The Dangerous Effects of Essential Oils and Your Pets

The Dangerous Effects of Essential Oils and Your Pets

Thumbnail image from Pixabay

By Rebecca Fending

Essential oils have grown in popularity, their use ranging from purification to relaxation. However, all though these oils may smell great to humans while having great benefits, what many people don’t know is that certain essential oils and oil blends can actually have a poisonous effect on your cat or dog. Their sensitive noses are more susceptible to being both overwhelmed with the oil’s scent as well as breathing in too much of a diffused oil. Here’s how to keep your animals safe while enjoying your essential oils: 

Keep It Under Wraps

Never allow your animals to have access to your essential oils. Just as you wouldn’t let your dog have access to an open bag of Lay’s potato chips, don’t leave your oils open or in an accessible place. Whether they knock over the oil or consume it, uncontrolled use and exposure to any essential oil will spell trouble for you and your pet. The best way to keep essential oils out of reach for your pets is by placing them in a closed container, such as a cabinet or box. This container should also be kept out of reach, such as high up on a shelf.

Cover Up Topical Use

Essential oils can work wonders when used as a topical solution to skin issues. However, make sure your pet doesn’t lick the oil off of your skin. Pets can be weird about where and how they lick, so be sure to prevent them from consuming your topically used essential oils. An easy solution to this is to wear clothes that cover the affected area. You might also want to use your chosen essential oil in the evening before bed to cover up with bedsheets.

Diffuse Responsibly

Diffusing an essential oil actually throws molecules of the oil (diluted with steam) into the open air. While this can be a great effective way to indulge in aromatherapy, it can be harmful if used for too long. Prolonged use of diffusers can be harmful for humans to breathe in too much of it and for our animals to be directly affected by the oil’s compounds. When diffusing your oils, be sure to choose only oils and oil blends that are harmless to animals, as well as diffusing the oil for a short period of time. Prolonged inhalation of essential oils can lead to chemical burns. Most aromatherapy experts advise to only diffuse your oil for 15 to 30 minutes.  

Prolonged diffuser use can be detrimental to both you and your pets. Image from Pixabay.

Choose the Right Oils

Knowing which essential oils to use is a key component of owning oils, especially when it comes to using them around your pets. With as many essential oils and individual blends as there are on the market, knowing exactly what their effects may be on you and your pets can be unknown. Even with “safe” oils, be sure to monitor your pet’s behavior while using the oil to ensure that they are not being negatively affected by the specific oil or blend. The following chart contains a comprehensive list of essential oils that have the green light for diffuser use around both dogs and cats:  

Approved essential oils to use in the presence of your pets. Image from

Essential oils are a great way to naturally treat human health conditions, but should not be used as an alternative treatment for your pet. If you have any questions or concerns in regard to your pet’s safety while using essential oils, be sure to consult your veterinarian before continuing use. Be sure to refrain from using essential oils as topic retreatment for your pets. 


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