Home Essential Oils & Your Pet

Author: Amy Holloway

Many of us love the aroma and effects of essential oils and often use diffusers around the house. If you live with a dog, or have canine visitors, we encourage you to check our list below of the essential oils that are toxic to dogs.

Essential oils for aromatherapy used to be restricted to devices like candles, liquid potpourri products, aerosol room sprays, passive diffusers, or applying it to skin like perfume.

passive diffuser works by evaporating the oil to produce a pleasant aroma. Types of passive diffusers include:

  1. Reed diffusers – the reeds soak up the oil and disperse its fragrance into the air
  2. Heat diffusers – inc. plug-in/electric oil diffusers, candle burners or table top warmers – use heat to evaporate the oil
  3. Personal evaporative diffusers – jewellery such as necklace pendants and bracelets  – use room air currents to diffuse the aroma
  4. Motorised diffusers – use a fan to blow air through a filter/pad that has been permeated with the essential oil

Active diffusers work by emitting actual micro droplets or particles of the oil into the air, in addition to the oil’s aroma. These include nebulising diffusers (pressurised high-speed air stream with atomising nozzle) and ultrasonic diffusers (electric current causes an instrument to emit a vibration).

The droplets dispersed may be small, but they still pose a risk to dogs. Depending on the dog’s proximity to the dispenser, the essential oil micro droplets may collect on the dog’s coat, and the oil can be absorbed directly through the skin or ingested if the dog licks itself.

Talk to our team if you have concerns about essential oil poisoning

Essential oils can be toxic to dogs whether inhaled, ingested or spread on the skin. Symptoms include:

  • Abnormal behaviour
  • Depression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Wobbliness

The first thing you might notice is that your dog is acting strange and doesn’t recognise you. If left untreated, and dependant on the level of toxicity, essential oil-poisoning can cause liver damage. If you think your dog could have come into contact with the below essential oils and is displaying any of the above symptoms, you should contact your vet immediately and move your pet into fresh air.

Essential oils that are toxic to dogs include (but are not limited to):

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
  • Birch (Betula)
  • Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)
  • Boldo (Peumus boldus)
  • Calamus (Acorus calamus)
  • Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
  • Cassia (Cassia fistula)
  • Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)
  • Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Garlic (Allium sativum)
  • Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)
  • Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)
  • Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
  • Mustard (Brassica juncea)
  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
  • Red or White Thyme
  • Rue (Ruta graveolens)
  • Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Savory (Satureja)
  • Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
  • Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)
  • Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
  • Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
  • Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Find out which essential oils are toxic to cats

Essential oils that are safe to use around dogs

However, you should not let them ingest them:

  • Cedarwood Atlas Essential Oil
  • Chamomile Roman Essential Oil
  • Clary Sage Essential Oil
  • Ginger Grass Essential Oil
  • Marjoram Essential Oil

If you think your dog has essential oil poisoning, you can call us day or night on 01527 889810.