Essential oils have been a “thing” for quite some time now—all the rage for people interested in holistic remedies, aromatherapy, cleaning, and skincare, among other uses. With the purported benefits for better mental and emotional health, some pet parents are now considering whether essential oils might be good for their pets. The truth is, a lot of essential oils can actually be harmful to cats and dogs.
Whether you’re new to the world of essential oils or are trying to learn about which essential oils are right for your fur-family, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s look at what essential oils are, which oils are dangerous for cats and dogs, and why.
Where Essential Oils Come From
Typically, these oils are extracted from plants, which is part of the reason why they are so popular among holistic and all-natural circuits. While the word “essential” implies “necessary,” the essential in this case just means that the oils are thought to contain the “essence” of a plant’s fragrance. So, for instance, lavender oil smells like the lavender plant.
Essential oils are, for the most part, not to be consumed orally, as they are not the same kind of oil as, say, olive or vegetable oil. When applied to skin for humans, people diffuse essential oil with a carrier oil that allows for a more subtle and safe application process. When used for aromatherapy, they are used with a diffuser. The list goes on when it comes to the applications and uses of essential oil, but the necessary takeaway is that essential oils in its raw form are harsh. Which leads us to the problem of using essential oils around your pets.
Pets and Essential Oils
As we mentioned, essential oils are powerful and extremely strong smelling. If you opened a bottle of, say, tea tree oil and took a big whiff, your nostrils would likely burn. Similarly, applying any essential oil directly to your skin will most likely tingle, burn, or even cause a negative reaction.
Still, humans are capable of taking on and processing these kinds of issues. And, while pet parents and their fur-babies are similar in so many ways, this is not one of them! At the very least, think of how powerful your dog’s sense of smell is! (And cats, for that matter.)
While there may be some essential oils that might be safe in tiny quantities around animals, you should always talk to your holistic veterinarian first. Never decide to use essential oils in any capacity around your pets without having that dialogue with your trusted vet!
Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Cats
It’s important to note that this might not be an exhaustive list of harmful essential oils, which is why we stress that you should consult your holistic veterinarian first. Whether applied as a topical agent, consumed, or diffused, these oils are harmful to felines:
- Tea tree
- Sweet birch
- Ylang ylang
Some say that lavender, copaiba, frankincense, and helichrysum are safe to use in a cat household. After confirming with your vet, diffusing oils that are safe for cats should not pose a problem for her, as long as she is never left alone with a diffuser or in a confined space with it. You should make sure your cat is able to leave the space where essential oils are being used.
Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Dogs
Many of these are the same as the list above, while there are some that are harmful to dogs in particular. These include, and may not be limited to:
- Ylang ylang
- Sweet birch
- Tea tree
Some say that chamomile, frankincense, ginger, lavender, peppermint, and myrrh are fine for dogs. But if you’re a pet parent of both dogs and cats, you’ll want to do your research, consult your vet, and find the sweet spot of essential oils that won’t pose a risk to either of your animals.
If you and your vet do decide on an essential oil that would be safe to use around your dog and cat, it’s important to keep in mind that you never want your pet to swallow essential oils. Make sure that diffusers are always placed out of reach, and that your oils are stored away in places that neither cats nor dogs have access to.
If you’re looking to pamper your pet, we recommend Restful Pet, an oil your pets can consume. It’s formulated with all-natural chamomile and valerian, herbs that promote relaxation and contentment in pets. There’s no reason your pets can’t de-stress alongside you!
And if you can’t decide between our supplements, we’re excited to now offer Pet Wellness Sample Set, containing samples of Calming Relief, Restful Pet, and Mussel Mobility. Not only does our sample set make a great gift, but you can also sample our products to see which one’s a hit with your pet!
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