Using Essential Oils Safely around Pets

Written by: Erika Lombardo

 

As the use of essential oils gains popularity, it is important to be aware of safety precautions surrounding their use around pets. Animal lovers always want what is best for their pets and often will search the internet for answers but it is important to note that not everything seen on blogs and social media is necessarily true. When trying to evaluate which essential oils are ok for use with your pet, please consult with a certified aromatherapist with additional training in animal aromatherapy. In addition, consult with your veterinarian if your pet has any health problems, as some essential oils are not appropriate for pets with certain health conditions.

 

Avoid using essential oils around the following:

  • Cats (more on this later)
  • pregnant or nursing animals
  • fish, reptiles, or amphibians (due to pH levels and their aquatic environments)
  • Pocket pets such as rabbits, ferrets, and small rodents
  • Birds

 

Why are certain essential oils not good for our furry friends? It is not just about the fragrances! There are chemical compounds that make up each essential oil. Cats especially have problems with essential oils because they have a very sensitive metabolic system. Cats lack a detoxification enzyme called glucuronosyltransferase which mean that their liver and kidneys can’t break down certain substances. If you suspect that your pet might be having an adverse reaction to an exposure to essential oils, please call your veterinary office or contact Pet Poison Helpline at (855)764-7661.

 

Some symptoms of exposure include (but are not limited to):

  • excessive drooling
  • nausea/vomiting/diarrhea
  • confusion/disorientation
  • lack of coordination/stumbling/temporary paralysis
  • dermal/mucous membrane irritation or inflammation at the site of improperly used essential oils (i.e. topical application or internal use)

 

When using essential oils, take the following safety precautions:

  • always dilute essential oils when using on pets
  • some oils should absolutely not be used in pets such as tea tree oil. As little as 7 drops can cause severe poisoning and 10-20 drops could potentially result in death.
  • Diffuse oils for short periods of time (5-10 minutes)

 

Keep in mind that when using essential oils, less is best. More of a good thing is not necessarily better!
For more information, check out the following links:

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-cats/
https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-dogs/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1595932084001505/