Volatile organic molecules, or essential oils, are concentrated liquids that come from plants. In addition to being used in cleaning goods, food and drink flavorings, herbal treatments, perfumes, personal care products, and liquid potpourris used as house air fresheners and fragrances, essential oils have gained popularity for their usage in aromatherapy and alternative medicine.
Numerous liquid potpourri items and essential oils are harmful to dogs, including the oils of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree (melaleuca), wintergreen, and ylang ylang. It’s possible for skin contact and ingestion to be harmful.
How hazardous are essential oils and liquid potpourri to dogs?
Chemicals in essential oils and liquid potpourris are quickly absorbed through the skin or mouth cavity. The liver is involved in the metabolism of several of these substances. With liver disease, puppies and dogs are more vulnerable to their consequences. While exposure to small doses of essential oils and liquid potpourri frequently merely causes stomach discomfort, some concentrated oils, such pennyroyal oil and tea tree oil, can have negative effects on the liver and nervous system. Additionally irritating or burning the skin and mouth are liquid potpourri and various essential oils.
A dog could be harmed by just a few licks or a small amount on the skin.
Depending on the components in a particular product and how the dog is exposed, only a few licks or a small amount on the skin could be dangerous to a dog.
What are the signs of essential oil or liquid potpourri poisoning?
signs could be:
- perfume or fragrance on the skin, hair, or breath
- having trouble breathing
- inability to walk or an unsteady gait
- weakness or sluggishness
- muscles trembling
- pawing at one’s face or mouth
- Burns or redness on the skin, gums, tongue, or lips
- vomiting (you may detect the smell of essential oils in the vomit)
What should I do if I suspect that my dog has been exposed to essential oils or liquid potpourri?
It is crucial to diagnose and treat patients quickly. Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680), a 24-hour animal poison control center, right away if you think your dog has consumed or came into contact with essential oils or liquid potpourri. The prognosis and outcome for your dog will be better the earlier you get treatment.
Please be aware:
- Don’t make your dog throw up or give him activated charcoal. This could make your dog’s condition worse.
- Take the product packaging with you to the veterinarian clinic in a sealed container.
- Use hand dishwashing detergent to swiftly wash off any product that may be on the skin or fur.
How are essential oil or liquid potpourri poisonings treated, and what is the prognosis?
Your veterinarian will quickly and forcefully treat you to reduce the hazardous effects of ingesting essential oils. Treatment will be based on such symptoms if clinical signs have emerged.
Blood tests will be done by your veterinarian to see if the kidneys and liver have been impacted. If there are chemical burns in the mouth or esophagus, intravenous (IV) fluids may be utilized for hydration, and a soft diet or feeding tube may be required. Other therapies could involve anti-vomiting drugs, stomach protectors, painkillers, antibiotics, and liver protectors.
Recovery may be dependent on the particular oils consumed because certain types of oils are more harmful than others. Although there is no cure for this poisoning, most dogs can survive with early diagnosis and supportive care.
How can I prevent my dog from being exposed to essential oils and liquid potpourri?
Always keep liquid potpourri items and essential oils out of dogs’ reach. Never leave opened essential oils or simmering potpourri unattended since curious animals might want to inspect the sweet-smelling substances. Additionally, before administering any essential oils or other herbal products to your pet, seek the advice of a veterinarian. Never use an essential oil that has been concentrated on your pet!
Can dogs be harmed by the scent of essential oils?
Whether ingested orally, inhaled in the environment, or after coming into touch with the skin, some essential oils can be harmful to dogs. Melaleuca (tea tree), wintergreen, sweet birch, pine, pennyroyal, cinnamon, and several citrus oils are among the more hazardous oils.
Melaleuca/Tea Tree Oil: Although the diluted amounts used in shampoos are typically acceptable, dogs can be significantly hazardous when exposed to essential oils due to the high quantity of tea tree. Concentrated tea tree oil can irritate the skin and/or mucous membranes where it comes into contact, as well as causing vomiting, depression, ataxia (drunken gait), paralysis, and trembling.
