Maryland Pet

Essential Oils for Your Pet: Are They Safe?

Even though essential oils are of plant origin, they can be unsafe for animals. If you wonder about essential oils for your pet: are they safe, there are no agreed opinions of experts. The problem is that pets, especially cats and dogs, have a more sensitive sense of smell than we, and some scents we enjoy can irritate them.

You need to be particularly careful if you have a pet younger than ten weeks. These oils may affect their nervous and respiratory systems as well as metabolism and immunity. On the other hand, essential oils can be beneficial for many pets that have health problems. Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

House Pets That Can Be Sensitive to Essential Oils

Various species of animals will react differently to essential oils. Some of them can stand higher concentrations of fragrance, even though some breeds can’t deal with it. I will list them here relative to the level of sensitivity to olfactory oils.

Essential Oils Considered Safe for Pets

Although most people generalize the harmfulness of essential oil, there is a list of these that are entirely safe for many pets. However, keep in mind that each animal is unique in biological terms. That means that it can react differently to fragrant stimuli, just like humans.

There is a list of essential oils commonly considered safe for most pets. If you just want to refresh your house with some of them, you should be very careful and start with small doses. It is the best way to discover how your pet responds to a particular aroma. 

  You can try with:

Beneficial Essential Oils to Pets

There are a lot of essential oils that can be beneficial for your pet, especially when it suffers from some specific health issues. Let’s see.

Problems with skin and allergies

Problems with aggression or lethargy

 Problems with hyperactivity

Problems with joint discomfort

Problems with nausea and vomiting

Pet-Friendly Ways to Apply Essential Oils

Depending on the type of essential oils and the reason for using it, you can choose different devices and ways to apply them, including:

Essential Oils Considered Unsafe for Pets

Unfortunately, many healthy plants we love are potentially unsafe and even dangerous for our furry friends. They can cause skin irritation, difficulties in breathing, weakness, vomiting, and even paralysis in complicated cases. Therefore, you should avoid applying essential oils made from them to your pets.

In any case, it is highly recommended to have a consultation with your vet before applying any essential oil listed. Keep in mind that the type of oil safe for one species can be harmful to another one.

Essential Oils Considered Toxic for Pets

Essential oils poisonous for cats

Essential oils poisonous for dogs

Properly Use Essential Oil to Protect Your Pet

Application – As with all other aromatic products, you should use essential oils externally. Always store them at places inaccessible to pets.

After applying essential oils topically on your skin, be sure that they are entirely absorbed before you start playing or cuddling with your pet. That way, you will prevent entering the oil to its body by licking, which can jeopardize the health of your furry friend.

 Be highly careful if you have a pet with certain health conditions, such as:

Testing – If you want to treat your pet with any essential oil, don’t do it before talking with your vet. Also, always try a patch test before applying the oil in a larger quantity. That way, you will be sure that there is no existence of contact allergy or dermatitis in your pet.

You can do the test on your own by mixing a drop of the essential oil with one tablespoon of carrier oil. Apply a small amount of it to the skin of your pet to check if it is sensitive to that particular oil. Take care not to apply essential oil near the ears, mouth, nose, and eyes of your furry friend.

Keep in mind that the animal will potentially react to the particular oil within half an hour of application. However, some pets can respond even after 24 hours from use.

Dispersing – Before diffusing chosen essential oil in the room where your pet spends time, you should check its sensitivity to the particular scent by doing a smell test. Dilute a drop of the oil in a water vaporizer and diffuse it in an open space. If it reacts negatively, or you notice any kind of allergic reaction, avoid using this oil again.

 One of the best ways to introduce essential oils to your pet is to do it in a room with an open door. That way, your furry friend has the option to leave the area if the smell does not suit it.


It is quite tricky giving the right answer to the question is essential oils safe for your pet. It will depend on the species, the particular breed, and individual sensitivity. Before using any of them, check the list of unsafe and toxic essential oils for the pet you have. Then, do the tests to check if your pet is allergic to your favorite fragrance.

The truth is that some oils are beneficial for animals. However, always be careful when applying them for the first time. It is better to consult your vet before using any of them to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Emily Jackson

My name is Emily Jackson. I am a writer, translator, veterinarian, humanitarian, and a passionate traveler. After playing with white bears and elephants in the Belgrade ZOO and dealing with Rabies virus in the Institute Pasteur, I enjoy writing. My five beasts are my ultimate love, including three cats (Clementine, Josephine, and Sophio) and their ‘mom’ American Stafford Terrier (Malena).

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