Are Essential Oils Harming Your Pet? Here’s How To Diffuse Safely

I love my essential oil diffuser. I mean it. I put it on the second I get home every day and it just boosts my mood. My mom thinks that essential oil blends can do almost everything but cure cancer. We all love a good essential oil diffuser, but have you ever thought about how those oils in the air may be affecting your pets? The truth is, they can be poisonous to our four-legged friends.


The Danger of Oils and Pets

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Essential oils are not really the enemy in this case. In their purest and most concentrated form, they are a danger, but very few people just diffuse the straight-up oils — often they are mixed with water.

Many people have started to apply essential oils to their pets, often trying to get rid of fleas. Don’t do this. Applying the oils onto your pets, especially tea tree oil, can really hurt them in the long run. There are companies that specialize in herbal remedies for your pets and you can always get some prescription flea/tick meds from your vet, but this is one area where you don’t want to mess around with at-home solutions.

If you’re the kind of person like me that wants to always be diffusing something, be super careful. Even non-toxic oils can still do damage to your pet’s lungs. The diffused oil can also get into your pets’ fur and will either be absorbed into the skin or ingested when they try to lick themselves clean. So even if you don’t realize it, you could be poisoning your pet.

So what if you want to keep your home smelling nice and clean? Reed diffusers, plug-ins, and wax burners are pretty safe options, as they won’t really disperse oil into the air. Pet House has some pet-friendly scents for waxes and so does One Fur All Pets! Just make sure to keep them high up and away from children and pets. Also, diffusers are really not the devil in this situation. This Aera Diffuser connects with Alexa, so you can turn it on and off just by saying the word, and your pet won’t knock it over! Diffusers are fine to use, just so long as the pet can’t knock it over or get into it, and the oils are diluted before use.

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Why do the oils hurt my pet?

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Cats are the most susceptible to essential oils because they don’t have a specific liver enzyme called glucuronyl transferase. This enzyme allows the body to properly process the compounds that the essential oils make, specifically phenols. That’s a bunch of big words, so let me break it down. Humans have this enzyme, so that’s why essential oils are not only not harmful, but also have been said to help people with certain mental/physical processes. For example, I put on eucalyptus when I need to get sh*t done because I don’t have a pet and it helps me concentrate.

The oils affect your dogs too, but they’re less sensitive to them. Understand that a dog’s sense of smell is really strong, so if you’re a little overwhelmed with how much orange oil you just put into your diffuser, your dog is probably feeling that too. 

Our furry animals are not the only ones hurt by the oils — birds also have really sensitive noses and oil residue can damage their feathers.

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How do I know if my pet has been affected?

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If you diffuse oils and have a pet in the room with the diffuser often, then maybe start to track your pet’s moods and activity level. Usually, the effect that oils have on pets will lead to a change in their behavior, central nervous system, and cause respiratory problems. So look to see if your pet has a watery nose or eyes, look for redness of lips or skin, check to see if they’re vomiting or drooling, or if they’re having difficulty breathing or coughing more frequently. 

If your pet seems to be experiencing any of this, don’t hesitate to get them to a vet! Better safe than sorry.

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What oils should I stay away from?

The oils that are poisonous for cats are: cinnamon, citrus, clove, eucalyptus, sweet birch, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang ylang.

Those that are poisonous for dogs are: pennyroyal, pine, tea tree, and wintergreen. 

Here is a website you can go to if you have any further questions!


How do you keep your house smelling great while keeping your pets safe? Leave a comment and let us know!

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One thought on “Are Essential Oils Harming Your Pet? Here’s How To Diffuse Safely

  1. Oh, I love this, and need to read it again! you have the basics laid out so clearly! Great job,