Essential oils have become a popular option for holistically treating a number of human conditions. This has led many pet owners to question whether the oils might also be a way to care for their animals. Veterinarians caution against this type of treatment as it could pose several risks to your furry friends.

How Can Essential Oils Harm Pets?
Most animals have a much stronger sense of smell than humans do. Adding pure oil to a diffuser could overwhelm their senses and cause them to develop several symptoms, including squinting, drooling, lethargy, scratching, and shallow breathing. Depending on the oil in question, veterinarians suggest diluting it with water or a carrier oil to minimize their reaction to it.

However, steer clear of using clove, garlic, juniper, rosemary, tea tree, thyme, wintergreen, squaw mint, cassia, cinnamon, citrus, eucalyptus, lemon, lavender, peppermint, and spruce altogether. These pure oils are known to be harmful to cats and dogs. Also, if you have birds, veterinarians strongly recommend that you do not use any type of oil burner as these animals have very sensitive respiratory tracts and could develop health issues.

If you insist on using essential oils in a household that contains pets, keep them out of reach of all animals. Direct contact with some oils is known to cause chemical burns. Also, ingestion could lead to vomiting, diarrhea, depression, hypothermia, uncoordinated gait, and paralysis of the rear legs.

What to Do If Your Pet Comes Into Contact With Essential Oils
The symptoms of ingesting or having essential oils applied to the skin can vary from one oil to the next. Those known for causing harm, such as tea tree oil, will need immediate veterinarian intervention to minimize the pets exposure and prevent symptoms from worsening. If you aren’t sure what to do, move the animal somewhere it can receive fresh air, and call the Pet Poison Helpline or ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for expert information about what to do next.

You aren’t the only one who can have an emergency health crisis. Cats and dogs get sick sometimes, too. When you need prompt pet care, call Dr. Timothy Henehan at Wards Corner Animal Hospital in Loveland, OH. We go the extra mile for our patients, including providing emergency house calls to pets throughout Cincinnati and surrounding areas. Call today at (513) 683-2883 to schedule regular or emergency care.