If you’re looking for natural health aids and insect repellants for your goats, the odds are good you’ve heard of animal aromatherapy.
Using essential oils for pets is becoming pretty common, and for a good reason.
But we always need to be aware of which oils are safe for our goats and which will irritate or be toxic to them.
Avoid sage, as it hinders milk production in goats. Oils like wormwood, hyssop, and camphor should never be used on pregnant animals. Cinnamon oil can act as an irritant and must be used carefully. If you use eucalyptus, always use a low concentration.
Most common essential oils are safe for use on your goats, assuming you dilute and use them properly.
Let’s walk through the dangerous and the beneficial essential oils and talk about how to ensure you’re safe when you use them on your animals.
Why Avoid Certain Essential Oils With Goats
We suggest you avoid the oils we talked about before or be careful when using them.
Some consider herbs like sage a danger to animals, so I would err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether.
Sage is not one of the oils we would often use for goats anyway because oils like lavender and eucalyptus have better-known benefits.
However, there are plenty of goat farmers whose livestock has eaten sage plants without experiencing illness.
So, if you are okay with this risk, you may use sage oil.
Just exercise caution.
Remember, sage is known to dry up a goat’s milk supply.
If you want your friend to keep producing milk, avoid sage oil altogether.
Wormwood, hyssop, camphor, and similar essential oils can induce abortion.
We don’t recommend using these on your animals at all.
If you opt to use them, anyway, just keep them away from any pregnant livestock on your farm.
Cinnamon, oregano, and thyme are all considered “hot” oils and often irritate your animals’ skin.
These oils, much like sage, are not as beneficial to goats as other oils. So there isn’t a reason to risk them becoming an irritant.
How To Be Safe When Using Essential Oils on Your Goats
Essential oils are a great natural remedy, but you must exercise caution when you use them, especially the more potent ones.
To err on caution, only use these oils externally, keep them away from your animal’s eyes and mouth, and always dilute them with a carrier oil.
Some of the best and most popular essential oils for goats’ health and happiness are:
- Eucalyptus Oil
- Tea Tree Oil
- Lavender Oil
- Lemongrass Oil
Eucalyptus is a great oil to use for respiratory problems or as an insect repellant.
But it’s a very strong oil, so always dilute it sufficiently before using it on your animals.
We recommend diluting your eucalyptus oil to 1% before using it, as we know goats are sometimes sensitive to potent oils, much like children and pregnant women are.
For a 1% solution, put a few drops of any essential oil in 10mL of carrier oil like coconut, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.
This will make any skin-safe oil ready for application.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has a very strong scent and works great to remedy skin problems in goats!
It’s also good for your animal’s immune system.
Just as with eucalyptus, though, be careful with applying tea tree oil.
It should always be well diluted.
We suggest using a low concentration of 1% with this one because it’s very strong.
When using this oil in the treatment of footrot, you’ll want a higher concentration tea tree solution.
Some goat owners suggest using several drops of the essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil.
Others suggest you dilute tea tree oil with water and spray it onto your animal’s hoof.
We recommend you start at a lower concentration tea tree solution to ensure your goats can tolerate it.
Titrate up as you need to for better results but take it slow. We don’t want to irritate an already painful hoof.
Lavender, a calming herb with a pleasant scent and lots of healing properties, is one of the most highly recommended essential oils for pets and livestock.
Goats reap many benefits from lavender oil, including relief from emotional issues, skin conditions, respiratory problems, and other health issues.
Apply it to your goat’s skin or use a diffuser so it will help with respiratory issues.
Note: This is a kind of internal use, so you must be careful about the concentration level and keep an eye out for signs your goat is having a negative reaction.
Lavender oil also helps repel pesky insects and keeps your goats comfortable.
If you want to use it for this purpose, spray it on your goats or nearby plants, but make sure these are plants your goats won’t be eating.
Again, though, to make your oils safe, you need to dilute them with a carrier oil.
We recommend starting with a concentration somewhere between 1-2% for lavender.
Lemongrass oil, and other lemon essential oils, are other ones we spray on plants to repel insects.
But be careful not to get it on plants your goats use as food.
This oil also has a lovely scent!
How To Tell (And Respond) If Your Goat Has A Bad Reaction To An Oil
Skin irritation and altered behavior are the most common adverse reactions to essential oils.
If any of these occur, remain calm.
Just add more carrier oil to the patch where you first applied the essential oil.
This should alleviate some discomfort for your goat.
All symptoms should be gone within one or two days.
If your animal isn’t tolerating an oil well, discontinue use even when it’s heavily diluted.
The goal with animal aromatherapy is to find an oil blend beneficial to your animals.