As the popularity of using essential oils increases, one common question is which ones are okay to use around your pets. Of course we all want what’s best for our friends, and it’s easy to think that the benefits of aromatherapy are the same for them, but this may not be the case. Do not assume that because an oil is safe for you that it’s also safe for them.
On the one hand, there are studies that show the benefits of certain essential oils on animals such as lavender for calming stressed horses or spot-on formulations with essential oils showing promise for dogs with atopic dermatitis. On the other hand, there are accounts of pets falling ill around essential oils, which means it's important to be aware and to exercise caution.
Species toxicity is an evolving field, and there is not yet much scientific literature on the topic. So instead of giving a list of oils that are either safe or toxic for your pets, here are a few general guidelines.
- Use pure essential oils sparingly (usually 2-3 drops in a diffuser)
- Vary the essential oils you use
- Do not apply undiluted essential oils to pets
- Animals are curious, so keep your oils where they can’t get into them
- Stop using the oils immediately if you suspect sensitivity
- Seek professional help immediately if your pet is ill
Are cats different from other animals?
The short answer is yes. In general, cats may be more sensitive to many essential oils because they don’t have the enzymes in their liver and kidneys that help other animals and humans break down certain substances. For that reason, consider limiting using essential oils to areas away from your cats altogether.
This article is intended to promote awareness of using essential oils around animals, and it should not be taken as medical advice. If you are unsure about what oils can be safely used around your pets or if your pet is showing abnormal symptoms, contact your veterinarian.