Are Essential Oils Safe For Pets?


 “Pets have more love and compassion in them than most humans.” - Robert Wagner

Essential oils (EOs) are getting more popular these days. They have a calming effect that can relax you mentally, physically, and emotionally. They are also used to relieve body pains. However, the benefits you get might not be the same for your pet.  

Essential oils are derived from flowers and plants. They are natural and safe for humans but they can be dangerous for pets. Since plants don’t move and can’t protect themselves, they use these oils to repel pests and predators. Essential oils contain a number of biologically powerful and active compounds that can cause unpleasant and even harmful side effects. So don’t ever think that it’s safe to use on your furry friend just because it’s natural.  

The sense of smell of dogs and cats is greater and more sensitive than humans so pets can easily get irritated by fragrances. This can lead to skin irritations, allergies, and respiratory problems. This is the reason why it’s often advised not to use essential oils on pets that are under 10 weeks as topically applied oils permeate the hair follicles and sensitive skin of the young ones easily.  Some suggest not to use EOs on small pets while some recommend not to use them on pets at all. Aside from that, EOs may have an adverse effect on their nervous and chemosensory systems as well as their metabolic, immune, and respiratory functions. 

Before using EOs on your pet or anywhere near them, consult your vet first. It’s also highly recommended to gather more information about these oils and check their veracity. You can also seek the advice of experts on animal aromatherapy before deciding to use essential oils on your pet.  

These oils can have different effects on different pets. An EO might be beneficial to your dog but that doesn’t mean that it’s safe for your cat. So even if the oil is considered safe, you still need to be extra careful when you use it on your pet.  

Essential oils can be absorbed into your pet’s bloodstream through the skin, by eating or licking, and by inhalation. Once they reach the bloodstream, they can go to different tissues. Different compounds found in these oils have a natural affinity with certain tissues so knowing what chemicals are included in the oil, what tissues they affect, and what kind of effect they bring is very important. 


Essential oils that are considered safe for pets:

Cedarwood Virginian  

Repels insects. Promotes a sense of security and peace. Soothes the skin. Relaxes the mind and body in times of anxiety, agitation, excitement, and frenzy. Reduces spasms, pain, and cramping. Encourages blood circulation. 


Clary Sage 

It can help relieve emotional and mental distress. Relaxes the mind and body in times of anxiety, agitation, excitement, and frenzy. Promotes a sense of well-being and peace. Has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.  



Relieves emotional and mental stress. Boosts confidence. Contains anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Encourages a sense of peacefulness. 



Lessens joint pain discomfort. Promotes good digestion. Enhances breathing. Lessens inflammation. Alleviates emotional and mental stress. 



Soothes the skin. Improves attentiveness. Boosts confidence. Promotes a sense of security and peace. Helps control emotions for a better sense of balance. Help lift up the spirit when having negative emotions.  


Roman or German Chamomile  

Helps in relieving an upset stomach. Lessens both mental and emotional anxiety. Has a calming effect in times of panic, distress, and agitation. Promotes skin and fur health. 


Sweet Marjoram  

Reduces inflammation. Relieves mental and emotional stress. Lessens stomach discomfort. Promotes peace, confidence, and relaxation. Has a calming effect and contains anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. 



Aids in elevating the spirit in times of emotional turmoil. Promotes peaceful sleep. Alleviates emotional and mental stress. Soothes the skin. Boosts wound healing. Help lift up the spirit when having negative emotions.  


Essential oils that are not safe for pets:


Lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit essential oils are just a few of the citrus essential oils that are considered harmful to pets. Citrus oils can cause vomiting, lethargy, and in the worst cases, can cause seizures. 



Essential oils from pine can irritate your pet’s skin and stomach. It can cause them to vomit and have diarrhea. There were also reported cases of central nervous system damage and liver damage due to pine essential oil exposure


Tea Tree 

Although humans can get a lot of benefits from tea tree oil, it’s dangerous to pets. Pets exposed to this oil can suffer from vomiting or skin irritation to severe complications like depression or hind leg paralysis. 


Ylang Ylang  

This flower has a sweet and delicate scent and the oil derived from this flower is often used to make perfumes. However, this is toxic to pets. Exposure to this oil can cause difficulty in breathing, weakness, and vomiting.


Two ways to administer essential oils to your pet:


Dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before application. Applying pure EOs can make them sick and cause damage even if it’s on the list of safe EOs. A safe ratio would be one drop of EO for every one and a half teaspoon of carrier oil. Patch testing is advised to check for allergies or any adverse reaction before proceeding with the actual application.  

 Pet-safe carrier oils for topical use: 

  • Aloe Vera Oil
  • Apricot Kernel Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Borage Seed Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Kukui Nut Oil 
  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Sunflower Oil



Diffusing essential oils provides our pets the same benefits we get from it. Use a water-based diffuser and just add a drop or two of essential oil. Run the diffuser for ten minutes only then turn it off and let the air clear. 

We hope that this article helped you have a better understanding of essential oils. 


You might also be interested to read People Foods That Cats Are Allowed To Eat and Human Foods That Are Safe For Dogs 

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