Safety first – Essential Oils and Pets
Updated: May 24, 2022
Just like humans, pets can be sensitive to strong smells and topical treatments. It’s always a good idea to check with your vet before we diffuse oils in our home where pets are present. Equally important, is to check first before applying any topical treatments.
Scientific studies that explore the effects of essential oils on our pets is scarce. We have to remember that their sense of smell is far greater than any human. What we might consider to be a mild smell may be overwhelming to our pets. It makes them more susceptible to reactions and allergies.
If your pet has come into contact with an oil, either by ingesting it, inhaling it or getting it on their fur you should look out any of the following symptoms:
· Disinterest in their favorite things (depression)
· Low body temperature
· Respiratory distress
· Ataxia (walking with a wobble)
· Panting, coughing, or wheezing
· Runny nose or eyes
Always pet proof your home to make sure that diffusers and oils are out of reach. Cats in particular are agile and can jump up on counters. So keep all your essential oils products behind closed doors when not in use.
Diffusers have become really popular. Many believe it is safe because it's not being applied topically. However, microdroplets in the air can settle on a pet’s fur which can then be absorbed through the skin. When the pet licks its fur it will ingest the oils and that could be a toxic threat.
Birds have particularly sensitive lungs and any bird owner should be extremely careful before using essential oils around them. Essential oils can cause respiratory issues. Also please consider other small pets such as rabbits, ferrets and guinea pigs. They are also very sensitive to strong smells.
If you still want to use an essential oil in your home, consider using reed diffusers because they don’t propel oils in the air like a diffuser. An oil warmer may also be an option if you use pet safer oils.
Only expose oils to an area for short periods.
The more diluted an oil is in your diffuser, the better.
Make sure that the oils are stored away from pets or that diffusers are place in an area where a pet cannot reach it or knock it over.
Air out a room where you diffused an oil before allowing your pet back into that area.
Never add essential oils to your pet’s drinking water. It may not dilute well and stay in it concentrated form. Any concentrated oils can be toxic.
Some oils are safer for our pets but you must first check with your vet before using them in your home. Especially around very young, senior or ailing pets. Oils such as lemon, lavender and geranium are generally safe. Make sure that the dilution concentrations are kept really low and ensure that the room is well ventilated.
Below is a list of oils that should be avoided:
Red or White
Tea Tree Oil
Safety first – Essential Oils and Pregnancy, Breastfeeding and Labor
Safety first – Essential Oils and Phototoxicity
Safety first – Essential Oils and Children
If you are not sure if an oil is safe for your pet you can check on the ASPCA’s toxic and nontoxic plant list.
Another great place to check is on the Pet Poison Helpline website.
In an emergency:
Call Poison Help at 1 800 222 1222 or go to www.poisonhelp.org
Call Pet Poison Helpline at 1 855 764 7661 (This helpline charges a fee for their services) or go to www.petpoisonhelpline.com