Using Essential oils safely around pets & children


Before using ANY essential oils in your home, its important to ensure they are safe to use around your family & pets.

Most essential oils are highly toxic to animals, even in low concentrations like those used in homemade cleaners, they can also trigger allergies, asthma and other sensitivities in children.

Essential Oils That are Toxic to Dogs:

Two essential oils commonly used in cleaning products are highly toxic for dogs are:
Melaleuca (tea tree) oil
Tee Tree oil is often used to treat dandruff, itching, or wounds for humans. Not surprisingly, some pet owners have reached for their bottle of tea tree oil to treat their dog’s flea bites or itchy paws, and with sad results.
Pine oil
Pine oil is one that humans often turn to for cleaning. If a cleaner ends with -ol or -oil, it likely contains pine oil. This essential oil gives Pine-Sol its name and is the source of the powerful smell in Lestoil cleaner, too. But dog owners need to strictly avoid using either product or adding pine essential oil or fragrance to cleaning products or diffusers for their pet’s safety.
Other essential oils can pose dangers to your pet, too. See the list below for just SOME of the toxic essential oils used in most products in your home
  • Anise
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Juniper
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree (melaleuca)
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

Essential Oils that are toxic to Cats:

Cats are prolific groomers, so any essential oil you use to clean or which you diffuse into the air will come into contact with their fur and paws. These oils get absorbed through your cat’s skin as well as ingested. Ordinarily, the liver is responsible for eliminating toxins, but cats lack a specific enzyme (glucuronyl transferase) needed to metabolize certain toxins, including essential oils.

Cats are also susceptible to phenols and phenolic compounds, which many essential oils contain. Phenol is carbolic acid, one of the oldest antiseptic agents, which means we tend to associate its fragrance with cleanliness. Cats are incapable of metabolizing phenols, so any use of these essential oils in their home environment can lead to liver failure and prove fatal.
There are three essential oils commonly used in products which are toxic for cats:
  • Pine oils,
  • Citrus oils
  • Most oils in the mint family
Several other oils are harmful to cats, too:
  • Cinnamon oil\
  • Clove oil
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine oil
  • Sweet birch oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Wintergreen oil
  • Ylang ylang


  • Avoid diffusing toxic essential oils as your pets are inhaling them, too. Only diffuse pet-safe fragrances.
  • Adding essential oils to cleaning products means they may come in contact with your pet’s paws or fur. Since pets groom themselves with their tongues, it’s important to only use pet-safe essential oils when cleaning.
  • Adding essential oils to your bathwater, shower, or vaporizer means they’ll spread through your home’s air. Your pet will inhale them and will come in contact with droplets that settle on their fur or the floor. Only use essential oils that aren’t toxic.


Essential oils are fatty, aromatic compounds distilled from plants. The distillation process means they’re highly concentrated, with high-quality essential oils boasting 100% purity, while “fragrance oils” are typically 1-20% essential oil combined with a carrier oil and sometimes synthetic fragrances.

The higher the concentration of essential oil, the greater the risk to your pet. This is true of even essential oils made from plants you know don’t bother your pet. Many pets don’t react to a stroll through garden herbs like basil, oregano, and thyme and are not troubled eating foods flavored with those herbs. But when those herbs are distilled into essential oils, they become highly toxic to your furball friend.

Signs & symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning

The following symptoms are signs your pet has been exposed to poison or a toxic essential oil:
  • Watery nose or eyes
  • Difficulty breathing (coughing, panting, or wheezing)
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting, Diarrhea,
  • Pale gums
  • Low body temperature, or a low heart rate
  • Central nervous system issues such as lethargy, weakness, difficulties walking, trembling, tremors, or sudden stumbling.
Even with pet-safe essential oil use, it’s important to watch your pets around your diffusers and cleaning products. Never allow your pet to ingest essential oil at any dilution, and do not add it to their food.
Always consult your veterinarian before adding even safe essential oils to your pet’s bath or grooming products.

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