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Since as far back as 2008, essential oils started gaining popularity as a holistic solution to everyday issues and ailments. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably more than familiar with essential oils as your friends perhaps invited you to like their page for their essential oils business with multi-level marketing (MLM) companies such as doTERRA and Young Living. That, or you’re running an essential oils business yourself; MLM or through your own startup.

What people fail to cover in their marketing for these essential oils is the hazards that come with it. Keep in mind that what is considered healthy for us doesn’t mean it’s healthy for other animals. Cats and dogs specifically suffer from contact with essential oils.

Let’s break it down.

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids that are chemical compounds extracted from plants. Their most popular use is through aromatherapy, an alternative to medicine. Other methods can call for use of essential oils straight out of the bottle.


What are the dangers?

The toxic effects on animals - including dogs - can be due to the type of essential oil they were exposed to or the amount they were exposed to. Animals process concentrated substances at a slower rate than humans do, so be sure to keep a look out for the following oils in products to avoid the risk of your doggo getting sick or worse.

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus (d-limonene)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree (melaleuca)
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic
  • List via

    If you have a cat as well, we recommend looking into the specific oils that are harmful to cats as they may differ or overlap with the list of essential oils that are harmful to dogs.

    Do I need to remove them from my house and stop using them?

    If you use essential oils and are worried about your furbabies, think of the concept of babyproofing. Instead of throwing out your essential oils, you can keep them locked up and high out of reach from even the most clever of doggos. 

    On the other hand, we do recommend avoiding the use in diffusers as that makes the air toxic for dogs and cats. The water used in diffusers does not dilute the essential oils for animals. Some essential oils may be harmless to your furbaby, but always ask your veterinarian before using them.

    What happens if they’re exposed?

    Symptoms can include difficulty in breathing and walking, drooling, fatigue, pawing at the face as if to get something off, redness or burns around the mouth area or skin, vomiting, and muscle tremors. A big sign to keep an eye out for these symptoms is if your furbaby smells like essential oils. It’s a smell that’s hard to miss.

    What should I do if they’re exposed?

    Wash your furbaby as soon as possible to try and remove as much of the oil substance off their skin and fur. You’ll want to go to the vet immediately and bring the essential oil or oil ingredient based product with you so the vet knows what they’re dealing with.


    If you’re ever faced with this situation or any other harmful substances to doggos, don’t hesitate to call the Pet Poison Helpline at (800-213-6680).
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