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Essential oils are extremely popular right now, for everything from aromatherapy to various therapeutic applications. There are even at least two major companies who have representatives selling oils to friends and family and recruiting additional representatives along the way.

Many people enjoy essential oils, but unfortunately not many are aware of how dangerous they can be to your pets. Both dogs and cats are sensitive to these oils, even if they are diffused in the air, and can easily end up needing a trip to the veterinarian.

Here’s what you need to know about essential oil and diffusers if you have pets.


What Oils Are You Using?

Just like foods, plants, or any other compounds, you’re going to have different results depending on exactly what essential oils you are using around your pets.

Some of the compounds are explicitly toxic, while others are not harmful. (This doesn’t mean you should lather Fluffy in the “safe” ones… we’ll get to that in a minute.)

Just a few of the extremely toxic oils are:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Oregano
  • Cassia
  • Calamus
  • Tea Tree
  • Wintergreen

This is just a sampling – there are quite a few more. Before you decide to use oils in a diffuser in your home, make sure to research the impact of that specific oil on dogs or cats so you don’t end up with an emergency call to the veterinarian.


Dogs and Cats React Differently

An oil that is “safe” for dogs may be extremely dangerous for cats and vice versa. In particular, cats tend to be more sensitive to oils than dogs do. Someone may tell you that lavender isn’t toxic to pets. It may not be toxic to dogs but it is for cats.

Regardless of safety, never put oils directly on your dog or cat or feed them the oils. The compounds are extremely concentrated and can damage your pet’s fur, skin, or digestion. Cats tend to groom off everything you put on them, so they will “eat” the oil even if you don’t feed it to them.

If your pets ingest an essential oil, even a small amount, they should see a veterinarian right away.

Keep in mind that toxic oils can impact pets even if they are diffused and not given directly. You may not intend for your pet to ingest Eucalyptus oil, but if you diffuse it, the consequences can be dire.


Signs of Poisoning in Pets

How do you know if your pet is suffering from poisoning? Know the signs to look for and make sure you take your cat or dog to a veterinarian right away if you notice any of them.

If your pet is being poisoned by oils, you may notice:

  • The smell of essential oils on breath, fur, or vomit
  • Drooling
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Difficulty walking or muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on mouth, lips, gums, or skin
  • Vomiting

If you see any of these types of signs, it’s essential to get your pet help right away. It could, unfortunately, be a matter or life or death.


Trust Your Little Rock Veterinarian for Help

As a local small business and lover of all animals, we understand people’s desire to use natural products instead of damaging chemicals. However, not all natural substances are safe for your pets.

If you want to use natural cleaners or scents, focus on pet-friendly products and carefully research the impact of any substance on your dog or cat. Remember, just because it’s safe for one type of animal doesn’t mean it’s safe for another.

If you have any questions about oils, natural products, or how to keep your pets safe, we’re here to help. Feel free to connect with your local veterinarian by contacting us today.