Are Essential Oils Safe for Cats and Dogs?
If you have furry family members, it’s important to keep them in mind when selecting essential oils for your home. While essential oils are beneficial and commonly used, it is imperative to use discernment when sharing space with our furry friends. Cats and dogs can also benefit from the use of certain oils, but not others.
There is very little data assessing the safety of using essential oils on or around pets. This is primarily due to lack of funding and the potential of exposing the animals to a potentially fatal substance. Most of the data is based on theoretical toxicity based on the chemical compounds found in the oils and evidence-based observations from accidental exposure.
Diffusing can be a safer option with certain oils but can lead to less than desirable results with others. Inhalation of strong fragrances can lead to some cats or dogs to experience: a runny nose or a burning sensation in the nose, watery eyes, drooling, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. If your animal has respiratory issues, do not diffuse essential oils around them. It is critical that if you notice these symptoms in your pet while diffusing in the room with them, to immediately move your pet into a space where an abundance of fresh air is available. If symptoms persist, contact your Veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800) 213-6680.
Cats are sensitive to essential oils and it’s important to keep in mind that they absorb and filter nutrients differently than humans. Cats lack certain enzymes that help to metabolize various compounds in essential oils. They are unable to process phenolic compounds which affect the liver, do to the fact that they are deficient in the process called “gluconuridation”, which is essential metabolization of many compounds. Exposure to these compounds without this process can damage the liver, lead to seizures, and can even be fatal. Monoterpene Hydrocarbons are another group of compounds found in certain essential oils which can also be harmful to cats. We never recommend using essential oils for cats directly on the skin, on the fur, or feeding it to them internally.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca)
Practicing caution when using essential oils around your dog will ensure that your dog isn’t exposed to an oil that may not agree with their body’s chemistry. While dogs are not as sensitive to essential oils as cats are, there are still essential oils that can severely harm your precious companion. With proper care and precaution, you can minimize the chance of exposure.
We never recommend using essential oils directly on your dogs skin, which will soak into their bloodstream. Your dog may also have a natural tendency to lick that area of their skin to groom themselves, therefore ingesting the oil. If oil does end up on their skin, it is important to gently wash the area with mild soap and warm water to remove any traces of oil from the skin. If your dog has respiratory problems, it is imperative that you do not diffuse oils around them. Follow your Veterinarian’s recommendations should your dog touch or ingest an essential oil, and always follow their recommendations when it comes to which essential oils are safe to use on your friend.
Please keep in mind that the lists above are known oils that can be harmful to cats and dogs, but does not necessarily constitute a complete list. If you own a pet and also love to use essential oils in your home, we recommend always diluting them through an ultrasonic diffuser and practicing moderation. Typically, a 1% dilution (1-2 drops of oil per 100mL of water) through an ultrasonic diffuser shouldn’t cause problems for your cat or your dog but it is best to reserve more concentrated applications in areas that your pet does not frequent.
The well-being of your pet is paramount. If you want a natural way of supplementing your pet's health, we'd love to bring our CBD K9 into your furry companion's life. From Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 until Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, we are offering 15% OFF our CBD K9 formula. As always, we wish health, love, and happiness to our Ananda family. We extend this love to your pets as well!
 Kathleen Cavanagh, BSc DVM MET, Matthew Kornya, BSc, DVM. CATS AND ESSENTIAL OILS. https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/documents/cats-and-essential-oils
 Melissa Shelton DVM. The Science Behind Cats and Essential Oils. https://londonalternativevet.com/2018/01/12/essential-oils-with-pets-dr-melissa-shelton/
 Kia Benson, Director of Veterinary Medicine. ESSENTIAL OILS AND CATS. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/blog/essential-oils-cats/
 Annie Price, CHHC. Essential Oils for Pets: The Best & Worst Oils to Help Your Furry Friends. https://draxe.com/essential-oils-for-pets/