Extending a Paw to the New Year
Happy New Year!!
The new year signifies new starts and progressive change. Our goal at the Essential Oil Revolution is to continue to bring you exceptional integrative medicine and aromatherapy experts to educate you on how to keep shifting in a positive, healthy, self-nourishing direction.
To keep the momentum going, we begin 2024 by extending a paw out on how to optimize the health of your beloved animals. In this episode, we are joined by a world-renowned holistic vet, Dr. Katie Woodley, BVSc, GDVCHM, cVMA. She teaches us about natural ways to take care of our furry friends, including, of course, the safe use of essential oils. You will want to listen to the full episode, because this knowledge is paramount to your pet’s health. It also has an influence on your own emotional and physical wellness.
The Popularity of Our Pets
According to a review article in Forbes on Pet Ownership Statistics, pet ownership increased significantly in the U.S. over the past 30 years. Statisa reports that in 2023, 66% of U.S. households, or 86.9 million homes, are estimated to own a pet. This is an increase from 56% in 1998.
Dogs top the list as the most popular pet, inhabiting 65.1 million homes. Cats come in second, occupying 46.5 million homes. Third place goes to our fur-less, yet scaly, fish friends. They happily swim and splash about in 11.1 million U.S. abodes.
If money was a reflection on how much we care for our pets, it’s certainly an impressive representation. In 2022, expenditure on pets and pet products was predicted to reach $136.8 billion in the United States, a figure which has consistently increased yearly. This amount includes:
- $58.1 billion for pet food and treats.
- $31.5 billion for supplies, live animals, and over-the-counter medications.
- $35.9 billion for vet care.
- $11.4 billion for other services (e.g., boarding, grooming, pet insurance, and training).
How Pet Ownership Benefits Our Health
Many pet owners know that what they give to their animals is certainly reciprocated in other ways. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports:
Interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Other studies have found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.
The NIH/Mars Partnership is funding a range of studies focused on the relationships we have with animals. For example, researchers are looking into how animals might influence child development. They’re studying animal interactions with kids who have autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other conditions.
Furthermore, animals offer indirect benefits that may be harder to measure with science. This includes how they bring us into the present moment (enhancing mindfulness), shift our attention outside of our own problems, require us to increase our physical activity, and sharpen our awareness to our environment.
Pets offer both companionship and emotional support and form a vital part of their owner’s lives. In fact, according to Forbes Advisor:
… 85% of dog owners and 76% of cat owners consider their pets to be a member of the family.….
And a Forbes Advisor survey of 10,000 dog owners found that dog owners make professional, financial and lifestyle sacrifices for their canine companions. 
With so many benefits that pets offer and our own attachment to them, NielsenIQ sales data indicates how pet owners are increasingly humanizing their pet care choices. Over the past two years, for example, products that claim to contain “human grade” ingredients grew by 48%, reaching $38 million in sales.
Safe, Natural, Holistic Pet Care
Although the trend for more natural pet care is growing, many pet owners who are making efforts to eat well themselves and incorporate integrative and holistic methods into their lives may not have the proper education on how to do the same for their animals. Just like with human care, it can be hard to decipher what is truly the best natural option in a marketplace that is ultimately for profit and may not have the best oversight. Furthermore, pet parents worry about if holistic approaches could cause harm, being that many vets are not trained in them. Essential oils have gotten a lot of attention in this regard.
Opinions on the safe use of essential oils with animals run on both sides of the extremes, and everywhere in between. Some animal experts insist they are not harmful at all, and others report that they are toxic and should be avoided unless extremely versed in their use. (R, R, R, R, R)
In recent years, cat lovers have gotten particularly cautious with their essential oil use. Most of you probably remember that big scare awhile back related to a viral social media post of a cat getting harmed from essential oil diffusion. Of course, there were many caveats to consider. For instance, it was reported that the cat consumed some oil residue surrounding the diffuser, an important aspect of dosing not reported. (Cats should not be drinking essential oils!) The essential oil company and what essential oil (chemotype) that was diffused were also not transparent.
