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Essential Oil Safety

Sav_na

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So if i put essential oils on myself and they do not touch my birds, but we might be in the same room. How might this effect them? Could just the odor from them being on me hurt my birds?
 

finchly

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Probably not, unless you are drowning yourself in them! I mix healing oil blends for myself and others, example hubby is almost always wearing either my arthritis blend or one to help bruises go away (he has really thin skin, his arms stay bruised). The fids don't seem to suffer ill effects. In fact sometimes they lick at it, I suspect because I use organic coconut oil as the base. However I do not use any on myself that would be harmful to animals because I have both dogs and birds.

I think there's some controversy about aromatherapy from a diffuser. I feel that since the oils are diluted (5 drops in water) they are safe. Others believe they end up in the birds' lungs. I do use them a LOT around the fids, and one friend just told me she helps her cockatoo calm down by diffusing lavender in his room.
 

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From what I have heard there are some oils that are better than others in certain situations. I've heard some aren't safe for kids or animals. I would avoid any of those but if you're just putting a couple drops on you I agree it shouldn't be a huge issue. I would make sure to clean it off before you have your birds anywhere near the area it is. Like if you put it on your chest I wouldn't let any of your birds near your chest/shoulders area until you clean it off.
 

finchly

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@Fritzgerald16 Yeah I have taken the certification course...use them a lot.. when I am told things like that I ask for the scientific study and there usually isn't one. There's a newer statement that's very generalized, saying they're dangerous that also isn't backed by science.

Also I always say this but I feel like no one hears me: do not ever use straight oil (if it's a pure oil) on your bird or even on yourself! It should be blended with an appropriate carrier oil. Even a 'good' oil can be too potent. I have used straight peppermint oil by accident and got a skin rash! There's certainly nothing wrong with peppermint oil. And do buy from a top manufacturer- you want a pure oil with no trash ingredients in it.
 

Fritzgerald16

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@Fritzgerald16 Yeah I have taken the certification course...use them a lot.. when I am told things like that I ask for the scientific study and there usually isn't one. There's a newer statement that's very generalized, saying they're dangerous that also isn't backed by science.

Also I always say this but I feel like no one hears me: do not ever use straight oil (if it's a pure oil) on your bird or even on yourself! It should be blended with an appropriate carrier oil. Even a 'good' oil can be too potent. I have used straight peppermint oil by accident and got a skin rash! There's certainly nothing wrong with peppermint oil. And do buy from a top manufacturer- you want a pure oil with no trash ingredients in it.
Yeah I was freaking out when I heard that! I use Young Living oils, and have also made the mistake of putting too-potent of a mix on, owww!
I'm still excited to read the book, I'll share any good mixes and info. I also wondered if somehow people were putting too-strong of mixes in their diffusers. I had a friend who put eucalyptus, tea tree oil, mint, and lavender in a mix for a purifying mix in a diffuser. She ended up having to open all of her windows and empty it out because her eyes and nasal linings started burning. I imagine if a mix like that at that potency caused such a reaction in a human it would be that much worse for dogs, cats, and birds!
 

Familyof12

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[QUOTE="Fritzgerald16, post: 2692182, member: 20299") Also, I was told that some essential oils are horrible for their lungs and can cause sores to develop inside the lungs, which freaked me out because I diffuse all the time :confused:[/QUOTE]

I've been told the same thing. Probably because it is too complicated to explain to most owners the difference. It's easier just to tell people "don't do it" rather than explain. If there is a choice, I'd rather people who don't do their research to not use them at all. If they are willing to do their research (which they should in IMHO) you can usually figure out a solution. We don't use oils but we go to our local herbalist and and they do the mixes for us. We like lemongrass, eucalyptus, something called she calls "spring mix" and she uses roses and other aromatic flowers and then creates a mix for us.

I'm careful with body and facial lotions here. Everyone is different and has different allergies and different chemistry. Probably our birds do too. I try not to add or change products as we are all hypersensitive in our home (changing laundry detergent causes hives-enough to go to ER).
 

finchly

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Well that is the other thing, Liz - people can be sensitive or have allergies. It is all fairly complicated.

I use lemongrass oil in water to clean cages. :)
 

painesgrey

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I would advise caution when using essential oils and diffusers. There is no governing body that regulates the purity of essential oils, so their purity can be dubious sometimes. This makes them not a whole lot different from fragrance oils used in candles, reed diffusers, and wax melts. Some may be safe, others may not be, and sometimes it's hard to draw the line between the two - especially when there are no studies to reference.

I certainly wouldn't hold my bird up to an oil diffuser like on the cover of that book. Cringe. The author of the book is also a proponent for a specific oil company - Young Living. Take her "expertise" with a grain of salt.
 
