Essential Oil Safety Tips

You may find using essential oils for aromatherapy helps you relax, it’s important to keep in mind they can also pose a safety risk to pets. Here are a few facts and tips about essential oils and your pet.

Essential oils can be toxic.

It’s important to realize that many essential oil products are volatile compounds, which means they can be potentially toxic to pets at certain concentrations. Inadvertently inhale, lick or ingest these essential oils can be terribly dangerous for your four-legged “furriends.”

Signs of essential oil poisoning:

  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Difficulty walking or uncoordinated gait.
  • Drooling.
  • Lethargy or weakness.
  • Muscle tremors.
  • Pawing at the mouth or face.
  • Redness or burns on the lips, gums, tongue, or skin.
  • Vomiting.

Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils.

Their “Sniffers” are sensitive.

Your pets have a much better sense of smell than we do. Essential oil and/or other very strong smells might, in fact, be irritating to them and cause discomfort. Birds, in particular, should be protected from any strong smells; they have such different and even more sensitive respiratory tracts, and the inhalation of essential oils is not recommended.

It’s not the same product.

Many pet care products, such as shampoos, may contain essential oils, although because they are greatly diluted with other ingredients, they are generally safe to use according to label directions. Remember, pure essential oils are not diluted for safe use in pets, especially on broken skin. If absorbed into the bloodstream, damage and/or failure to vital organs can occur.

Potpourri Precautions

Liquid potpourri should never be used on or ingested by your pet. They are a combination of essential oils and harmful detergents. These detergents can cause chemical burns in the mouth and on the skin. If your pet accidentally comes in contact with liquid potpourri, contact your emergency veterinarian immediately.

Safety tips using essential oils around pets.

  • Keep essential oils and liquid potpourri products out of reach of all pets at all times.
  • Curious cats may want to investigate new smells. Never leave opened essential oils or simmering potpourri unattended.
  • Never apply a concentrated or any essential oils on your pet.
  • Using a diffuser? Only use in a large room to dilute the smell and concentration in the air.
  • Store your essential oil bottles in a safe air sealed bag or container.

If your pet has ingested or been in contact with any essential oils, contact your emergency veterinarian immediately.

Written by Monica Blanchard, RVT