I love using essential oils in my home, but I’ve heard that some can be toxic to my pets. Can you help me to determine if I need to ditch my “oily” habit to protect my pets?
Essential Oil Fanatic in Timbergrove
Dear Essential Oil Fanatic,
Essential oils are all the rage these days! Folks are using them to not only enhance the scent of their homes but also to help alleviate stress and other ailments. While some essential oils can be beneficial to pets and even help to strengthen their immune system, vets warn you to use them in moderation and with caution.
Never put them in food or water
“Essential oils should never be given by mouth or in the animal’s food,” said Murl Bailey, a professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. “Oral ingestion can cause vomiting, diarrhea and central nervous system depression, which can cause symptoms such as decreased heart and breathing rate. Seizures are also possible from large doses.”
Don’t let Rover lick freshly-applied oils
Bailey added that oils applied to the animal’s skin may be ingested during the animal’s self-grooming. Therefore, it is best to apply the oil at the base of the neck where the animal can’t reach. Additionally, if you apply essential oils to your own skin, avoid allowing your pet to lick your skin after application.
Oils that are toxic to pets
Bailey also has compiled a helpful list of popular essential oils that can be toxic to pets. They include basil, bitter almond, clove leaf, hyssop, oregano, pine oil, tea tree, wintergreen and ylang-ylang.
Natural ways to treat pets, such as essential oils, are growing in availability. However, Bailey reminds pet owners that essential oils are not regulated and the concentration and safety listed on the label may be unknown in pets. As always, it is best to consult your veterinarian before beginning any new treatment regimen.
Bailey’s complete list of toxic essential oils can be found here at www.vetmed.tamu.edu.
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