Wintergreen: Also known as Eastern Teaberry, Wintergreen has a substance called methyl salicylate that is related to aspirin’s active component. Humans have applied this essential oil to ease pain, and it is also a component of candles with a mint aroma. When dogs are exposed to concentrated wintergreen oil, they will display symptoms resembling aspirin poisoning. GI discomfort, which can include vomiting and diarrhea, as well as seizures and coma, are common side effects. Additionally, some dogs may experience renal and/or liver failure.
Pine oil: These essential oils, which are derived from Scots pine, are used to naturally clean, disinfect, and eliminate odors. Humans have also utilized pine oil therapeutically to lessen edema and promote blood flow. Pine oil can irritate the skin, mucous membranes, and GI system whether applied topically or orally to dogs. After ingestion, it may cause problems with the central nervous system. Vomiting, excessive salivation, ataxia, weakness, lethargy, and disorientation are symptoms of poisoning.
Pennyroyal: Well-meaning pet owners may attempt to utilize this essential oil as a natural flea preventative because it has traditionally been used as an insect repellant. Unfortunately, pennyroyal can be lethal to dogs when consumed or absorbed via the skin. Lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma, and death are typical clinical symptoms. Dogs frequently experience liver issues.
Cinnamon: Foods, beverages, scented candles, diffusers, and other household objects all contain cinnamon essence. In contrast to cinnamon spice, dogs may be poisoned by any kind of cinnamon oil. When dogs consume or come in touch with cinnamon oil, they may experience low blood pressure, liver illness, vomiting, and diarrhea. While it is harmful to inhale any essential oil, cinnamon is particularly irritating to the lungs and can cause coughing and breathing difficulties.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the oils that might be poisonous to pets.
Avoid using any of the oils on this list if you diffuse oils in your house. In the event that you are using an oil that can be problematic when inhaled, the dispersion itself might be toxic to dogs. The risk of having these chemicals in your home also exists because your dog can unintentionally consume some of the oil or come into contact with it.
Dogs and other animals have trouble breathing in essential oils. Some of these oils cause lung irritation, and inhalation in some situations can have harmful consequences on the entire body. A dog’s airways becoming clogged with oil can also lead to serious lung disease and discomfort.
Fortunately, there are some essential oils that, when used appropriately, are generally regarded as being safe to use around your dogs.
Is it safe to use oil diffusers near dogs?
You might have recently noticed postings or articles on social media about essential oils, oil diffusers, and the risk they could cause to your dogs. For a very long time, essential oils have been a well-liked at-home treatment for a variety of illnesses, such as nasal congestion, anxiety, painful muscles, and skin disorders. There has been an increase in concern about how these oils may harm indoor animals as a result of the growing popularity of oil diffusers, a convenient way to introduce these oils into your house. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) therefore seeks to clarify this hot topic.
Are essential oils potentially harmful for your pets? And if so, what precautions should pet parents be taking?
As we frequently see, there is a little more to the response than a straightforward “yes” or “no.”
Essential oils can definitely pose a risk to pets when they are 100% concentrated. Health issues can arise in dogs and cats who have come into contact with oils, walked through them, had some on their coats, or had oils applied directly to them.
These signs include:
- shakiness when walking
- decreased body temperature (in severe cases)
If a pet consumes concentrated essential oils, you can also notice sadness, diarrhea, and vomiting in the animal.
Are some oils/scents more dangerous than others?
It’s possible that some oils are more dangerous than others. However, a number of things, like the product’s mix-ins and concentration level, have an impact on this. For instance, whereas another oil may require more or less, concentrated types of tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca oil) may harm your dogs with just seven or eight drops. It is preferable to absolutely avoid applying essential oils to your pet directly due to the wide range in concentration, formulation, and potential quality of these substances. To avoid possible ingestion, you should also keep any oils up and out of the reach of paws.
So, does that mean you should return your diffuser?
The APCC says no, not always. It shouldn’t be a problem to use an oil diffuser for a brief length of time in a safe location that neither your dog nor cat can access.
