5 Essential oils that may pose a risk to your furry companions!

5 Essential oils that may pose a risk to your furry companions!

Essential oils are our go to for a natural alternative used in aromatherapy and considered natural remedies to chemical and synthetic options in medicine.  

We use them to promote sleep, immune function, and relaxation, as part of our physical and mental improvement.

However while they are considered “natural” they can be considered unsafe for our pets. “While a human has 6 million nose-nerves, a dog may have up to 100 million,” according to environmental biologist, Lorraine Rhoads.

Yep you heard that right! Over 10X more impact for our furry friends in comparison. 

We love our pets! They are family. Keeping them safe and comfortable not just outside but inside is top priority. So while essential oils are generally good for us, they can be extremely dangerous to pets if it’s ingested, inhaled, or topically applied.

So, what are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated extracts derived from plants. These contain the medicinal properties, the essence, and aromatics of the source plant. 

They are commonly used in aromatherapy, skincare, and home remedies due to their various therapeutic benefits.

However, the potency of essential oils overall means they should be used with caution, especially around animals. No two pets are the same - remember to always check in with your vet and be mindful of your pets while using essential oils in your home or car. Pets have a heightened sensitivity to certain compounds, that are commonly found in essential oils, which can lead to adverse reactions if not properly managed.

Therefore, if essential oils are being used around pets, it’s important to ensure there is a high amount of ventilation and open to allow your pet to leave with ease. 

While not an exhaustive list, here are five essential oils that may pose a risk to your pets, and alternatives that you can use to keep them safe. 

Tea Tree Oil 

Tea tree oil is often praised for its antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Tea tree oil, also known as the melaleuca oil, is made from the leaves of the Australian tea tree. Tea tree contains a main compound known as terpinen-4-ol, that is highly toxic to pets, particularly cats and smaller dogs. High dosages through ingestion or direct contact can lead to vomiting, muscle tremors, and difficulty walking. In severe cases, it can cause paralysis or even be fatal.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known for its aromatic scent and digestive benefits in humans. However similar to the tea tree, it can be problematic for pets, especially when used in its undiluted form or in large quantities. Pets with high exposure to concentrated doses can experience symptoms such as lethargy, and breathing difficulties. 

Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon oil contains cinnamaldehyde, a compound that irritates the mucous membranes and digestive tract of dogs and cats. While cinnamon has a warm and spicy aroma, is another essential oil that can be harmful to pets. Just like the other oils, it’s important to be cautious when using cinnamon oil in your home. 

Citrus Oils

Who doesn’t love a citrus boost? I know I do! But citrus essential oils, such as lemon, lime, and orange, known for their refreshing and uplifting scents contain compounds like limonene and linalool. These in concentrated doss can be toxic to cats and canines and lead to drooling, nausea, vomiting, and skin irritations. Remember always contact your veterinarian if you notice any of the symptoms with your pet.

Pine Oil

Pine oil is used for its fresh and woodsy scent around the house, particularly with cleaning products. However, the pine oil contains compounds that affect the respiratory system and liver functions if ingested by your pets. Over the years many companies have adjusted their formulas to lower the dosage, but still do contain pine oils. While it may be a common choice for cleaning products, it's essential to keep it away from pets. 

Keeping Your Pets Safe

I know you might be asking - then what can I use? All the goods ones are off the table! 

If you decide to diffuse essential oils in your home, it is recommended that you do so for a brief period, in an area separate from your pets.

Always checkin with your vet to ensure that you are taking the correct precautions when using any essential oils. While these are common examples, this is not an exhaustive list. 

Here are some tips to ensure your pets' safety:

  1. Keep essential oils out of your pets' reach. 
  2. Always dilute essential oils properly and follow safe usage guidelines for the pet-safe dilution ratios.
  3. Ensure good ventilation when diffusing essential oils.
  4. Be mindful of your pet’s responses. If you observe any symptoms, seek immediate help.
  5. Before using any essential oils around your pets, consult your veterinarian for recommendations. 

Pet-Friendly Alternatives

While some essential oils can be harmful to pets, there are safer alternatives that you can use to create a pleasant and pet-friendly environment at home:

Lavender: Lavender is generally safe for pets and is known for its calming properties. 


Chamomile: Chamomile essential oil is gentle and soothing. 

Frankincense: Frankincense is considered safe for pets and can be used to support their overall well-being. 

Remember natural remedies don’t always mean safe for everyone. While there are a number of known benefits with essential oils, there are a number of cautions when using them around pets. Understanding which essential oils can pose risks to your pet is the first step in ensuring their safety.