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finchly

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Just a few notes, writing fast... so I don't lose any more keys from my kb thank you Rio.

Oils are under the umbrella of holistic medicine, NAHA.org is the governing body. Purchasing from a reputable company will ensure 6you are
ereceiving therapeutic grade oils. There is a 'standard', AFNOR is the overseeing org. there, what that means is the main components are present in a certain formula (so that if you get melaleuca oil, it really is mostly melaleuca oil). That does not guarantee anything at all about other ingredients present or about purity.

do you like Rio's typing? :cage1:<--- he's jgoing there.


If you are going to inhale or ingest it, I would look for something that is "food grade."

This makes them not a whole lot different from fragrance oils used in candles, reed diffusers, and wax melts.
Hrmm no. It's not the same thing at all. Here's a tiny bit of information about some of the process of harvesting oils. Why dōTERRA? | dōTERRA Essential Oils There's a lot that goes into it. They all have to prove efficacy, purity etc.

The author of that book is very well regarded in the avian medicine community -- @Fritzgerald16 you go ahead and read it, and give us a book report. :laugh: I'm glad there's reliable information out there.


especially when there are no studies to reference.
What do you mean? There are tons and tons of studies. This book @Fritzgerald16 mentioned is one of at least 3 (that's just off the top of my head) that cover birds and aromatherapy -- if you really want to see the studies, I'd suggest starting with those books. Studies are difficult to find online, but not impossible.

I think "haters gonna hate" and always diss natural treatments if they do not understand them. Generalized statements continue to make holistic treatments like essential oils seem bad or at least mysterious. "Essential oils are harmful to pets" doesn't give me enough to go on......
Some oils would in fact harm our birds; the trick is finding out WHAT to use for WHICH symptoms and in WHAT DOSE. and finding a good brand that you can rely on.

This is why I paid over $300 for a clinical aromatherapy course. Yes, even when you are blending them for use on the skin or internally, it is still called aromatherapy. For some reason that bugs me. Anyway, I felt that the little bit of knowledge I had was not enough, and esp for use around pets I wanted to learn everything I could. One thing I learned is I still have a long way to go! But there are blends that can help birds with their pain, calm them, etc. Some of the more forward-thinking vets even have lavender oil diffusing in the doggy waiting room to help them relax.

Whoops it's turning into a long post....stopping...
 

painesgrey

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@finchly I'm a bit skeptical of organizations that aren't truly held to a standard by a third uninvested party. By NAHA.org's own admission:

Aromatherapy is currently an unregulated and unlicensed field both for the practice of aromatherapy as well as the manufacture of aromatherapy products.
Even reputable manufacturers, such as Young Life, have been caught using fillers in their EOs. How can you be guaranteed that your product is safe when there's no mandate requiring the labeling of what chemicals are going into your EO bottles? There is no legal requirement for labeling "therapeutic grade" EOs - just like full-spectrum lighting bulbs. It's a marketing gimmick and doesn't necessarily have any true indication of its purity or efficacy. The consensus is that it's a single ingredient, single crop, single distillation, but there's no way (or legal obligation outside of "food grade" products) to prove it. Not to mention that this definition means that "therapeutic grade" and "food grade" are mutually exclusive, as per FDA rules.

In your first link, CPTG - "Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade" is misleading. There is no FDA regulation for "therapeutic grade" essential oils - only food grade. Not to mention that the CPTG is a registered trademark of doTERRA... who manufacturers EOs. That's a little underhanded, don't you think?

Not only that, but the ASPCA Poison Control even says that inhalation of EOs by cats and dogs can cause aspiration pneumonia. I imagine it's no different, if not worse, for birds.
 
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Mizzely

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Essential oils are tricky. The people who claim that ONLY Young Living are pure, and that they are safe with pets use them in extremely unsafe ways - ingestion, neat (undiluted), etc.

I do not use YL or DoTerra. They have to be more expensive because of the marketing model. Otherwise, no one would make money. That is fact. They are not more expensive because they are more pure.

I use Plant Therapy. They are backed by one of the industry leaders for research and education in the art and practice of aromatherapy (Robert Tisserand). And they advocate SAFE use. This includes with kids under 2 especially, and pets. Some oils are extremely lethal for cats because of the way that they metabolize them. So, I have to be careful because I have a 3 year old, cats, and birds. That narrows down what I can use quite a bit.

That being said, I have used essential oils around the birds in VERY small amounts. I used copaiba for Gizmo to help with her arthritis and I did see improvement. These days, I tend to only diffuse them in my bedroom where the birds are not allowed anyways, as that is at the other end of the house. And of course, only those that are safe for cats and kids, too.

To be safest, hydrosols pose much less of a risk.

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils With Cats? | Using Essential Oils Safely is a good site to reference.
 

