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Essential Oil Safety for Pets

Disclaimer: I am not an expert in essential oils properties or uses. I have used them for myself, my family, and my patients for the past 26 years. I have spent and continued to spend time educating myself on their uses. That being said, use this as a guideline for your own research.

Is it safe to use essential oils around pets?

Essential oils can react differently in pets and this varies with the type of pet. For the most part, if you are using the oils on yourself, the pet will not come into contact with them. For example, I wear a deodorant that I make which is a blend of essential oils and jojoba oil.

However, diffusing oils around your pet is another matter and caution should be taken. Their systems don’t process natural compounds the same way our bodies do, and some oils may end up being toxic to your pet. However, this is rare, and it’s generally safe to diffuse oils in the same home as your pet.

Can I diffuse oils with pets in my home?

Diffusing essential oils is a great way to incorporate oils into your daily life and stop your exposure to toxic air fresheners and candles. Interestingly, we rarely consider our pets when using these toxins. However, you may be wondering whether it’s safe to diffuse with animals in the home. Generally, this comes down to two deciding factors: proximity and oil choice. Some oils can be toxic to animals, so it’s important to know which oils should not be diffused if your pet is in the room. That being said, if your pet is able to escape to another room where there aren’t essential oils diffusing, it is generally safe to diffuse essential oils around your pets.

Are essential oils safe for dogs?

Remember that animals have a better sense of smell, so go light! There are many essential oils that are safe to use around dogs, but it’s important to use low concentrations when applying an oil directly to their skin or fur. This is not a comprehensive list, but these essential oils should be avoided when applying directly to your dog or while diffusing: Eucalyptus Tea Tree Cinnamon Bark Citrus Ylang Ylang

Here is another resource page that I found:

Essential Oils Safe to Use With Dogs
Download PDF • 256KB

Side note: Which VitalityDoc Oils can I use around dogs? Go to this link and hover your mouse over each oil to see its ingredients:

Provided it is not a closed room, here are the ones I would use:

  • Balancing

  • Comforting Cheer

  • Flirtation

  • Road Rage

  • Serenity

* There are several others I would use if not for Bear's seizures (see below).

These include:

  • Headaid

  • Mentally Sharp

  • Mint & Rosemary

Are essential oils safe for cats?

Cats lack the enzymes to breakdown compounds found in some essential oils. Still, there are many essential oils that are safe for cats. Oils that contain citrus/phenolic or methyl salicylate are especially toxic to cats and should be avoided. When applying essential oils directly to your kitty’s fur or skin, it’s important to start small and dilute the oil upon the first application. While the following list is not comprehensive, these essential oils should be avoided when applying directly to your cat or while diffusing:

  • Basil

  • Cinnamon Bark

  • Clove

  • Laurus Nobilis

  • Melaleuca Quinquenervia

  • Mountain Savory

  • Oregano

  • Pine

  • Tea Tree

  • Thyme

  • Wintergreen

According to the Iowa Veterinary Wellness Center, lavender, copaiba, helichrysum, and frankincense are SAFE to use for cats.

Here is another resource page that I found (there are a lot of oils on here that might be okay - do your research).

Essential Oils to Avoid Around Cats
Download PDF • 63KB

Do your research!

Before applying directly or diffusing in a closed room, do your research. Read the ingredients in your essential oil blends. Watch your pets.

For example...

With our last dog, I could pretty much diffuse whatever I wanted. She was not crated so she could leave the room if she wanted and nothing seemed to bother her. Our current dog, Bear (see cute pic above) suffers from severe seizures so I am very careful with what I diffuse. I have a number of favorite blends that contain rosemary which can be a trigger for these special pets. (Sadly, most dog food and treats contain oil of rosemary as well) Some others that I have discovered I need to avoid around him are hyssop, camphor, rosemary, sage, eucalyptus, thuja, cedar, and fennel. Why? These EOs have thujone, pinocamphone, or camphor which are convulsive agents. On the other hand, oils that have asarone, carone, eugenol, citral, or linalool because these compounds are known to alleviate epileptic seizures.

Some of the best oils for dog seizures include:

  • frankincense: most popular epilepsy remedy; stimulates limbic system, might reduce severity

  • lemongrass

  • lavender: the Swiss army knife of essential oils!

  • dill: contains 2 flavonoids that can help stop seizures in dogs

  • nutmeg: known to fight seizures (partial and grand mal)

  • coconut: anti-inflammatory (think brain inflammation); Bear gets this as MCT oil every morning

  • basil: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective qualities; holy basil reduces seizures, sweet basil lessens nerve action potential

  • ylang ylang: can alleviate symptoms of epilepsy

  • chamomile: dogs are usually physically exhausted after a seizure and the relaxing properties of Chamomile can help them stay relaxed which will help them rejuvenate.

  • copaiba: anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective

  • roman chamomile: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant

  • vetiver

  • lamiaceae: anthelmintic, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory

I do this research as much for me as for you. Just sharing...

Final Note:

Quality Matters!!!! I cannot stress this enough.

Do not buy cheap oils at your local supermarket and expect them to be safe for you or your pets. Just because they made some chemical concoction that smells good does NOT mean it is non-toxic. I use VitalityDoc Oils (by Wyndmere) available in our office and Young Living oils which I order as needed. If you want YL oils, I recommend you buy a starter kit which also gets you your own distributorship along with a discount on all their products. Sign up here: Young Living.

These articles were referenced for this blog:

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