to making 100% of my work being focused on essential oils and animals.
I am dedicated to advancing the use of essential oils with animals to reflect safe use practices, have documented evidence of effects and safety, study long term use with animals in multiple forms, and also give realistic expectations of what oils can do for a variety of situations. Although essential oils are amazing in my eyes (and in the eyes of many others…) – there are some things they are very good for, and still others that they really shouldn’t be used for until we have further knowledge.
One of the hardest things about being “addicted” to essential oils in my opinion, is the fact that I LOVE to share how wonderful they are with people. However, the second I tell somebody about my area of specialty, I instantly draw back and feel protective that the person only use the highest quality of oil. The quality of any essential oil is one of the most important factors in determining if it can be used safely with animals. I used to believe that I could rely on one brand or another, for consistent quality. But, sadly, I found that this was not to hold true. The only way I knew how to guarantee that the essential oils people would be using with their animals (with my recommendations or teachings) were of the proper quality – was to evaluate each and every bottle for myself. So in 2014, animalEO was born!
animalEO is my own brand of essential oils for animals. Independent from any other essential oil company or brand, animalEO was created from years of veterinary experience, clinical documentation, and with careful consideration of what works best for a variety of species of animals.
The essential oils used in animalEO products are sourced from a variety of suppliers and distillers directly. I order in bulk quantities, so most of your average “brands” would be eliminated from any potential use just by the sheer financial aspects alone. Although I order in “bulk” – my order amounts are certainly smaller than most large companies. So, I find that I can actually source smaller batches of oils from amazing artisan distillers and suppliers – providing even higher quality than what I could access previously!
With every essential oil, I personally use and evaluate each single as a human, and then with my animal family. One of my favorite slogans is “animalEO…Tested on Humans. Safe for Animals!” It really is true. I would never use an essential oil for an animal, that I have not personally used for myself in every manner that I would for an animal. So if it is ingested, I have ingested it. If it is used in drinking water, it has been in my drinking water first. Added to foods, yep, it goes in my morning oatmeal! I really find that I need to have a personal relationship with each oil or oil blend, to have a complete understanding of it. Animals cannot tell us if an oil felt warm, hot, or cold on the skin. They cannot explain that when it is 20 below zero with a wind-chill, that having Peppermint on their skin feels a bit too cold!
Beyond just the experience of using a certain essential oil, I also feel it is very important that I have used each batch and lot number of an essential oil we “order in”. This means that every time there is a new harvest, even if it is from the same grower and distiller that we have purchased from before – I will evaluate and use that new “lot” to make sure it is up to my full specifications. Oils do vary from harvest to harvest – and that is an important aspect to why they are able to outsmart bacteria, viruses, and fungi – leaving no room for the creation of resistance. But, this “harvest variation” can also mean that I might change the ratio of the Melissa essential oil added to our KittyBoost – based on the new constituent profile, smell, or aesthetics of the oil as it relates to an animal. Most oil lots have been in use in my “private” family of humans and animals for about a month, before they are ever added to a “public” blend or product!
Safety of essential oils, especially with species such as cats and exotics, is always a common question. So much information “out there” on essential oils, is based on a variety of published toxicity reports – but usually these reports are based on horrible misuse of the essential oil. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is not inherently toxic to animals – however when 60 mLs of the essential oil is applied to three cats – I am not surprised to hear that there was an issue. That is a horrendous overdose of essential oil, no matter what essential oil is being used! I can perform an internet search on several essential oils that have amazing safety records with animals, and consistently find a list that will include that particular essential oil as “dangerous”. It is very important to note that each essential oil has its own proper dosage range, and that range will be greatly affected by the quality of the oil. A poor quality oil should have a dose of ZERO in my mind, and this also can go for older or oxidized oils as well. What people often do not realize is that the proper dose of an essential oil, is greatly affected by many factors – not just the oil and the species of animal.
What I can guarantee you, is that all of the animalEO essential oils, whether a single or a blend, have been used with thousands of animals in home, shelter, and veterinary settings – and usually with blood work and other laboratory tests before, during, and after the essential oil use (I say usually, because we do not routinely run blood work on our fish or rodents!) Some of our recipes have even been used with cats on a daily basis for over 4 years! With animalEO quality, blending ratios, dilution ratios, and recommendations for use – you can rest assured that the use of essential oils for your animal family – is following along with our most current research and experience base.
Sometimes people ask for a GC/MS (Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry) or other quality testing reports on the essential oils we use. Sadly – this is a huge labor burden in actuality. Being that some of our blends have upwards of 15 essential oils within them – providing all of the laboratory reports for each oil is a lot of work. If there was a valid reason that someone was asking for the data – I certainly could provide it. Sadly – many people have no idea how to read the actual report or evaluate it – and they are merely asking for it to “tick a box” to prove that you have a report. I just simply do not see the value in doing all of that work to “prove” I have a report. I too was told to ask a company if they provided this data, as part of my aromatherapy certification. Truly, just because you ask, and just because they have the report – doesn’t mean a whole lot unless you have an expert to review them or the expensive references to compare them to. I choose to spend my time creating oils and helping animals, not creating databases or digging through files for the appropriate reports for the oils present in your particular bottle.
Another common question is if our oils are organic. Some are, and some aren’t. And this is not because organic is not worth it – but some essential oils and plants have suffered greatly in quality in order to obtain an organic certification. Sadly – some wild harvested and artisan crafted oils are far superior in quality and purity than any organic certified source. I will forever pick the most safe, most effective, and highest quality oil for use with animals over a certification any day of the week. Sad, but true.
My goal with animalEO was never to create an essential oil company in all actuality. For years, people have requested to purchase my blends and recommendations instead of having to make them on their own. Some of the recipes I use can contain over 10 different essential oils. I often found that certain essential oils would be omitted from a homemade recipe due to costs or availability, but also that some DIY recipes were just plain dangerous, irresponsible, or created incorrectly due to poor directions. Just like leaving an important ingredient out of a bread recipe – it just doesn’t quite turn out when the dough doesn’t rise properly. animalEO not only insures high quality essential oils, that I feel comfortable with using on my own patients, but it insures that the most effective recipe is used – every time! I hand blend all of our products personally, and family, friends, and now a small number of employees help me label and fill bottles, twist on caps, and ship out products.
I hope that this newsletter gives you a small insight into my love for essential oils, as well as for my passion in creating the animalEO line of essential oil products and providing accurate and current information on the best possible ways to use essential oils for so many amazing things! Make sure to see our website www.animalEO.info – for ingredient lists, characteristics, and recommended ways to use animalEO for your particular species of animal!
You can also find some great help and assistance with recommendations in our animalEO Facebook group by CLICKING HERE and requesting to join!
Disclaimer: This information was provided for educational purposes only, and has not been evaluated by the FDA. It is not intended to diagnose, prescribe for, or treat any illness. If you or your animal have a health concern, you are encouraged to seek the counsel of a health care professional who is knowledgeable in your area of interest.
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