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Warning Pet Owners: Essential Oils Can Poison Your Pets

By Isabella Lovric

Attention all pet owners and essential oil lovers. Many of us love to use diffusers to make our homes smell amazing or even for medicinal reasons to treat symptoms including headaches, head colds, stress and sore muscles. 

However, there has been an alarm about how these oils may affect our beloved pets.

A warning went viral after a Michigan woman accidentally “poisoned” her cat from essential oils. 

Cat owner, Sue Murray, said in a Facebook post (that has now been removed) that the unfortunate situation began after she used her diffuser with eucalyptus oil to assist with a head cold. 

She wrote, “The first couple days I didn’t notice any symptoms with Ernie, but on the fourth day, he was lethargic, unstable on his feet and was drooling excessively.

"My husband instinctively Googled eucalyptus oil. It stated that it can be toxic to cats and that they can’t metabolize it, and stated all of Ernie’s symptoms. It also said that without medical attention, it could be fatal!"

A post shared by ASPCA (@aspca) on

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) discusses the use of essential oils around animals and lists essential oils (not limited to), including eucalyptus, orange, lemon, as being among the leading causes for tremors among cats. 

"Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils, and effects such as gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression and even liver damage could occur if ingested in significant quantities.

"Inhalation of the oils could lead to aspiration pneumonia. There are significant variations in toxicity among specific oils. Based on this, we would not recommend using essential oils in areas where your pets have access unless pets are supervised or the use of the oil is approved by your veterinarian".

Veterinarian’s Money Digest provide quick guidelines surrounding the use of essential oils around your pets. 

Quick Guidelines:

- Cats and dogs have an enhanced sense of smell, so using diffusers could become overwhelming.

- Cats’ livers cannot metabolize the compounds in essential oils. Therefore, they are more susceptible to toxicity. 

- Owners should keep oils stored away from pets.

- If a pet accidentally ingests essential oils, owners should call their veterinary office immediately. 

- Remember that animals react and absorb the oils differently than humans do.

- Any oils being used on or around animals should be diluted by water or a carrier oil.

- Some products are not made from pure oils; look for additional ingredients that could be detrimental to pets.

- Some oils could cause chemical burns if applied directly to the skin.

- Adverse reactions to oils include squinting, excessive drooling, scratching, increased breathing rate and lethargy.

Below are a few specific oils pet owners are advised to steer clear of.

Important note: Pets may react differently to certain oils; this list is not all-inclusive.  

For dogs:


- Clove

- Garlic

- Juniper

- Rosemary

- Tea Tree

- Thyme

- Wintergreen

For cats:


- Cassia

- Cinnamon

- Citrus

- Clove

- Eucalyptus

- Lemon

- Lavender

- Peppermint

- Spruce

- Tea Tree

- Thyme

Tina Wismer, the medical director for the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, told Snopes that pet owners should always check to be sure that essential oils are labelled for use with a specific animal before using it on said animal.

She also advised that pet owners using diffusers should move their pets to another room and avoid using the devices for long periods of time and look out for unusual symptoms including drooling, vomiting, coughing, and sneezing.

We hope this helps keep your fur babies safe! x


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