That being said, our little kitties do have a genetic variance in a liver enzyme that lowers their ability to detoxify certain compounds in essential oils like humans do. However, this does not mean they don’t have any capability to metabolize essential oils or that they should not be around these plant constituents.
What this scare and the controversies around using essential oils with animals do bring to light is how important it is to have trustworthy information from experts who actually have experience with their use. Thankfully, we have an amazing, brilliant, holistic vet on the show who uses holistic methods and essential oils with her patients. She is also a true pioneer dedicated to bridging the gap between conventional and natural veterinary medicine.
Armed with her love of animals and her incredible mind, compassion, passion, and a lot of grit, Dr. Katie, as she’s affectionately known by her audience and pet parents, is a sought-after international expert in pet health. This is due to her training and extensive expertise in pet nutrition, essential oils, Chinese medicine, and herbal medicine.
Dr. Katie Woodley’s mission is to ensure that all pet parents have access to herbal medicine, supplementation, and nutritional advice throughout their pet’s lifetime to help them thrive rather than just survive. Her goal is to ensure that pet parents know they have options to support their pets whether through illness or maintaining optimal health through an integrative approach. Dr. Katie accomplishes this by providing mentorship and holistic pet guidance and support to pet parents and pet professionals across the world. This is through a variety of her educational and online programs and the information she provides during her appearances on multi-media sources.
Still, being a holistic veterinary advocate is not easy in a world that is satisfied with processed kibble and where holism is not embraced by the majority of the profession. Yet, Dr. Katie courageously continues to create content that explores the veterinary science on the benefits that pets can experience when we integrate optimal nutrition, herbs, essential oils, and acupuncture into their lives.
You are going to be blown away by Dr. Katie’s knowledge and authentic drive to educate us on how to holistically care for our pets and safely use essential oils with them.
I can’t wait for you to listen to the whole show and learn more about Dr. Katie.
Click here to go to the episode and listen now.
Below are some additional show notes to help you integrate and implement all the amazing, non-toxic knowledge bombs that Dr. Katie throws down!
How Dr. Katie Started Her Holistic Vet Journey
- Dr. Katie started her journey into natural medicine due to her husband’s autoimmune diagnosis with irritable bowel disease (IBD). When conventional treatment couldn’t provide solutions, Dr. Katie turned to integrative methods.
- Seeing how essential oils and natural approaches were helping her and her husband, she decided to pursue training on how integrative therapies could also help her pet patients and offer hope when conventional care failed.
The Foundations of Holistic Pet Care
- Dr. Katie calls holistic vet health, “wholistic” with a “w”. This is because it treats the whole pet using a combination of the best of conventional veterinary medicine and integrative approaches.
- Essential oils are amazing in that can optimize and complement care in many avenues, but they do not replace the foundations of health.
- The foundations of holistic pet health include: (1) nutrition and gut health, (2) alleviating environmental exposures and detoxification, (3) emotional support (4) physical health and movement, and (5) immune health. These five pillars all influence each other. Optimal health occurs when they are all balanced.
The Scary Truth About Pet Food
- Like conventional medical doctors, conventional vets are not schooled in nutrition. They are taught to recommend processed, dry kibble.
- Pet “feed”, what we feed our pets, is not classified as food.
- Dry “pet food” contains synthetic vitamins, and the ingredients are often not human grade. It is rendered and what is not safe for humans is often put into pet feed.
- The high temperatures used in kibble production produce toxic chemicals that increase inflammation and oxidative stress. These processes can contribute to cellular damage and lead to diseases in our pets.
- For better pet nutrition, look for human-grade ingredients vs. animal byproducts. Also, do your homework on pet food brands that use real-food ingredients and are safe for your animals. Dr. Katie offers a free e-guide on how to improve the quality of your pets’ food.
