This last week has been a fun and busy week! I spoke at the Midwest Veterinary Conference on Thursday the 19th, had our first animalEO exhibitors booth, and then Dr. Karen Becker's interview with me came out on the 22nd! To say that my email is overflowing - is a major understatement!
I want to send out a big welcome 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. 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 issues. 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 new roles, I was also a mom, wife, business and hobby farm owner, 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. 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 to 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 windchill, 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".
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.
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. 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, bottle, and ship out all of our products personally. My family and friends help me label bottles and twist on caps when my hands are tired! Even Spider-Man has made a guest appearance to help me label!
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!
If you haven't viewed Dr. Karen Becker's interview with me yet - you can also find that by CLICKING HERE!
ORDER animalEO Essential Oils for Animals by CLICKING HERE
Please visit www.animalEO.info - and read more about our products, order a few to try out, and come back often for new information, products, and educational experiences! Make sure you are on our mailing list to be updated on all the new happenings.
You can also visit my website www.OilyVet.com for information on classes, links to past newsletters, to purchase books on using Essential Oils in animals, to view You Tube Videos, and more!
And remember, I only recommend the use of what I term, "veterinary grade essential oils" for use with animals (or humans for that matter). The use of essential oils that have not been evaluated and proven safe for use in animals, is not recommended, and may prove dangerous for your animals. Through research, case studies, and retrospective studies - I am documenting the difference in qualities of essential oils in my veterinary hospital - and we are continually striving to provide more information to everyone who desires to use essential oils for their animals.
Until Next Time!
Melissa Shelton DVM
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.