Essential Oils and Your Pet are Like Oil and Water – They Don’t Mix
What are essential oils? Essential oils are volatile, organic constituents of plants that contribute to fragrance and taste. They are extracted from plants via distillation or cold pressing. Essential oils are utilized in a variety of ways in varying concentrations: as insecticides, in aromatherapies, personal care products (e.g., antibacterials), flavorings, herbal remedies and liquid potpourri.
Though helpful for your own homeopathic treatment, essential oils can pose a toxic risk to household pets.
Without a solid understanding of essential oils or not being educated on appropriate use is what tends to cause the concerns that we see with cats and dogs.
TIP! The higher the concentration of the essential oil (i.e. 100%), the greater the risk to your pet.
Essential oils are rapidly absorbed both orally and across the skin in cats and are then metabolized in the liver. Cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and as such have difficulty metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils.
Essential oils that are known to cause poisoning in cats include oil of sweet birch, citrus oil (d-limonene), Ylang Ylang oil, peppermint oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil and eucalyptus oil.
Both dogs and cats can have harmful, poisoning side effect from melaleuca or tea tree oil, pennyroyal/squaw mint, oil of wintergreen and pine oils can have harmful, poisoning side effects.
Symptoms that your pet may develop depend on the type of oil involved in the exposure and can include drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, and liver or renal failure.
Prevention is the best medicine in limiting essential oil toxicities in pets. If you are going to use essential oils in your daily life, find a reliable source to gain the education that you need to keep yourself, your family, and your pets safe.