Over 5 years ago, I started using essential oils in my holistic veterinary practice. The evolution of using oils for animals, certainly took on a life of its own. Essential oils for animals became my passion. My life. By using and creating oil blends, and basically "prescribing" essential oils to hundreds of veterinary patients, my skills and experience with using oils with animals grew and grew. Over the years, many requested to purchase custom blends, or ready made products directly from us. However, I always felt too busy to take that challenge on...until now! I believe in "Divine Timing" - and certainly, all things happen at certain times, for certain reasons. When you are ready to move forward, opportunities will present themselves, and your world becomes much more conducive to the path you are supposed to follow. That is where animalEO enters...
NOW - reading the name doesn't always tell you how to pronounce it! So...allow me to explain how we say it. Of course, we don't just say "animal" "E" "O"... Nope, that wouldn't be unique enough! So - you have to get out your "Spanish speaking skills" from high school - and think about how you would say "anamalio" - with a "Spanish flair". An-eh-Mall-E-Oh
... Say it together with a nice rolling cadence... Okay, now you know what a "word nerd" I am. So, animalEO. Animal
ils... To me, such a beautiful combination.
My connection to the patients or animals that I help, has always enabled me to create something that is wonderful and specific to what an animal needs. Often, we make attempts to have a "human oriented product" fit into the animal world. And, it is not always an ideal situation. We either add additional oils to the existing product, or wish we could take out a few oils that are not as "animal friendly"... The human products work, and with truly amazing results. But, it does take a bit of "finesse" and experience to understand the proper ways to make certain oils work optimally for an animal. animalEO will take the guess work out of which oils to use for animals, and "how" to use them, by providing blends that already contain the most ideal animal oils, in ratios that are best for that particular animal. AND - one of the most important parts - animalEO products have been used
with animals already, and adjusted for the best responses and tolerance based on experience and documented veterinary cases.
One issue I have faced as a veterinarian, is that even our most loved and effective products or food lines can become discontinued or sold to other companies. I have always been aware of a potential situation that would make certain critical essential oils, unavailable to my patients. One oil for instance, was Copaiba. There was a short time when it was unavailable to order in the United States, and there was talk of it being "discontinued" and not carried for future sales. I had many patients who rely on this oil daily as a replacement for NSAID's (Non-Steroidal-Anti-Inflammatory-Drugs) and as a remedy for Urinary Incontinence in dogs. Panic was certainly a word I would use to describe the feelings of many of my clients - who felt that going back to traditional drugs for their furry friends was not an option. In response to this "problem" - I efficiently bought up any bottle of Copaiba Essential Oil that I could. On Ebay, on Amazon, and even in Australia while teaching at the Young Living Essential Oil Convention. I stock-piled the oil for my patients, but still had a valid concern of how I would supply this oil for my patients when this "lot" ran out. So, I had to seek acquiring the oil from an alternative source. This experience not only taught me a lot; it secured connections across the aromatherapy world, that I am blessed to have made.
Once we had chosen an exceptional source, we first used the "new" oil on ourselves (internally and topically), and then also in many human friends who rely on the oil daily for their own health needs. In this way, the oil could be evaluated by a human who could express their results and feelings regarding the new oil. Once we determined that the oil passed our rigid "human evaluation process" - the oil was then used with our own animals who rely on this oil, as well as by our "normal" animals who get routine blood work and urinalysis as part of continued data collection regarding animals exposed to essential oils long term - internally, topically, and by inhalation. Along with our household of animals that include fish, hermit crabs, gerbils, rats, cats, dogs, horses, cows, and a bird - other trusted, trained, and experienced animal aromatherapists are given our oils and creations to use and evaluate. We often have others evaluate blends and oils that we use for "special" animals like reptiles, aquatic species, large exotic cats, zoo animals, and wildlife. Usually by the time I have determined that an oil or recipe will get my "stamp of approval" for use with animals - it has been used in these ways for months. This has always been the way things were done - for any oil that I use or recommend for animals, no matter what the source of the oil was. And this same process also applies to "new" oils or blends introduced into the market - such as Hinoki essential oil - which had not been well documented for use with animals. When, or if, a substitute oil is ever needed due to a change in market availability - we are fully able to evaluate what is working best, and can recommend appropriate alternatives that have been evaluated specifically for the needs of an animal.
