Essential Oils and Pet Poisoning

Essential Oils and Pet PoisoningEssential oils have enjoyed widespread interest and popularity in recent years. And it’s no wonder – they have the potential to soothe a variety of ailments and they smell wonderful. However, for all their positive attributes, essential oils can result in a pet poisoning if absorbed through the skin or inhaled.

So Good, So Bad

Due to their well-documented healing properties, essential oils have definitely earned a place in the medicine cabinets of some people. Derived from plants, essential oils can aid in health or personal care and can be used for everything from flavorings to air fresheners to insecticides.

Over the years, essential oils have been put in candles, liquid potpourri, room sprays, and perfumes, but perhaps most popular these days is their use in diffusers. When mixed with water, the diffuser creates a vapor. Pets not only absorb the oils into their skin, but they also end up breathing them in. Some essential oils contain phenols and phenolic compounds which are known for their toxicity (especially to cats).

Strictly Speaking

Because they lack a special liver enzyme, cats are unable to efficiently metabolize essential oils. Most oils, such as wintergreen, peppermint, tea tree, and more, are 100% concentrated, so cats are especially at risk for a pet poisoning.

Symptoms of essential oil toxicity are similar to those of a general pet poisoning. This includes:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Tremors
  • Breathing problems
  • Decreased heart rate
  • Low body temperature
  • Lethargy
  • Pawing at the mouth
  • Red or burned skin, gums, tongue, and lips

Liver failure is the most common result of exposure to essential oils, which must be treated with emergency veterinary care. Be sure to bring the product with you to the hospital so we can provide a quick diagnosis and begin treating your pet.

Connect the Dots

Blood work will help us determine if the liver and/or kidneys have been affected by this type of pet poisoning. IV fluids are common practice, but if there are wounds or burns in the mouth or esophagus, we may start your pet on a feeding tube and soft meals. Anti-vomit medication, antibiotics, pain relief, and liver-protecting medications may also be recommended.

Eliminate the Risk of Pet Poisoning

It’s best to keep products that use any concentration of essential oils out of the home. This includes various kitchen, bath, and personal care products. Please read the ingredients label before exposing your pet to a harmful situation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the use of essential oils, we encourage you to contact us.