Essential oils and aromatherapy are proven to be beneficial for people. Lots of plants provide us with oils that we use for various needs, and some of them are excellent for providing oils used in aromatherapy sessions.
Since humans and animals have coexisted for ages, it’s only natural to use them around them. There are roughly 840 million pet dogs and cats around the world. Lots of these pet owners wonder whether it is safe to use essential oils around their pets.
If you’re interested in the same, we’re here to explain more about the issue. We will talk more about are essential oils safe for animals and how to protect them if they are exposed. Read on to learn more about this topic!
How are essential oils made and used?
Essential oils are very potent oils made from plants, flowers, roots, and other natural herbs and plant parts. Just like any other oil used for cooking, medicine, or anything else, essential oils are made by steaming or pressing plants and extracting the juices out of them. Some plants’ oils are perfect for aromatherapy. The smell they provide will affect our sense of smell, which additionally affects the brain.
After the extraction, the concentrate from plants is usually diluted and placed into bottles, ready to be distributed to consumers. The most common way to use essential oils is by placing them in a diffuser.
Diffusers then create a mist in the air. This mist is quickly dispersed throughout the room, and your pets can breathe it or even taste it if the mist has great density. The more concentrated the essential oil is, the more significant effect on your pets it will have.
Are essential oils safe for pets?
Although oils extracted from plants are an organic product and shouldn’t be harmful, research showed that they could be. Some articles on the internet will try to convince you otherwise, but you deserve the truth – essential oils can be harmful to animals.
The keyword in this claim is can. What does this mean? It means that your pet won’t get hurt if you let them walk inside a room filled with essential oil smell, but constant exposure can cause all kinds of problems. The most common ones are respiratory problems and the feeling of being poisoned.
It’s interesting to know that although many essential oils are harmful to animals, not all are equally toxic. At the same time, some of those highly toxic for dogs are not as toxic for cats and vice versa.
Essential oils toxic for cats:
- Sweet birch
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
As you can see, many products that we use daily in our routine are actually dangerous for our cats. However, that doesn’t mean you should start avoiding drinking cinnamon tea, but you need to be aware of the dangers of the essential oils containing them.
Essential oils toxic for dogs:
- Sweet birch
- Tea Tree
- Ylang Ylang
As you can see, some of the plants repeat themselves, which means if you own both a cat and a dog, you need to avoid citrus, cinnamon, and especially ylang ylang, which is known as one of the most dangerous causing all sorts of health issues in both cats and dogs.
What are some of the main symptoms if your pet was exposed to essential oils?
Since essential oils are lipids, they instantly stick to the mucous membranes of animals, more precisely their nose and lips. These compounds traveling through the air unseen get stuck on your curious pet’s nose and go into the bloodstream. Through it, they will travel into the liver, where they are processed.
The liver will try to process them, but it will be harder and take more time if they are in greater quantities. In other words, your pet becomes poisoned. Any other poisoning is nothing more than an inability of the liver to get rid of the toxins.
Because of this, pets show symptoms of poisoning. They become nauseous, have trouble walking, drool, have muscles issues, vomit, and even collapse. They can also develop skin rashes or redness on their mouth and nose. Difficulty breathing is also one of the symptoms as the oils affect the respiratory system.
If you notice any of these symptoms, regardless of whether they’ve been exposed to essential oils or not, take your pet to the vet immediately. They might suffer from something else too.
How to protect them?
The only way to protect your pets is not to allow them to get near essential oils. Still, you should know that your pet won’t get hurt if they get a little of the scent. Cats and especially dogs have much stronger senses of smell and taste, but that is still not enough to get hurt by one encounter.
In fact, lots of pet owners claim that some essential oils are beneficial for their pets. The plants we mentioned above as highly toxic should be avoided by all means, but others might be beneficial. For example, lavender is toxic for cats but makes dogs calm and relaxed.
When plants are processed, the oil is extracted in its pure form – 100% concentrated. The scent from this liquid is too strong, which is why it is then diluted. Sometimes the products we use are no more than 20% concentrates of particular oils.
These products are much safer for animals. If you care about their safety but you are eager to get the benefits of aromatherapy, then you should aim for essential oils that are less concentrated. Of course, these may not provide the perfect strong scent you desire, but at least they will be useful around animals.
It’s hard to conclude because there’s no clear answer to the question – are essential oils safe for animals. No one can give you a straight yes and no answer. The truth is that exposing animals to great concentrations of it is harmful, but occasional breathing in a low concentration of safer oils is not dangerous. It’s up to you to decide what you think is best for your pet.