Essential Oils: Scented Dangers To Your Pet

Essential oils are growing in popularity across the country.  While they offer a wide variety of benefits to humans, they can be fatally toxic to our cats, dogs, and other pets.  Here are a few tips on how to prevent your pet from coming in contact with these potentially dangerous liquids.

  • Store them effectively in a locked cupboard up off the floor: Many of the essential oils smell absolutely delicious and it only takes a couple licks to poison your pet and do severe liver damage.
  • Do not use diffusers or aerosolized versions: Essential oils may smell great to you, but they can be very irritating to our pets with sensitive noses. Also, other species of pets have more sensitive respiratory systems (like birds) and could develop notable respiratory damage after exposure to aerosolized essential oils.
  • Do not let them lick you if you are wearing a topical essential oil: A few drops of essential oils rubbed into your hands may seem like nothing, but the residue your pet licks off is enough to poison them.
  • Please, do not use essential oils on your pet without proper veterinary oversight: Unless your veterinarian has explicitly prescribed an essential oil based treatment for your pet, do not use them on your animal. If your pet is experiencing a medical condition that an essential oil selling website claims will be cured by essential oils, please take your pet to your veterinarian instead.
    • Common conditions in which owners mistakenly use essential oils to ‘cure,’ causing severe reactions:
      • Itchy ears
      • Flea prevention
      • Dry skin/hot spots
      • Inflammation
      • Anxiety

If you’ve been using essential oils without the proper precautions in the past, it is best to start now.  If your pet has already taken on enough for there to be internal damage, keep an eye out for any of the following symptoms listed by Veterinary Centers of America for both cats and dogs:

  • Fragrance or scent on hair coat, skin, or breath or in vomit
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty walking or uncoordinated gait
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on the lips, gums, tongue, or skin
  • Vomiting

If you spot any of these signs in your pet, please call your veterinarian or an emergency animal hospital immediately.


Here at Emerald Animal Hospital, your pet’s health is our top priority.  If you think your pet may have essential oil poisoning or if you’ve got any other health concerns, give us a call at 216-688-3737. We strive to work out the best treatment plan for you and your individual pet.


If it’s an immediate emergency, please call MedVet Cleveland West at 216-362-6000 for emergency care.


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