Are Essential Oils Harmless to Pets?

Although essential oils are popular natural medicines for people, many pet owners are confused if they may be used properly on their pets. The fact is that essential oils may be a useful approach to support your pet’s health, but you must pick the proper items and use them with prudence.

Cats and dogs have extremely different physiologies than humans, and their bodies are considerably more susceptible to essential oils’ powerful constituents. While there is some scientific evidence that essential oils may benefit people, it is crucial to highlight that they have not been well examined in animals. Scientific research on the treatment of fungal infections in dogs’ ears, for example, does not imply that the essential oils involved may be used as a home cure (1).

Essential Oils

Are essential oils safe for cats?

Cats, in particular, are known to be very sensitive to scents and to be unable to metabolize some chemicals contained in essential oils. This is because their livers lack the required enzymes. As a consequence, if essential oils are breathed or swallowed by cats, they may be poisonous (2).

Popular essential oils that are dangerous and possibly fatal to cats include tea tree oil (also known as melaleuca), eucalyptus, ylang-ylang, bergamot, and peppermint. Wintergreen, thyme, oregano, clove, cinnamon, sweet birch, and pennyroyal are additional oils to avoid around cats (3).

The most frequent gastrointestinal symptoms of essential oil intoxication in cats are vomiting and diarrhea. Cats in more severe instances may also have difficulties breathing, convulsions, and liver damage. If you believe that your cat has been poisoned by essential oils, seek veterinarian attention right once. Do not force your cat to vomit or give it any food or fluids without first consulting with your veterinarian. Most cats recover completely from essential oil intoxication with proper treatment (3).

Cedarwood, rosemary, frankincense, lemon grass, valerian, marjoram, and chamomile are essential oils that are safe to use around cats. This is due to the fact that they lack phenols, are water-based, or are utilized in a less intense form. To keep your cat safe, you should still err on the side of caution. Do not leave the oils burning for more than half an hour. Always use a diffuser and carrier oil in a well-ventilated space (4).

Are essential oils safe for dogs?

As with cats, it is important to understand that essential oils may be harmful to dogs if not handled correctly. Dogs have a much superior sense of smell than humans, which is almost a thousand times more sensitive (5). As a result, they are easily overpowered by the powerful odors of essential oils. Furthermore, certain essential oils may be harmful if consumed or come into contact with the skin. For these reasons, it is important to get the advice of a veterinarian before using essential oils around dogs. Essential oils, when used carefully, may be safe to use around your dog. To prevent any possible health dangers to your best buddy, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution.

The oils mentioned above that are harmful to cats are equally hazardous to dogs. However, pennyroyal, tea tree, and wintergreen are very toxic to dogs. Pennyroyal, for example, is an insect repellent, but do not use it as a home treatment for fleas. These oils should never be used around dogs since they may induce lethargy and vomiting at best and renal or liver failure, which can lead to a painful death at worst (6). Is your attractive, pleasant-smelling (to you) oil burner truly worth the health and life of your favorite pet?

Which essential oils are safe to use on your pets?

Simply because certain essential oils are safer to use around your pet dog or cat does not mean they are safe to use on your pet. Some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, may be labeled as an ingredient in commercially made flea treatments, for example. However, the concentration is most likely less than 1%. In certain circumstances, it is as little as one-tenth of one percent. More significantly, the product has been extensively examined for safety by the appropriate professional authorities (7). The same is true for cat and dog anxiety remedies. These have undergone stringent testing to verify their safety (8).

Worryingly, several sources claim that rosemary and frankincense, among other things, are safe to use on your dogs. However, do not succumb to this temptation for the reasons stated above. If you love your pets, get expert guidance before using any home treatments, particularly essential oils, on your cat.

Dogs and cats groom themselves, so any essential oil droplets transported in the steam from diffusers might fall on their hair, which they will then lick. If you use diffusers on a frequent basis, your pet’s health may suffer over time.

How to use essential oils safely around your pets

Because prevention is better than cure, if you are using essential oils for your personal benefit, keep your cats and dogs away from all of the associated apparatus. This covers the oils themselves, as well as the bottles in which they are housed, as well as diffusers, reed diffusers, and candles. Keep your pets out of the room while you’re using essential oils, and keep the oils and equipment safe when not in use. Cats, in particular, are inherently inquisitive and will be unable to resist investigating what is going on, which might have disastrous repercussions. Alternatively, your exuberant dog might knock over an essential oil bottle or an oil burner. The latter has the potential to cause a fire, putting your whole family in peril.

So the take-home lesson is that although essential oils may be a safe and effective approach to enhance your personal well-being, they should always be used with care if you have cats or dogs.


  1. Antibacterial and Antifungal Activity of Essential Oils against Pathogens Responsible for Otitis Externa in Dogs and Cats
  2. Cats and Essential Oil Safety
  3. Essential oils and cats
  4. Which Essential Oils Are Safe To Diffuse Around Cats?
  5. How Dogs Use Smell to Perceive the World
  6. Essential oils and dogs
  7. Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils for Fleas and Ticks on Pets?
  8. 5+ Essential Oil Remedies For Pet Anxiety











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