Good or Bad? The Effects of Essential Oils on Pets
The concept of aromatherapy centers on the use of plants and their oils to improve mental and physical well being. While this sounds pretty nice for use in the home, the effects of essential oils on pets can be dangerous to their health. To address the recent questions we’ve received about “safe” oils, we offer the following guidelines to protect your precious pet.
For Us, Not Them
Essential oils have earned a solid reputation among people who suffer from stress or anxiety, but they’re also popular to help increase energy and focus. Although they aren’t necessarily part of conventional western medicine, essential oils may help people in their day-to-day lives.
Down with VOCs?
Essential oils are known volatile organic compounds or VOCs. This is, in part, why essential oils have such an impact and explains why they might be risky to animals. In other words, they’re incredibly potent.
Animals have a stronger sense of smell than humans, so when they breathe in essential oils, they can become overwhelmed and overloaded. Although dogs lead the pack in the smell department, cats can also be significantly impacted by oils. Birds have highly sensitive respiratory tracts that can become irritated by oils, as well.
The effects of essential oils on pets vary by virtue of their concentrations. Some oils are used strictly by aromatic diffusers which mix the oils with water and spray the combination into the air. Reed diffusers are also very popular, as well as jewelry designed to absorb the oils. Some people even apply oils directly onto their skin.
Whether the oils are inhaled, consumed, or absorbed, the bottom line is that they just aren’t safe for pets. They can be absorbed into the bloodstream and affect major organs. In short, exposure to essential oils is a serious concern and can lead to a very real pet emergency situation.
The Reasons Why
Cats lack a certain liver enzyme that allows them to detoxify. If exposed to essential oils like oregano, cinnamon, clove, thyme, wintergreen, or birch or if they come into direct contact with tea tree oil, liver damage/failure can result. Seizures can also occur following exposure to essential oils.
Some pet care products, like flea dips or shampoos, list essential oils on their ingredient labels, but to ensure products aren’t harmful to animals, they’re always diluted. Pet owners must be exact when following directions for use in order to avoid a potentially disastrous outcome.
Essential Oils on Pets
Essential oils are so powerful they can even interfere with the effects of prescription medications. Knowing these volatile organic compounds can profoundly alter your pet’s long-term health, we urge you to check with us before exposing them to any essential oils.
While the effects of essential oils on pets may not be fully understood yet, pet owners should always exercise caution and restraint when it comes to their use. Please let us know if you have additional questions about essential oils or pet wellness. Our dedicated team is always here for you and your pet!