Familyof12

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Not only that, but the ASPCA Poison Control even says that inhalation of EOs by cats and dogs can cause aspiration pneumonia. I imagine it's no different, if not worse, for birds.
Wow...what a hot debate. Can we safely say that birds don't use essential oils in the wild? If they have any such aromas it's most likely something natural in their environment and who knows what their senses are really like other than by overwhelming consensus by the scientific community? Until then, I'd rather be safe than sorry. The price of failure is too high for me here.
 

finchly

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@Mizzely awesome! You have done your research and found what works for you.

You also answered a question - I always wondered why cats were so sensitive to oils, even more sensitive than birds really.

I am coming across as if I use them constantly, which I do not. I use them occasionally and for specific purposes. Just really interested in them. I don't generally run a diffuser because some bird or dog would probably knock it over. I do use one beside my bed because I have such bad insomnia. No birds in my room.

@painesgrey you didn't provide a link to your aspca comment, but if it is the vet street article they linked (they didn't write it - they referenced it) that's the blanket statement thing I am talking about. "Essential oils can be dangerous to birds." Which oils, in which concentrations? How were they used? What was the carrier oil? This is not scientific. This is fear mongering.
 

painesgrey

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@finchly It's not fear mongering when the overwhelming consensus is that fragrance oils = bad. Yeah, there may be some oils that are okay in some applications, but that's playing a dangerous game when the result of "oops, wrong oil" can have fatal consequences.

As for my quote, it's from the ASPCA household products page. The full quote:

Essential Oils
Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities. Inhalation of the oils could lead to aspiration pneumonia. There are significant variations in toxicity among specific oils. Based on this, we would not recommend using essential oils in areas where your pets have access, unless pets are supervised or the use of the oil is approved by your veterinarian.
I know that cats are lacking a specific liver enzyme to aid in metabolizing a lot of oils, but aspiration pneumonia has nothing to do with that. Every vet I've ever communicated with has said no to essential oils around cats and dogs, and especially no around exotics and birds. If my birds had a specific problem and an EO would aid with it, I have no problem accepting that as a specified treatment for a specific ailment. But general use? Nope, not worth the risk.

Everyone is free to asses their own risks in their household. All I'm doing is offering a counter-argument to the question as to whether EOs are safe.
 
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KimKim

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Hmm, always learning here.
I do diffuse DoTerra oils in my kids rooms often, with doors almost closed on the upper level. Like On Guard, Lavender and Breathe. I am also rubbing a couple drops straight out of the bottle, Cypress and Wintergreen, on my wrists for carpal tunnel. My bird is in the main kitchen family room level, and all is good here.
 

finchly

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@painesgrey My point is that your "consensus" is people with no facts to back it up for the most part. They read what you said about the cats, which ends with a generalization, and conclude "all EOs are bad."

It's the same thing as the use of herbal remedies, which I've done since years before they were popular. As soon as you say it people twist themselves into knots trying to prove that it is silly, not based on fact, etc. In the meantime, there are people who bother to learn about them and find they can heal their bodies.

And I must throw this out there, veterinarians and physicians don't like for us to use holistic remedies because it's money out of their pockets. And because they don't know about them -- they didn't learn about them in med school.

In any case, playing "oops wrong oil" as you say is the equivalent to throwing every medication at them; it's a really bad idea. You have to know the specific uses (and contraindications) of the oils -- hence my delving into the classes -- which only convinced me more that they work.

@KimKim Sounds great! I used On Guard when flying and FINALLY didn't get sick, yay!!! Serenity for sleep, also using that in the diffuser by the bed. And we go through tons of Deep Blue, aka Where's the Blue Stuff, for our muscle aches. My birds have their own room so unless I take it in there to diffuse they're not exposed.
 

Mizzely

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I think the point trying to be made is that there are not many, if any, studies with birds and essential oils. So since there IS known issues with cats, and we KNOW birds have a different respiratory system and are more sensitive, it is safest to say not to use them with birds. There just isn't enough information aside from anecdote for specifically birds to know that it's 100% safe
 

painesgrey

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And I must throw this out there, veterinarians and physicians don't like for us to use holistic remedies because it's money out of their pockets. And because they don't know about them -- they didn't learn about them in med school.

Holistic medicine that is proven to work just becomes part of conventional medicine. That's not to say that it doesn't work and will never work, it just hasn't been proven to be efficacious and safe by peer-reviewed scientific research.

My problem isn't that people use EOs around their birds. My problem is that people who use EOs around their birds and tell others that it is safe. When you have to add caveats like "what was the carrier oil" and "what was the concentration" then it becomes exceptions, not the rule. We don't tell people "use teflon up to 425 degrees" - we tell people not to use teflon.

I think @Mizzely summed up my point pretty well, so there's not much of a point debating any further.
 
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