Essential oil Safety for Cats and Dogs (aka Fur Babies)
FUR BABY WARNING
Cats, in particular, are sensitive and get sick easily with some essential oils, as their livers are generally not able to process as well as humans. Keep them out of reach and I’d advise not using essential oils on cats in particular. Better safe than sorry.
Having said this, I’ve not actually seen a case of a pet having issues with essential oils. I believe this might be becoming an issue due to the advent of electronic diffusers. Back in the old days (the 90s lol) we were all using tealight candle style diffusers. You wouldn’t leave it on 24/7 due to cost, safety and I’m sure many other factors. The advent of the electric diffuser had seen aromatherapy being pumped through the house day and night – I’m not sure this is a good thing.
Some tips to prevent your little fur baby becoming sick from essential oils:
- Keep your essential oils out of reach of pets (they can be inquisitive, and crafty)
- Take note of the below 'avoid list' for cats and dogs and don’t allow your pet to come in contact with those essential oils at all (remember that if you can smell it, it’s in the air, and can be falling on their fur to be later licked.
- Don’t wear aromatherapy jewellery around your pets.
- Only use essential oils on your pets for a specific purpose (not “management of issues") and be sure to do your research on the safety of that oil on your pet before use.
- Allow your pet to leave the room if it wishes when you are diffusing essential oils (even if they are not on the avoid list)
- Do not allow your pets to ingest essential oils, full stop.
Essential oils to especially avoid for cats:
Peppermint, Basil, Citrus oils (including lemon), Lavender, Eucalyptus, Pine, Tea Tree, Cinnamon, Wintergreen, Clove, Thyme, Pennyroyal, Sweet birch & Ylang Ylang. (note that this list is not all-inclusive)
Essential oils bad for dogs include:
Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Cats
Cats absorb oils that are directly in contact with their skin. Oils diffused in the air are inhaled and also collect on the fur, which results in your cat ingesting them during licking and cleaning. Toxicity can occur very quickly or over a longer period of exposure.
Symptoms of essential oil poisoning include:
- Difficulty walking, wobbliness
- Respiratory distress (wheezing, fast breathing, panting, coughing)
Symptoms of essential oil poisoning in dogs
If essential oils are kept within reach of your pet, you run the risk of accidental ingestion. Watch out for these symptoms:
- As above (for cats) plus
- Low body temperature
- Excessive pawing at mouth or face
If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to a veterinary emergency center. The veterinarian may note a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and signs of liver failure.
Collation of various other resources over time.
- Toni McMahon