- It is important to start with one thing at a time to not get overwhelmed when changing your pet’s diet.
Things to Know When Using Essential Oils with Your Pets
- Dr. Katie diffuses and uses essential oils with her cats and dogs, but she ensures that they are high quality and uses the correct dose. (See Dr. Katie’s list of preferred brands here.)
- You can use oils around cats, but they are more sensitive due to their different detoxification capacities.
- Less is more with these plant compounds due to their potency and concentration.
- Poor quality oils can contain synthetics and toxins.
- When diffusing around animals, diffuse in an open room and monitor their response. Start with one drop in a diffuser, then you can work up to higher doses per your pet’s preference. Make sure that your pet has the ability to leave the room if they want to escape the oils.
- Squinting and watering of the eyes, sneezing, and rubbing their noses on the ground can be signs that essential oil diffusion is too much for your pet.
- You can use “self-selection” with your pet, where you place an essential oil (with the cap on) or herb by them and observe their response. “Choosing” an oil will be different for each pet. It could be communicated by them sitting by the oil or smelling it.
- It’s helpful to keep a journal of your pets’ response to different remedies so you can monitor them over time. Their preferences change just like ours!
- Lavender, Roman chamomile, and valerian are all oils that are calming and safe to diffuse around your pets.
Safety Considerations, Dosage, and Dilution Guides for Pets
- When using essential oils with your dogs and cats keep in mind that if you are using them topically, pets will often lick them off.
- A safe topical dilution is .5-1%, which is 1 drop to 5 ml (1 tsp) of an ingestible carrier oil.
- Some essential oils to avoid, or to be cautious with, in cats when applying topically include:
- oils high in salicylates including birch and wintergreen
- high phenol oils including oregano, thyme, savory, cinnamon, clove
- tea tree (no, it won’t kill your cat, but only use it with guidance)
- mint oils
- citrus oils
- For dogs, be careful with birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and hot oils (e.g., oregano, cassia, cinnamon, thyme, and savory).
- You can start with diffusing and see how your pet responds before moving to topical applications.
- Do not use essential oils in pet’s mucus membranes including their nose, ears, eyes, and genitals.
- You can apply essential oils to your pet’s paws but be mindful of how your pet responds. Each pet is different.
- Test first before you apply. Start with one drop of an essential oil, rub it on your hands, and put your hands out to your pet. Observe what they do and take note if you should proceed.
Essential Oils to Use for Various Issues with Your Pets
- Essential oils don’t disturb your pet’s microbiome and can help with skin issues, inflammation, pain, infections, and emotional support.
- Be careful with products that combine essential oils with other ingredients for your pets. It is best to use straight oils diluted to start.
- Dr. Katie suggests copaiba, lavender, and frankincense oils to have on hand. These are gentle and have many benefits to your animals that she discusses.
- Ginger is an overlooked oil for pets. Dr. Katie uses it with her pets to help with nausea, acid reflex, vomiting, pancreatitis symptoms, IBD issues, injuries, and inflammation. It is also balancing and grounding.
- Myrrh is a good oil for skin care and healing infections. It can be used for gum inflammation and stomatitis. Dr. Katie uses a specific method for application that she explains during the interview.
- Myrrh oil can also be diffused to provide emotional support for grieving pets. Other oils to consider are lavender, frankincense, chamomile, and valerian.
Other Topics Covered in the Interview
- More tips on what to use for grieving pets.
- The importance of our pet’s emotional health and how they can “read” our energy.
- How pets remind us to take care of ourselves.
- The innate wisdom of plants.
- How not to get overwhelmed with shifting into holistic pet care.
- How to find a holistic vet and how you can work with Dr. Katie!
- Dr. Katie’s favorite essential oil DIY for inflammation, pain, and skin irritation in dogs: 5:5:5 drops of myrrh, copaiba, and frankincense oils in 2 ml/or more carrier oil (depending on the size of your pet).
