Are essential oils safe for my pets?
Well, the answer is not as straightforward. Essentially, yes, they can be used safely around your animals, but it does take some knowledge about best practices and what oils not to use. which we will try to explain further in this blogpost.
All animals are very unlike human beings in the chemical compounds that they are sensitive to and very different metabolisms for processing things that enter the bloodstream.
Most small animals, like dogs and cats have a much more sensitive sense of smell than humans however, there are also many essential oils toxic to dogs and cats (and animals in general).
Some holistic veterinarians and many pet owners today are turning to essential oils for a variety of health concerns in their pets, including flea and tick prevention, skin issues, and behavior problems like anxiety. Although with smaller mammals like rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters, you will need to be even more cautious when using essential oils. When it comes to birds and fish, essential oils are not recommended at all for use topically or for diffusing in their rooms.You may diffuse in another room or use oils on your own body when not handling them.
While some oils are generally safe to use in a pet-friendly home (when handled properly, of course), others should be avoided at all costs. These oils are toxic or high in ketones or phenols, so avoid using them on or near your pets: Anise, Birch, Bitter Almond, Blue Tansy, Camphor, Cassia, Clove Garlic, Eucalyptus, Hyssop, Juniper, Mugwort, Mustard, Oregano, Pennyroyal, Rosemary, Rue, Savory, Tea Tree, Thuja, Thyme Wintergreen, Wormwood, and Yarrow.
* This list is not exhaustive; please speak with your veterinarian before using essential oils.
Before purchasing a new type of oil, conduct your own research to see if it’s safe to use near your animals. If you use these oils for personal application, keep them sealed and stored safely out of reach, being mindful of contact with your animal when you have oils on.
For cats, in small areas, be careful with citrus, mint, and pine oils as these tend to be the most dangerous when inhaled.
Refrain from diffusing oils in rooms where small animals (including birds and reptiles) are kept and only apply oils to yourself after handling your little pets. If you’re using oils in other areas of the home, remember to check on them frequently and note any changes.
Using essential oils as a chemical-free ingredient in DIY cleaning products is a great way to have a sparkling, healthy home. However, these products can be overwhelming or even tempting for pets. Keep an eye on dogs and cats who might be tempted to lick the newly cleaned spot. If possible, avoid using any of the worst offenders in your at-home cleaning blends. Keep animals out of the area until any wet spots have dried and the smell has dissipated.
There are various types of oils that are harmless to pets and can even be helpful in some cases. For example, argan oil benefits animals by keeping their coats shiny and their skin moisturized. Peppermint and spearmint oil can help eliminate pet odors in the home when applied topically with a carrier oil. For your dog, remember that their sense of smell is extremely heightened. This means that for topical use, you will need to dilute big time! Believe it or not, as little as .5-1% essential oil to carrier oil is effective for use with a dog. When applying topically, use it in a place where the dog cannot lick it. The best areas are neck, chest, or inside their upper leg. Do not use on puppies under 10 weeks old or dogs that are pregnant.
Essential oils are not recommended for use topically on cats because they lack an important liver enzyme that allows them to break down the oils in their system. Over time, this leads to a build up of toxins in their bodies
Above all, keep an eye out for any changes in their well-being or behavior. In addition to the information provided, we always ask that you discuss with your veterinarian.