Are you a dog or cat owner and a fan of essential oils? Then listen up: Some essential oils are dangerous for your pet's health. According to the ASPCA, they are one of the most common toxic causes of tremors in cats. In some tragic cases, a reaction may even be fatal. So it's important to know which oils are dangerous, and how to spot the warning signs in case your little guy gets exposed.
You may think essential oils are only dangerous if they are ingested, but pets are most often poisoned when they come in contact with their skin. Even diffusing oils can put them at risk — after all, small droplets are still dispersed in the air and may collect on fur. These droplets might also cause respiratory irritation when inhaled.
The Pet Poison Hotline lists wintergreen, sweet birch, citrus (d-limonene), pine, Ylang Ylang, peppermint, cinnamon, pennyroyal, clove, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils as all poisonous to cats. Those that are highly concentrated (e.g. 100 percent) are especially dangerous. When it comes to dogs, fewer essential oils are toxic, but they are still at risk. The American Kennel Club says cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and Ylang Ylang oil are the ones you want to keep your pooch away from.
Essential oils contain chemicals that are quickly absorbed orally and through the skin. Dogs and cats have a lot of trouble metabolizing some of them, which causes the adverse reaction, according to VCA Hospitals. Very young animals are especially vulnerable, along with those that already have liver problems.
Some signs and symptoms of essential-oil poisoning in cats include: drooling, vomiting, tremors, wobbliness, respiratory distress, difficulty breathing, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver failure. Negative reactions from dogs can vary based on the essential oil, but the Pet Poison Hotline lists a few symptoms of essential-oil poisoning in dogs as vomiting, diarrhea, and overall weakness. If you have reason to suspect your cat or dog has been poisoned by essential oils, immediately call your vet, a veterinary emergency room, or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
To prevent this problem from happening in the first place, make sure your essential oils are stored in a place your pets cannot get into. If you want to diffuse any oil in your home, always get the OK from your vet beforehand. Even then, it's wise to tread cautiously — diffuse only for short periods of time in a room secured and separate from your furry friend. Also, keep the diffuser out of your pet's reach, even when it's not in use.
Let's keep all of our fur babies happy and healthy!