Are essential oils dangerous for dogs?
The answer is both yes, and no. It all depends on the type of essential oil you're using.
Each plant is made of a different chemical makeup. Depending on the chemical composition of that plant, its essential oil can have adverse effects on your dog or can be quite supportive for our furry friends.
It's important to know that any essential oil, whether diffused in the air or applied directly on your pet, must be properly diluted. Essential oils are concentrated and therefore, highly potent. Dogs have a more sensitive nose and physiology compared to humans, so what seems like a subtle smell to us can be overwhelming for them. Please be aware of the importance of educating yourself on essential oils and their health benefits for both humans and pets. Aromatherapists are a great resource to provide that guidance.
Here is a list of 5 essential oils that are not safe for dogs.
1: Cinnamon Leaf & Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
According to a report by Baker, et. al, symptoms of cinnamon oil on dogs include, "... skin erythema, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, edema, ataxia, seizures, weakness, recumbent tachycardia, agitation, anorexia, hyperactivity, hypersalivation, panting, retching, tremors, vocalization, and renal failure," (2018).
2: Pine Essential Oil
Pine oil is highly toxic to dogs. It is known to affect the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver of dogs. Even cleaners such as Pine Sol can be toxic if your dog accidently consumes any. Pine oil can enter through your dog's skin, or by breathing it in.
3: Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen Oil is pretty much a natural aspirin as it contains methyl salicylates. Even humans need to be careful using this essential oil daily, although it may be tempting since it is a natural pain reliever when applied topically.
According to the pet poison helpline, "Dogs can show signs of aspirin toxicity and we can see signs of vomiting due to severe gastrointestinal upset and ulcers, along with potential renal and liver failure. Aggressive veterinary care is needed for gastrointestinal protection and renal and hepatic support."
4: Tea Tree Essential Oil
Also known as, Melaleuca alternifolia, is highly toxic to dogs. It is reported to cause symptoms such as, "...depression, weakness, incoordination and muscle tremors." (Villar, D., et. al., 1994).
5: Eucalyptus Essential Oil
A popular ingredient for those new to essential oils. When it comes to using eucalyptus essential oil around dogs, you must keep in mind that your dog may experience major risks. Applying on your dog's skin can cause chemical burns, long term skin allergies. If ingested, it can cause stomach and neurological issues. If you diffuse eucalyptus oil around your dog, it can cause major irritation by scent alone.
Here are 3 simple steps on how to use essential oils safely without harming your dog:
1. Make sure your dog is not in the same room at the time of use.
2. Keep your room well ventilated.
3. Wash hands well before touching your dog.
Finally, speak with a veterinarian before using something so powerful like an essential oil. Our pets can't advocate for themselves if they feel uncomfortable. We need to be ahead of the game to protect our dog babies!
Baker, B. P., & Grant, J. A. (2018). Cinnamon & Cinnamon Oil Profile.
Villar D, Knight MJ, Hansen SR, Buck WB. Toxicity of melaleuca oil and related essential oils applied topically on dogs and cats. Veterinary and Human Toxicology. 1994 Apr;36(2):139-142. PMID: 8197716.
This blog post was not intended to treat, prevent or cure any illness; and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice provided by a doctor/ licensed professional.