There are so many warnings in the animal community regarding using essential oils for animals - which makes careful screening, documentation, and recommendations for oils of paramount importance. There are many veterinarians and animal professionals who would have never become open to the possibility of using essential oils in the animal kingdom, if I would not have been able to explain this careful process to them, and reassure them. Although, as the years have progressed, there have been several situations that truly dishearten me. After writing my book, The Animal Desk Reference (ADR)
- it became abundantly clear that many people were using the recommendations within the book, with varying grades of essential oils. I've never been shy about stating that there are many high grade oils available in the world, but being able to recommend a consistent source - had made my recommendation of the use of Young Living oils to be a "no brainer". Many companies that I evaluated (I think the list is now topping 35+...) - seemed to carry a few really high quality oils, but right alongside of some pretty poor oils. This created a situation that would require too much "babysitting" for my taste. If I said to you - you can order Lavender from this company - but none of their other oils. Then, you can order Spruce, Peppermint, and Copaiba from this company - but not from that previous company I just mentioned... Then.... Well, I hope you can see the confusion and problems that could arise. Being able to recommend one consistent source of oils, makes good sense. By creating animalEO oils - all of the oils are pre-screened for use in animals, and have been USED with animals prior to them ever entering the market. Many times - even before, during, and after blood work and laboratory tests have been collected and evaluated on various animal species using the specific oils as well. The fact that animalEO oils are created and carry information and instructions from a veterinarian
, will hopefully make things much easier for those of you feeling that you need to convince your vet that you are not "the crazy oil lady!"
Another frustration I found while researching essential oil sources, is that just because a company or supplier would have a medical quality oil one year, it did not always remain true that their next order or "lot" of oils would remain within the same previous quality brackets. This is definitely something I witnessed with certain brands. I would order several oils as a representation of the quality that a certain company would carry - say for example Mountain Rose Herbs. Oils I ordered in 2009 from a particular company to evaluate, seemed pretty different than the quality level I received in 2013. That was frustrating. In several companies - the quality actually improved - which made me quite happy. But - it does seem there is a hit or miss situation with batches of oils. And, it is not just a normal "harvest variation" - I have plenty of experience with that natural phenomenon - and I can assure you it is a different thing all together to change grades. Much like smelling a grocery store fragrance grade Lavender next to a true and pure medical grade Lavender - yep, that ain't a harvest variation folks... just sayin'.
The way essential oils are purchased - most "brokers" or companies purchase a rather large lot of the oil at a time. This lot "should be" tested with various GC's (Gas Chromatography) and MS (Mass Spectrometry) to help evaluate its quality. With one company I was evaluating, they had a great "story" of all of the quality control that was being done (mirroring much of the popular propaganda...) - but when I asked if I could have the GC report from the actual lot of oils I was purchasing...the response came back that "We couldn't possibly match the lot and the GC together..." WHAT?! Isn't that the point?! I guess in a vet's brain - I want to be able to go back to a particular lot number of an oil I am using medically, and see the direct testing results for THAT oil. Not for an oil you purchased in the past, that could
have been the oil I received...
It is important to recognize that no essential oil company grows and distills every essential oil they carry. I do think it is a common misconception, but it would be impossible for the demand and variety of oils provided, to be met solely by one supply chain. The "art" lies in the ability to screen who you purchase from, to create good relationships with the farms and distiller, and the ability to run additional testing on oils, to make sure that what the supplier is supplying to you - is truly what they claim it to be. Along those lines - I have been attempting to create guidelines for oil use in animals for some time. It would be wonderful if a "simple" GC, or other test, could reveal which oils are of high quality, and which oils are not. But, alas, this was not something that could be determined easily. I purposely would have independent tests performed on oils that I can guarantee you - I would not
recommend using on an animal. And then, I would test oils that I would "approve of". The really frustrating result...the tests were not significantly different! Arrrrrggggghhhh! So, what did I realize along my quest for a solution that could actually be used for evaluation by the general animal industry? Nothing mattered as much as having an oil in my hand, smelling it, using it, and evaluating it personally! Well, doesn't that suck!
Not that GC's and other tests are not important. They certainly are. And, they should be required as we move towards more and more standardization, and an understanding of what oil constituents do, and why certain oils act in different ways. But, the harsh reality is that alone - these results "does not a good oil make"...
So what was my dream vision of what would be? A line of essential oils, that was truly evaluated and formulated specifically for use in animals. This was also important in the fact that even if an oil is deemed a very high quality, medical grade oil - some should just not be used for animals. It isn't always that they "can't" be used in animals. I do find that to be a consistent truth... However, just because Cinnamon Oil has
been used with cats and kittens as a single, doesn't necessarily mean it should
be used, or that there aren't more appropriate oil selections available. My solution? Create an animal line of essential oils myself! That way, anyone asking - "what do I use for...blank?" - could have a consistent and safe answer. With the most appropriate oils already selected for them, and even blended into a perfect ratio and, if needed, dilution. What I have learned from my own animals and from thousands of cases with veterinary patients, as well as many thousands of reports and contacts from others using oils - is how to "tweak" the use of oils to not only make it safe for animals, but also well tolerated and accepted. Flavors and smells can be too strong for many animals when using essential oils. Topical applications in certain ways (can we say feet?) - can lead to unnecessary irritations to the skin. What if, I could provide a consistent product, with much needed use recommendations, for the most common issues in animals? Issues that I answer questions about, over, and over, and over again - that just didn't seem to be "sinking in"... For me - the dream is HERE! animalEO!
