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ESSENTIAL OIL DIFFUSERS AND PET SAFETY 

You can safely use Essential Oils in your home.  Below is information to help with ensuring everyone can enjoy them.

 

HOW SAFE ARE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR OUR PETS?

Many essential oils, such as eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, wintergreen and ylang ylang may be toxic to pets. These are toxic whether they are applied to the skin, used in steam diffusers or licked up in the case of a spill.

 

Diffusers emitting a lovely, nose-pleasing aroma may seem benign, but can be unsafe since it uses water vapour to diffuse tiny oil droplets into the air.  Inhaling diffused oils is known to cause negative respiratory effects on humans and pets, if used in a small space and/or for an extended period of time.

 

It is important to note that cats and dogs are much more sensitive to scents than their human counterparts. What you may believe to be an insignificant, fragrant scent may be overwhelming and harmful to an animal.  Be sure to have a fresh air source whenever you are using essential oils or burning candles.

 

HOW DO ESSENTIAL OILS PUT MY CAT AT RISK?

Established research has shown that essential oils can be toxic to cats, whether taken internally, applied to the skin or simply inhaled. Exposure can lead to serious liver damage, liver failure, respiratory failure, seizures and even death.  Felines are missing specific enzymes that provide the ability to properly process various compounds (called “gluconuridation”) found in essential oils, specifically phenols. Phenolic compounds occur naturally in plants and are highly concentrated in essential oils, leaving the liver the most vulnerable to organ failure.

 

Essential oil and aromatherapy diffusers, candles, liquid potpourri products and room sprays are all sources of airborne essential oils that can be inhaled or licked off their fur.  If you can smell the aroma of the oil, that means that there’s oil in the air and can result in respiratory distress.

 

General guidelines for the use of essential oils in homes with your feline friends:

  • Do not apply or feed essential oils directly to cats or leave oils in areas where they may come in direct contact. While some oils do have insect repellant capabilities, the risk of serious or fatal reactions in your cat is high. 

  • If your cat has asthma, allergies, or another respiratory conditions, avoid all use of essential oils.

  • Keep cats out of rooms with a high concentration of essential oils.  Kittens, elderly cats, or cats who have liver or respiratory problems should be kept out of any room where essential oil diffusers are used.

 

The following essential oils are considered poisonous to cats:

  • Cinnamon oil

  • Citrus oil

  • Clove oil

  • Eucalyptus oil

  • Pennyroyal oil

  • Peppermint oil

  • Pine oils

  • Sweet Birch oil

  • Tea Tree oil

  • Wintergreen

  • Ylang Ylang

 

IS MY DOG AT RISK IF I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?

A dogs’ sense of smell is much more keen than humans – this is very important to consider if you plan to use or diffuse essential oils in your home.  Oils used incorrectly can also lead to changes in behaviour, adverse central nervous system effects and respiratory problems. 

  • Keep essential oils out of dogs reach –  and never leave essential oils unattended.

  • Do not apply pure essential oils topically or orally to your dog without consulting with your veterinarian first. Oils can be dangerous – especially tea tree oil.

  • If you have an active diffuser, make sure the oil you’re using is safe for your particular animal (more on this below), and air out the room before you let your dog back in.

  • Passive diffusers are generally safer, as long as your pet doesn’t knock them over.  Generally speaking, the more dilute the oil, the safer it is…but always check with our vets first!

 

For our canine friends, essential oils considered toxic include:

  • Cinnamon oil

  • Citrus oil 

  • Pennyroyal oil

  • Peppermint oil

  • Pine oil

  • Sweet Birch oil

  • Tea Tree oil

  • Wintergreen oil

  • Ylang Ylang

BIRDS AND ESSENTIAL OILS

The Most Dangerous Essential Oil To Use Around Birds and Pets Is Tea Tree Oil.  Tea tree oils can be toxic to your bird if ingested and should be kept out of reach from all animals, especially birds.

Lavender and Chamomile are generally safe for birds.  But its always best to do your research and talk to your bird specialist before using any oils.  There are however, some oils that need to be avoided.

Avoid using these essential oils around your bird:

  • Tea tree.

  • Peppermint.

  • Tree oils such as - Eucalyptus, Arborvitae, Pine.

  • Hot oils such as – Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano.

  • Citronella.

 

PET EXPOSURE TO ESSENTIAL OILS.

What to do.  If you’re worried that your pet has been exposed, monitor them for symptoms.  If they start having a negative reaction, bring your pet to your vet right away or seek an emergency animal clinic immediately.

 

Common symptoms of essential oil poisoning:

  • watery nose or eyes

  • redness of the lips, gums or skin

  • vomiting and drooling

  • difficulty breathing or panting; coughing or wheezing

  • lethargy, tremors or wobbliness

  • low heart rate

  • low body temperature

 

What to do before going to our vet clinic or emergency animal hospital:

  • If the product was inhaled, take them into fresh air immediately.

  • If ingested, Do NOT induce vomiting or give them activated charcoal. This puts your pet at risk because essential oils can stick to the lungs and airway leading to lung inflammation or airway obstruction.

  • Put the product and packaging in a sealed bag and bring to the clinic or emergency hospital.

  • If your pet gets oil on its skin or fur, wash it off as quickly as possible using hand dishwashing soap.

And no matter which essential oil or diffuser you use, talk to your veterinarians, always do your research and exercise caution.