Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs and Pets?

Last Updated on January 4, 2020 by Brenda

Essential oils for dogs

Essential oils for dogs, cats, birds, fish, and other exotic pets such as iguanas, hamsters, rabbits, pet mice, and more are controversial for their use. The question for many people is, Are essential oils safe for dogs and pets?

You have learned that essential oils such as Lavender and Eucalyptus for aromatherapy massages and diffusing helps you to relax. Other essential oils are stimulating. However, keep in mind that these very powerful oils can be risky to pets, babies, elders, and others.

Are Essential Oils Risky to Use with Pets?

Are essential oils safe for dogs and pets

It has recently been reported due to the rise in essential oil use that poisonings with children is on the rise. Children are curious and at risk since they try to ingest the oils. Pets too are in danger as well.

Pets inhale, lick, or eat essential oils that can also be absorbed through their skin. Pets react differently from essential oils than people do; therefore, it’s necessary to chat with your veterinarian before using them with your pets.

If you think your pet has been in contact with essential oils, call your veterinarian immediately. Additionally, call your doctor if you think your child has had contact with essential oils.

There are veterinarians today specializing using essential oils. Since essential oils are a lucrative business, be sure to do research yourself before causing possible harm to your pets.

Your cat would enjoy a Catnip plant out in the corner of your yard or garden. It’s good for people too. Read more about it here. Watch your cat happily roll around and rub it for the pleasure sensor in his brain for reactions. My cat loves it!

Essential Oils Can Be Lethal and Poisonous to Pets

Essential Oils Can Be Lethal and Poisonous to Pets

Essential oils are used for wonderful fragrances for our wellbeing and pleasure. However, be aware that these oils are concentrated compounds that can be toxic to pets at specific strengths. What is safe for people is not always safe for pets.

Even humans can have toxic reactions when diffusing essential oils causing neurological symptoms like headaches and fatigue. A long list of ‘safe’ or ‘toxic’ essential oils for cats isn’t realistic for me to do because it’s all about overall exposure to the oils.


Felines in CatCats and kittens, known as felines, do not have the liver enzyme, glucuronyl transferase, so important for metabolizing the components in essential oils. Because the liver cannot process the oils, they become sick or even die.

There are two chemical elements in certain oils that are dangerous to cats: monoterpene hydrocarbons and phenols. Monoterpene hydrocarbons are broken down into three additional components called terpineol (Pine oil, Petitgrain oil and Cajeput oil (Tea Tree), limonene found in Citrus oils, and pinene found in coniferous plants (Pine, Spruce, Fir and so on).

The essential oils containing high amounts of monoterpene hydrocarbons are Lemon, Orange, Lime, Bergamot, Mandarin, Tangerine, Fir, Spruce, Grapefruit, and Pine.

Essential oils containing high percentages of phenols are Thyme, Oregano, Clove, Cinnamon, and Savory. Lavender, Citronella, Pennyroyal, Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Tea Tree are considered toxic for cats as well.

All cats lick their fur to clean it and can ingest the oils. It you absolutely must use essential oils around your cats, be sure there is good ventilation, and a room your cat can escape to with no essential oils in it. Keep your cats away from vapors over many hours diffusing.

Tea Tree and Nutmeg essential oils are very toxic to cats. Never ever put essential oils from the bottle onto your cat anywhere. A small amount of most essential oils should not harm your cats when diffused for a short time.


I have found only one major essential oil company advocating essential oils for dogs or any pets using caution.


The scent of essential oils alone can be irritating to dogs and cats. These pets have a better sense of smell than humans have. Smell in dogs is what vision is to us people. Dogs have 20 times more scent receptor cells than we have and their smell processing area in their brain is much larger than ours.

Smells can be overwhelming for them. How do you feel when you’re stuck in an elevator with someone wearing an obnoxious perfume? Pets can find a way to get away from despicable odors. You might like the smell, yet your dog hates it and finds it irritating and sneezes.


Birds are tiny creatures with more sensitive respiratory systems; therefore, essential oils should never be used around birds.

Avian (bird) poisoning can occur even when using an ultrasonic diffuser that dilutes the oils with water and can kill a bird within 24-hours.

Pet birds are first, wild, and beautiful. They clean themselves using the oil gland near the base of (just above) the tail.  So, why would anyone want to put greasy carrier oils with essential oils on their feathers?  Some species that produce the greatest amount of feather powder are Cockatiels, Cockatoos, and African Greys. It seems to me birds have been doing quite well for themselves for millions of years without human intervention.

Essential Oil Fragrance Counteracts Soothing Safety

There are natural pet care products on the market that have the same ingredients used in the aromatherapy products we use. These are more diluted than your essential oils and would be safer to use.

For instance, flea shampoos are probably safe to use because of the dilution with other elements in the product. More is not better, so be sure to read the label directions.

Remember, essential oils should never be ingested in food by your pets due to potential liver damage.

Final Thoughts Using Essential Oils for Pets

I always error on the side of caution even with my pets. Personally, I don’t support essential oils for any pet. Do research and see what you find to feel comfortable using these potent essential oils for your dogs, cats, and pets.

I do love essential oils for my mind, body, and spirit energy and think they are helpful for us human’s well-being. Be safe and happy with your pets!


Welcome to my blog! I am Brenda Star and I am a true believer that Nature is fascinating and enchanting. The history of herbs and their uses are captivating. I have always wondered how did the ancient people know—how did they come to understand what a plant would do. They did not experiment in a lab because those technologies did not exist. That wisdom will always be a mystery to me. More about me...