It seems like essential oils are everywhere these days. These little bottles of concentrated extracts are touted to be the cure-alls for everything from anxiety to cancer.

While essential oils can certainly have a place for people, many have started to use them on or around pets. If you try to delve into the safety of these practices, you might be surprised to find how quickly you can become overwhelmed by information. Lucky for you, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are here to help you sort out essential oils and pets.

Essential Oil Basics

Essential oils are naturally occuring, volatile compounds that are derived from plants. They are responsible for the distinct odors and characteristics of much of the flora in the world. Many of the compounds within them have been utilized as the foundation of modern chemical compounds, including medications.

When using essential oils, quality and purity may vary quite a bit. People tend to use them in three different ways:

  • Diffused into the air
  • Topically
  • Internally

Diffusing is the most common way to use essential oils, with topical and internal use being more controversial. They may be used as a single oil or in combination blends.

Though seemingly benign, these oils do have some powerful effects. As people begin to use these oils on their pets, it becomes our job to educate our clients about their safety regarding animals.

The Safety of Essential Oils and Pets

If essential oils were dangerous for pets, we would certainly see a lot more problems than we do. With the rise of multi-level marketing companies, essential oils are a staple in many pet-loving households.

Essential oils and pets are not totally innocuous. This is particularly true in pets with compromised respiratory systems, as well as cats in general.

Cats are known to be much more sensitive to chemical compounds. This is due to their lack of a liver enzyme that many other species use to detoxify the blood within the liver.

When using essential oils in your home, remember that even if you are not applying them directly to your pet, your four-legged family members may inadvertently inhale or ingest them by licking diffused droplets.

Pet toxicities have been reported, and so it is important to use your oils responsibly. When it comes to essential oils and pets, be sure to:

  • Allow your pet to move away from any oils being diffused
  • When diffusing around pets, use a conservative amount of oil
  • Avoid applying oils that have been known to be problematic in pets, including citrus oils, peppermint, and eucalyptus
  • Do not diffuse around pets who have existing respiratory issues, such as feline asthma
  • Keep oils in a secure location to avoid accidental ingestion
  • Pet proof your diffuser to avoid it being knocked over by a curious pet
  • Don’t apply oils directly to your pet without veterinary supervision

There certainly are veterinarians out there who recommend essential oils in their patients, but there are lots of factors to take into consideration. Don’t take the word of a salesperson when it comes to the safety of your pet.

Please call us if you have questions about essential oils and pets. We are here to help.