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  • Libby

Are Essential Oils Safe For Pets?

More and more people are choosing natural essential oils to enjoy the amazing benefits they offer. But the one big question that I get a lot of is...

Are essential oils safe for dogs?

If you want an honest answer...they can be, but not necessarily. Before you do anything, you need to consider this...

Most animals, especially dogs, have a significantly higher sensitivity to smells than we do. Fragrances that we use, in the quantity that we would normally use them, will be extremely overwhelming for their nose. Something that smells quite mild and light to us, will be extremely pungent to any animal.

  • It has been recorded that a dog's sense of smell is approximately 10,000 - 100,000 times more sensitive than ours.

  • And a dog's nose is said to contain 300 million olfactory receptors, whereas we only have around 6 million!

That's a massive difference.

A dog's nose.

This doesn't mean you need to choose between essential oils and your beloved pets, it just means you need to be careful and take caution when they're around.

With this in mind, there are some things you should, could, and definitely shouldn't do.

Do - decrease the dilution

If you are going to diffuse essential oils in your home, it would be advisable to halve the advised amount of oil you put in your diffuser. The more dilute the oil, the less overpowering for your pet.

Do - leave a door open

This is a big one! Animals like cats and dogs are very intelligent animals, they know when there's something they don't like and will leave an area if they feel the need to, but you must ensure you are providing an open door for them to exit freely. Also, be aware of how your pet is acting, you know your pet better than anyone else, so remove them from the room if you feel there is a problem.

Do - be aware of respiratory issues

If you know your pet has or has had a history of breathing problems, home fragrances should be avoided. This is especially important, and a MUST if you have pet birds and parrots!

I cannot stress this enough...Do not use anything that emits fragrance, fumes, smoke, or chemical vapours anywhere near (or in the same room as) your pet birds.

My partner and I have had Cockatiels collectively, for over 20 years, and we know all too well not to diffuse oils, burn candles, use cleaning liquids, etc, anywhere near them.

A bird's respiratory system is different from ours. Unfortunately, this makes all birds especially prone to respiratory issues. Birds have "special air sacs in addition to their lungs, with hollow bones that allow oxygen to flow around the body more easily. This means that one bird breath goes further and does more work than one mammal breath". Any fumes or unnatural chemicals they breathe in, however small the amount, will be very dangerous to a bird's respiratory system. The only thing they should be breathing in is clean air.

Do - Keep oils out of reach

Keep your essential oil bottles tightly sealed and away from wagging tails and curious paws. In their concentrated form, pure essential oils can be extremely dangerous if ingested (even for us) or come in contact with skin, fur, or paws. If your pet ever ingests any essential oils or gets it in their eyes, ears, etc, then head straight to a veterinarian, or call them for emergency advice.

DO NOT - apply essential oils to your pet's skin.

You should never apply undiluted essential oils to your own skin, so don't apply them to your pet's skin.

It's true, that essential oils are used on animals all over the world, for holistic healing and animal aromatherapy, just like they are for humans, but only by a professional, in a controlled environment, and never undiluted.

which essential oils are toxic to pets?

Some essential oils should be avoided around pets. Some that I am aware of. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Tea Tree

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

  • Cinnamon

  • Cassia

  • Fennel

  • Wintergreen

  • Eucalyptus (cats)

  • Citrus oils (cats)

Cats are more prone to toxicity when it comes to essential oils, and may be more than what's listed above, so it is of the utmost importance that any advice about which oils are toxic to your pets should be advised by a qualified veterinarian.

are fragrance oils safe for pets?

I have not included fragrance oils in the list above, because I do not use them in my products.

Fragrance Oils are NOT the same as Essential Oils, and they are NOT natural essences. Fragrance Oils are synthetic and are created in a lab by mixing 50 - 80+ synthetic chemicals and essences to mimic fragrances like Pomegranate, Lime, Basil & Mandarin, or Peony. They are stronger smelling fragrances and will be even stronger to an animal's senses, which potentially could be more harmful.

always - Consult a veterinarian

I am not a professional Veterinarian, so I don't claim to know all the ins and outs. But I am a complete and utter animal lover, so everything I have included in this post is from my own experience in Aromatherapy, common sense, research, learning, passion, and of course advice from our own Veterinarian.

Two small dogs running side by side towards the camera.

Again, none of this means that you need to throw out all of your essential oils and diffusers. It just means, that if you choose to use essential oils in the home and you have pets, be cautious, aware, and always provide them with an exit. But for complete piece of mind and professional information, seek advice from your Vet.

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