Are you a dog or cat owner and a fan of essential oils? Then listen up: Some essential oils are dangerous for your pet’s health. According to the ASPCA, they are one of the most common toxic causes of tremors in cats. In some tragic cases, a reaction may even be fatal. So it’s important to know which oils are dangerous, and how to spot the warning signs in case your little guy gets exposed.
You may think essential oils are only dangerous if they are ingested, but pets are most often poisoned when they come in contact with their skin. Even diffusing oils can put them at risk — after all, small droplets are still dispersed in the air and may collect on fur. These droplets might also cause respiratory irritation when inhaled.
The Pet Poison Hotline lists wintergreen, sweet birch, citrus (d-limonene), pine, Ylang Ylang, peppermint, cinnamon, pennyroyal, clove, eucalyptus, and tea tree essential oils as all poisonous to cats. Those that are highly concentrated (e.g. 100 percent) are especially dangerous. When it comes to dogs, fewer essential oils are toxic, but they are still at risk. The American Kennel Club says cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and Ylang Ylang oil are the ones you want to keep your pooch away from.
Essential oils contain chemicals that are quickly absorbed orally and through the skin. Dogs and cats have a lot of trouble metabolizing some of them, which causes the adverse reaction, according to VCA Hospitals. Very young animals are especially vulnerable, along with those that already have liver problems.