You might’ve seen those videos on the internet where dogs cheerfully jump around the spray of essential oil that diffusers make. Their owners happily laugh while taking the video. What they don’t know is that they are most probably severely hurting their pet. So, that brings us to the same question: Can Essential oils be used around dogs?
You’ll come across tons of diametrically different articles about the safety of essential oils and diffusers using them on the internet. Some claim that there’s no harm for essential oils to be used around dogs and pets in general, while others claim this is highly toxic.
The truth, as always, is somewhere in between. Dogs shouldn’t be exposed to essential oils directly, and they most definitely shouldn’t consume them in any form, but it doesn’t mean that your essential oil diffuser will instantly kill your dog on the spot if it sprays the mist on them.
If you want to know more about the features of essential oils and how they reflect on dogs, keep on reading and learn more about this. In the following, we will explain if essential oils are dangerous for dogs, and if they are, how much are they actually!
What are essential oils made of?
Essential oils are nothing more than plant extracts. We use cooking oil every day, which we’ve got from coconuts, olives, sunflowers, and other plants. We don’t use these plants to make essential oils because their scent is not as pleasing as other plants’ oils.
Some of those commonly used in the essential oil industry are eucalyptus, cinnamon, pine, citrus, ylang-ylang, sweet birch, peppermint, and others. Although the scent from these oils is amazing, the compounds are also toxic for dogs.
These fatty aromatic compounds are often so concentrated that the oil is basically toxic for your dog. Your dog doesn’t even have to do anything in particular; the compounds are lipophilic, which means they are attracted to your dog’s nose and lips.
When they touch your dog’s mucous membranes, they instantly go into the bloodstream and are transported into the liver, which is supposed to get rid of them. In other words, it’s just like you’ve given your dog to drink pure cooking oil.
Dog’s sense of taste and smell is much stronger than human’s
On the other side of the fence, these particles are no near the amount you’d give your dog to drink to make their liver fail of exhaustion. These particles are so small that your dog needs to have constant exposure to make a difference.
If you leave your dog in a small room with a powerful essential oil diffuser, yes, you will make a terrible mistake, and you’ll harm your pet. However, if your dog walks in the room with the diffuser once every few hours and gets out, they won’t be harmed.
Actually, some people let their dogs feel the essential oils’ scent because the scent affects their nervous system. Some scents are especially good for changing the behavior of dogs. For example, it is proven that the scent of lavender makes dogs calm, and anxious dogs may benefit from it.
On the other hand, the scent of peppermint will raise the energy and provoke your dog to start running, which is excellent for pets that need more exercise. However, this doesn’t mean constantly exposing them to essential oil diffusers as the risks are higher than the benefits.
Dogs’ sense of smell is incredibly more accurate than ours. They can feel the smallest droplets and get the entire scent of them by just sniffing in the air. Scientists say that their sense of smell is between 10,000 and 100,000 times stronger than the one of humans, which means they’ll have no problem getting the benefits of essential oils no matter how small the dose is.
The respiratory issue is the most worrying of them all
Depending on the type of diffuser and the type of essential oil concentration in the air, your dog may experience serious respiratory issues. If you see your dog struggle to breathe, you should immediately take them to the vet.
The worst-case scenario is developing aspiration pneumonia, which often ends tragically. Some dog breeds have difficulty breading by birth. Getting an essential oil diffuser in your home while owning a Pug, Boxer, Chihuahua, Bulldog, or a Shih Tzu is not a smart idea. These are known as brachycephalic breeds, and they are born with respiratory issues, so avoid exposing them to essential oils.
Not all oils are equally dangerous
In the debate of whether essential oils are dangerous or not for dogs, and can essential oils be used around dogs it’s crucial to know that not all of them have the same effect, and not all of them will equally affect all dog breeds. It’s best to ask your veterinarian about your pet and if it is recommended to use one while they are home or not.
In general, some essential oils are safer than others. We already mentioned those that are not safe above – eucalyptus, cinnamon, etc. Still, there are also those that are okay to be used, and many pet owners will find them beneficial depending on their effect on dogs. Here you can read which essential oils are toxic for dogs.
Some of those essential oils can be used around dogs:
- Lavender – calms the dog
- Cedarwood – repels harmful and annoying insects
- Chamomile – great for the gastrointestinal system
- Rose oil, etc.
After everything we said, most readers will still have no clear answer whether essential oils are harmful to their dogs or not. If you want a clear answer and without hanging on the fence, that would be – yes, essential oils are dangerous for dogs.
We say this only because it is safer for all dogs, in general. Some dog owners might not understand the risks and only read about the benefits, which will severely harm their pets. Most precisely said – certain types of essential oils in small doses are safe and can be beneficial, but constant exposure to them can harm dogs and cause serious health issues.