Now, onto some common questions: Many people ask, "Well, can I still use Young Living Oils?" OF COURSE you can! I didn't write an entire 544 page book on the subject, just to say, oops - that was wrong! But, of course, things evolve. And, I am constantly striving to do things better and better for the animal world. I still support the use of Young Living oils for animals at this time, IF
you follow the recommendations laid out for you in The Animal Desk Reference book
to order on Amazon). So, if you want to continue to use Young Living oils for your animals - Yay for you!!! However, I am greatly saddened by people who think that just because I will be providing animalEO oils - that my book or educational courses are now obsolete. They are not. And, it would be unfortunate for you to miss out on wonderful references, that help keep animals safe and healthy, just because I will be creating something new. That would be like saying that because you drive a Ford, and I bought a Chevy - that we could not benefit from each other's information any longer... Huh? Doesn't make sense to me... (But, I must say, I do really prefer "bow ties"...)
The next question people ask, "Are you using Young Living Oils in your animalEO creations?" Well, there is a question that I can't answer legally. I know it is frustrating for many - but any product cannot actually state its sources as a legal liability issue. Since I am creating a product, that product now has to reflect on me. Not a "mother company" or other supplier. That would be unfair to the supplier - and also is why Young Living places restrictions on using their oils in products for resale in their current Policies and Procedures. You can't make soap for resale, and claim "Contains Young Living Oils"... That would be using another companies' image, to promote YOUR product. A big no, no...
So, bottom line; you have to decide if you trust me to select oils for use in animals. I don't really want to know if you decide that you don't feel comfortable with that - so please don't flood my email with responses. Negativity is just not necessary in a situation where the greater good of the ANIMALS is being considered. And, I choose to focus on all of the wonderful things that animalEO means!
Now - it is fair to also let you know, that several essential oil companies expressed interest in having me create my idea for them
. For me, I do not wish to work for "big corporate" America at this time, and with a project that is so special and dear to me. I have always been this way - just ask my parents! I started my own vet clinic, and also ran it out of my HOME! I worked with every patient, in every way. Cleaning litter boxes, changing cages, walking them, performing surgery, and being their veterinarian. Any patient that was hospitalized overnight, had our baby monitor set up right next to their cage, and next to my bed. I was never more than a staircase away from attending to them. And, some patients truly were hospitalized right next to my bed. Many of my clients were allowed to be present for surgeries and dental procedures, and also spent the night on my floor or on my couch, to be with their sick furry loved one. When I wrote The Animal Desk Reference book - I couldn't bear to have my "baby" taken over by a publisher. Not only did I want complete control over the editing, printing, binding, and quality behind my book - but I never felt it was right for a publisher to make more money on book sales than an author... I personally support small businesses, even if it means I pay a few bucks extra. What I gain in personal service and care of the products, is worth every penny. But, just like other excellent ideas that start in small businesses, I also have no doubt that other companies will try to copy my dreams and ideals. (I guess I can't really blame them, it is really awesome, isn't it?)
I'd also like to reassure those who have always been my friends, clients, colleagues, or just my "fun peeps" - that this will not change. Just know that I have been very busy lately - yes, even more so than usual - but you are still welcome to ask me questions and connect with me! You know where to find me! And there are several areas that are the best routes to ask questions...For now, the Finned, Furred, Feathered, and Fragrant
group on Facebook is an excellent arena to ask questions about holistic vet care and essential oils for animals. Very soon, I will have the animalEO group, page, and website set up - and I will let you know when that happens! (Click on the name of the Facebook group - and you can request to be added into the group.)
Oh, and I almost forgot to answer your most pressing question! When will animalEO oils and products be available???
SOON! The plan right now is to make a limited number of bottles of each product available for purchase as part of our "pre-sale" or "soft-launch" of the product line - hopefully by mid-February. There are many factors regarding product creation that includes business insurance, bottle selection, orifice selection, cap selection, label selection, and then "test driving" each available option... Yeah, it can take a little bit of time to dial in all of the particulars when you are considering creations of hundreds of bottles of items. That is why we will have a smaller "soft-launch" prior to deciding on exactly which bottle/orifice/label selections we will ultimately choose. (Bet you didn't know there were 5 different sizes of orifice dropper holes out there...) I want to have fully evaluated even the bottles and droppers prior to ordering huge quantities for use with our line. Yep, that's right...I'm that particular! So, be patient, animalEO IS coming...but, I know, it is hard for me too!!!