However, it might be advisable to completely avoid using one if your pet has a history of breathing issues. Remember that your pets’ sense of smell is far more acute than ours, so something that seems light to us could be overwhelming to them.
If you decide to maintain your diffuser, make sure it is placed in a location where your pet cannot knock it over and perhaps come into contact with the oils. Always err on the side of caution and “pet-proof your space” to prevent exposing your pets to harmful toxins.
It is advised to avoid using an essential oil diffuser in your home if you have birds, even though the same issues with essential oils apply to other pets including rabbits, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Because birds’ respiratory systems are so delicate, using a diffuser could cause them to have more severe issues.
Contact your veterinarian or the APCC at (888) 426-4435 right once if you suspect your pet has consumed or been exposed to a potentially hazardous substance. Download the APCC Mobile App or browse our comprehensive list of hazardous household goods to learn more about protecting your pets from toxins.
Can canines inhale essential oils?
Simply refraining from using essential oils in your home is the best approach to safeguard your pet from them. The following best practices are suggested by Dr. Richardson if you wish to keep using an essential oil diffuser:
- A diffuser should not be used if your pet has asthma. I’m sorry, but this is not negotiable! Simply put, essential oil diffusers shouldn’t be used around pets who have respiratory problems.
- Never give your pet any oils. Remind yourself to never put essential oils for diffusers or any other type of oil in your pet’s food or on their skin.
- Select an inactive diffuser. Useless equipment that sprays oil particles into the air includes active diffusers.
- Position, position, position Put your diffuser in a room in your house that your pet doesn’t frequent too often. Diffusers should not be used next to your pet’s food, bedding, or litter box. Make sure your pet cannot tip the diffuser over (for those with curious cats, this can be a tricky task).
- Air out your house. Don’t leave the diffuser running nonstop; instead, regularly open the windows to let in fresh air.
- Safely stow away oils. All essential oils should be kept in a closed cabinet that is out of reach for your pet. Some animals may be tempted to explore by alluring scents, which could result in a risky taste test.
Which essential oils are safe to use near my dog?
When it comes to essential oils, you’ll see that dogs and cats have a lot in common. Dogs shouldn’t use the following oils:
- oil of peppermint
- sour birch
- Oil of tea tree (melaleuca)
- Yiang yang
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and not all pets will fit within it. Similar to people, each animal is unique and has a unique molecular make-up that will affect how it reacts to drugs. Nevertheless, you might find it useful to include this list in your pet’s first aid bag.
You may always speak with a holistic doctor or a pet aromatherapist if you’re a worried pet owner who wants to diffuse essential oils to learn more about how you can use pure essential oils with your dogs safely.
Pet Safe Essential Oils for Diffuser: Cats
Among the safe essential oils for cats are:
Others, talk to your pet’s aromatherapy expert. Check the ingredients of any diffuser blends you have purchased to be sure no hazardous oils are present.
Always make sure your pet can escape from your diffuser while using essential oils. If it bothers them, they’ll leave the room, and ideally, they can get outside if they want some fresh air. To assist your pet in overcoming anxiety or other problems, there are additional techniques you can utilize. Every pet owner should be aware of the symptoms of poisoning in their animals.
What aromatic essential oils are poisonous to dogs?
Over the past few years, using essential oils has grown like wildfire. Despite being extremely popular, there is few and conflicting scientific evidence regarding the benefits to health. This is especially true when talking about how your pet’s health may be affected.
Numerous essential oils are outright poisonous to animals, including eucalyptus, tea tree, cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, wintergreen, and ylang ylang. These are harmful whether they are licked up after a spill, applied to the skin, or used in diffusers.
Diffusers, which give off a pleasant perfume and may seem harmless, can actually be dangerous since they release minute oil droplets into the air using water vapour. If diffused oils are used in a small area and/or for an extended period of time, it is known that both humans and pets who inhale them can experience respiratory problems.
It’s vital to remember that compared to us, animals like cats and dogs are far more sensitive to smells. A scent that seems inconsequential to you may be overpowering and damaging to an animal.