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Toxic Essential Oils for Pets

October 19, 2022 4 min read

Toxic Essential Oils for Pets

With fall here you may feel tempted to open up your drawer of essential oils and have the house smelling like apple cider, cinnamon, and all the fall scents you know and love. There are essential oils that remind you of the fall and bring comfort to your home. It gives you that reminder of leaves falling, hay rides, Halloween, and all the joyful events that fall brings. If you have furry friends in the house be alert about which essential oils you choose to have around.

Your four-legged companions may love some essential oils! They can be beneficial when used correctly. Your cats and dogs can find themselves enjoying the smell of essential oils and it may possibly become a smell they associate positive emotions with. Although essential oils can smell great and help you with headaches, odors, stress, and beauty, be wary when using essential oils around the house. Your pet can have a negative reaction to certain mixtures and scents of oils. It’s important to take some time to learn which oils are safe and which ones are toxic for your pet.


What Are Common Toxic Oils:

For your dog, you will want to stay away from oils that include or are made up of

  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint
  • Wintergreen


For your cat, you should stay away from oils that include or are made up of

  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Thyme
  • Orange


These are just a few oils that can render toxic to your pet. This isn’t a full list, of course, there are other essential oils that can be toxic and you should be mindful of them. You should avoid these oils in your home and/or skin entirely. Even when using oils that aren’t on the toxic list, be sure to not feed your pet these oils or have them drink them. Exposure to toxic oils can be dangerous for the health of your four-legged friend.


How you Could Incorrectly Handle Oils

Accidents do occur but you should attempt to keep a proper handle on oils when you have pets in your home. You need to take precautions to ensure your dog or cat won't accidentally spill, smell, or lick the oil. When using essential oil diffusers you will want to ensure one or more of the toxic oils listed above aren’t in the diffuser so the air isn’t saturated with those scents. 

Maintain your essential oils in a drawer out of reach from your pets. You will want to make sure your pets are well-trained and that their curiosity won’t lead them to ingest dangerous oils. The mishandling of essential oils can be as simple as mixing two scents without knowing what effect they could have. When you have a pet in your home you have to take precautions when mixing oils. A mixture of scents can cause a dangerous reaction for them. Take the necessary steps to be aware of where your oils are being placed and how you are using them in your household.


How to Be Safe When Handling your Oils

When introducing your four-legged companion to new oils you will want to go about it safely as possible. Start off slow when introducing them to new scents and mixtures. Your pet will give you non-verbal cues to let you know if they are rejecting the oil or having a bad reaction to it. If your pet is having issues with oils you will be able to tell by respiratory issues, behavioral changes, and excessive drooling. If this does happen you should know the necessary steps to take. You will want to remove all oils from your space immediately and monitor your pet for continued symptoms.

As always, accidents can happen and you should be prepared to take your pet to the veterinarian or urgent care for animals should an emergency pop up. One of the biggest risks with toxic oils is that your pet can go into shock and need immediate treatment from a professional. It will be helpful to have a few things on hand such as medical records, pet insurance, and a list of allergies to be prepared for emergencies of any kind. If these are things you don’t have already, your vet should be able to provide you with your pet’s medical history and you can research how pet insurance works to get the process started. Having the cost of an unexpected vet bill is the last thing you need to worry about when helping your pet recover from an accident.

Essential, fragrance and carrier oils are incredible resources to have around the house and for your daily activities but have precautions when you have your four-legged friends near. Before you get started introducing oils to your pets, take advantage of your vet’s knowledge and talk to them about safety procedures when handling oils and your pet. Oils are meant to be fun and can be used safely. Your dog or cat can have a fun spa day or a calm day watching movies with you while you have oils in the home. Remember to oil safely! 


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