- Our closing questions: (1) What Dr. Katie does daily for self-care and, (2) What she feels we should ditch and replace with instead for a more nourishing life.
Click here to listen to the full episode.
Please share this episode with all pet lovers!
Please support the show by subscribing and providing a rating and feedback on your favorite podcast player. This is a no-cost way to spread the word and to help us stay in alignment with what you want. It also ensures we keep providing you with the best guests, like Dr. Katie Woodley.
Links to Learn More About Dr. Katie and Natural Pet Care:
Links to Access More Resources and Dr. Katie’s Services:
- Dr. Katie’s online services
- The Natural Pet Care Shop
- Free Master Class Blueprint
- Blogs on essential oils
- Essential oil safety in dogs and cats and Dr. Katie’s brand recommendations
- Video: Beyond the Label – Are you using supplements that are harmful to your pet’s gut health
- Dr. Katie’s guide to finding a holistic vet
- Holistic Pet Guides
- Free pet food guide
- Using natural remedies
- Cat wholistic wellness
- Holistic pet wellness
- 21-day dog gut program
- Better gut self-paced course
Bio of Dr. Katie Woodley, BVSc, GDVCHM, cVMA
Dr. Katie Woodley, BVSc, GDVCHM, cVMA, is an internationally renowned holistic veterinarian. She is a member of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and the College of Integrative Veterinary Therapies. Dr. Woodley earned her Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Massey University in New Zealand and her Bachelor of Science at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Katie, as she’s affectionately referred to be her audience and pet parents, fell in love with the nature setting in New Zealand and it was there that she was introduced to natural healing before settling in Colorado. She pursued learning more about holistic health after a healing crisis with her husbands’ autoimmune disease and her own pet’s cancer. As a result, she received her graduate certification in Chinese herbal medicine, food therapy, and acupuncture. After her experience working in several conventional vet clinics, Dr. Katie realized that the system was broken and did not allow for much integration of Eastern and Western modalities. It was at this point she sought to change this.
Armed with her love of animals and her incredible mind, grit, compassion, and passion, she has become a sought-after expert in pet nutrition, essential oils, Chinese medicine, and herbal medicine. She has appeared on numerous summits, podcasts, and media, and hosts her own active channels on a regular basis.
Dr. Katie provides mentorship and holistic pet guidance and support to pet parents and pet professionals across the world. As the owner and founder of The Natural Pet Doctor, Dr. Katie provides an invaluable asset to pet parents around the globe. Her website offers an extensive amount of online veterinary resources that integrates Eastern and Western medicine. Dr. Katie also offers telehealth consultations to pet parents, along with education through her online programs, YouTube channel, Facebook, and Instagram. Her acclaimed Healthy Holistic Pet For Life Blueprint is a masterful program that is breaking the barriers to integrative veterinary care and provides access and the support of a holistic veterinarian, Dr. Katie, no matter where one is located.
Dr. Katie’s mission is to ensure that all pet parents have access to herbal medicine, supplementation, and nutritional advice throughout their pet’s lifetime to help them thrive rather than just survive. She is passionate about ensuring that pet parents know they have options to support their pets, whether through illness or maintaining optimal health through an integrative approach. Dr. Katie is a true pioneer that is paving the way to make for a healthier world for our pets. Through empowering pet parents to find and truly heal the root cause of disease, Dr. Katie is transforming the wellness and lives of her patients and their humans on a world-wide scale. You can find Dr. Katie at https://thenaturalpetdoctor.com/.
Naturopathic Medicine and Holistic Resources for Hormonal, Mood, and Digestive Support
- Stay Connected! Sign-up for my free weekly newsletter.
- Free resources and more education on essential oils and mind-body wellness are available to you here.
- Learn about my community membership program that provides full access to my essential oils database, essential oils course, Q&As, and exclusive content.
- Tools for coping with isolation and separation.
- The Essential Oil Revolution Podcast
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.