Are Essential Oils Safe to Use Near Pets? – The Blog Post

Do you have dogs and/or cats?  Do you practice aromatherapy?  Are you concerned if your essential oils are affecting your furry friends’ health?  Many of my clients have asked, ‘Are essential oils safe for pets?’

Recent posts on social media outlets suggest that using essential oils near your pets can harm them – or even kill them.  In early 2018, a Facebook post went viral when a woman treating her cold with eucalyptus essential ois inadvertently poisoned the family cat.   The truth is that some essential oils are toxic to pets, and none have been scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for animals.  For these reasons, I advise against the application of pure essential oils topically to the fur or skin.  In addition, I also advise against the oral administration of essential oil to pets.  Even though many cases of essential oil toxicity were observed when large quantities of oils were consumed or applied to the skin or fur, it is better to err on the side of caution.

In contrast, it is safe to diffuse essential oils near your pets, if the diffusion is performed properly.  If the diffusion not performed properly, it can result in harmful side effects to animals, including headaches and fatigue – but this holds true for humans as well!

How to Diffuse Essential Oils Safely Around Your Pets

A few tips for diffusing essential oils safely:

  • Adjust the amount of essential oils in your diffuser (typically between 1-6 drops)
  • Make sure the room is properly ventilated
  • Diffuse for a limited amount of time (between 15-60 minutes, depending on the oil)
  • Allow your pet to leave if he or she wishes
  • Use essential oils that are safe for your particular animal

The Pet Poison Helpline has guidelines about specific oils that are dangerous and should be avoided entirely.

For dogs, toxic essential oils include:

  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Pine oils
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen

The risk of essential oil toxicity is higher for cats than dogs, as cats lack liver enzymes that are important to the metabolism of many essential oil constituents.  For cats, the following essential oils are poisonous:

  • Cinnamon oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Clove oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Oil of sweet birch
  • Pennyroyal oil
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pine oils
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

You can view my short video that describes essential oil safety precautions for pets by clicking here.