June 06, 2024

What's the deal with pets and essential oils?

What's the deal with pets and essential oils?
Dr. Chris Brown


Putting on the mood music, dimming the lights and sparking up the essential oil diffuser might be relaxing for us. But for pets, it can be a major freak-out!

So here’s the low down on which oils are tolerated, toxic or just simply annoying for the furry family.

Hint: Some household favourites are on the list 😳

You might be surprised at just how often I see pets with burnt skin, tongues or even irritated lungs from so-called essential oils. But it gets even worse than that. A quick search online will sadly find countless stories where these oils have even been fatal for pets.

Why the problem? With a small body size, thinner skin and a super sensitive sense of smell up to 100,000 times stronger than ours, what seems subtle to us, can be truly overpowering for them.

Plus, when tiny heated oil vapours rise and then fall in a room, they tend to concentrate at ground level. Right where ‘you know who’ is residing. Meaning they actually get more of a dose than we do…

Oils cause problems when they’re either inhaled, licked or placed on the skin. The higher the concentration, the more serious the signs.

The most common signs are:

  • Unsteadiness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Depression
  • Even a low body temperature

So here’s the essential info on ‘those’ oils:

The annoying:
• Peppermint
• Citrus (and Citronella)
• Incense
* Perfumes and Colognes

The toxic:
Here are the most commonly implicated. Note cats seem to be even more sensitive than dogs for these..
• Pennyroyal
• Pine Oil
• Sweet Birch Oil
• Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca)
• Ylang Ylang
• Wintergreen
• Eucalytpus Oil
• Clove Oil
• Peppermint Oil (especially cats)

The tolerated: 

Yes, unless your little mate is especially sensitive, these seem to be ok...
• Chamomile
• Lavender
• Cedarwood
• Frankincense
• Cardamom
• Rosemary
• Myrrh
• Ginger

So just remember that like cologne, perfume or pungent smell, less is more. That sweet little nose will thank you for your subtlety and restraint.
Smelling like nothing at all, can be the greatest gift to them. After all, their world is full of fascination already. Without your oil infuser! 


Popular right now
Why dogs do THAT leg-spread
Oh boy. So here's why they REALLY eat poo!
Are joints REALLY more sore in the winter?
The (surprising) reason why that lipstick appears

Something to paw over...