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Essential Oils and Your Pets

Essential oils can be great for using around the home, but did you know that some can harm your pet?

Inhalation of strong odors can cause watery nose and eyes, a burning sensation in the nose/throat, nausea leading to drooling and/or vomiting.

Passive diffusers (reed diffusers, plug-in warming diffusers, jewelry diffusers) are less harmful. Active Essential Oil diffusers (nebulizing and ultrasonic) produce microdroplets of the oil which can land on your cat's fur if they are in the room.

Here is a list of potentially harmful oils to keep away from your pets.


Melaleuca Oil (aka Tea Tree Oil)​​​​

  • Used to treat skin irritations and as flea treatment/prevention

Oral and dermal toxicity​

Symptoms: depression, ataxia (uncoordinated gait), paralysis of rear legs, vomiting, hypothermia (low body temperature), skin irritation.

Pennyroyal Oil

  • Used as an insect repellent ​

Oral and dermal toxicity

Symptoms: liver failure

Wintergreen Oil

  • Used for pain relief​

Symptoms: aspirin toxicity, vomiting due to severe gastrointestinal upset and ulcers, potential renal and liver failure

Pine Oil

  • Used as a disinfectant, deodorizer, household cleaning products, massage oils​, pain reduction

Symptoms: dermal or gastrointestinal irritation, vomiting (possibly with blood), drooling, weakness, ataxia, effects on the central nervous system, potential renal and liver failure


Cats can absorb oils through their skin or ingest it when the wash their fur and they lack a specific enzyme to break down certain toxins like essential oils.


Sweet Birch



Ylang Ylang






Tea Tree

Symptoms: Drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia, respiratory distress, low heart rate, low body temperature, liver failure​.

DO NOT induce emesis (vomiting) as your dog can aspirate the oils and develop aspirate pneumonia. If you suspect your pet has ingested s toxic oil or your cat has come into contact with an essential oil - Call your veterinarian immediately.

For more information visit the Pet Poison Helpline


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