There’s no denying the importance of our pets, whether they’re cats, dogs, hamsters, or some other manner of furry or feathered critter; they’re cherished members of our families just like our spouses, children, siblings, and parents. We’d never want to risk harming them, either on purpose or accidentally. Therefore, it’s important to understand the potential risks of certain household devices; in this case, essential oil diffusers.
While essential oil diffusers on their own are not deliberately harmful to pets by design, there are some essential oils that could cause harm to befall your pet if they are exposed to them through the use of an essential oil diffuser (and exposure is all but guaranteed, due to the way essential oil diffusers disperse essential oil particles throughout the air so effectively). It’s also important to remember that our pets have much more sensitive olfactory senses than we humans do, and as such have a greater sensitivity to essential oils. Certain animals also react more seriously to specific types of essential oils.
If you own one or more cats, for example, you should try to avoid using essential oils such as birch, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, grapefruit (or anything else citrus-related), oregano, tea tree, thyme, and wintergreen. These essential oils might smell fantastic to you, but some of the compounds contained within these oils can interfere with the detoxification processes of your cat’s liver; due to the overall importance of the liver for bodily function, if the reaction is severe this impact on the liver could be incredibly detrimental to your cat’s health and potentially even pose a fatal danger.
Similarly, there are also essential oils that pose a risk to dogs and other canines. Some of these include (but are not limited to) anise, clove, garlic, horseradish, juniper, thyme, wintergreen, yarrow, and rosemary.
Also bear in mind the fact that your pet may have unique allergies of their own that might be relevant to whether or not using an essential oil diffuser poses a risk to their health. Even if you use certain essential oils that aren’t typically harmful to animals, your own cat or dog might still have an adverse reaction to them depending on their individual sensitivities, so make sure to always exercise caution if you’re not sure about your pet’s allergies and whether or not they might have a reaction to any of your essential oils (you might also want to consider avoiding essential oil diffusers altogether if your pet has a history of breathing-related problems, since the diffuser could exacerbate their existing condition).
If you have any concerns whatsoever, make sure to consult with your veterinarian; they are experts in regards to animal health and biology, and will be able to give you a great deal of information about the potential risks to your pet from essential oils and how to navigate them.
That being said, if you need to utilize an essential oil diffuser for medical purposes of your own (or even if you are simply determined to have one in your home for whatever reason), there are some steps you can take to make sure that your beloved animal companion won’t be at risk as a result.
One of the easiest ways to make sure that your pet is not exposed to any harmful essential oils is to place your essential oil diffuser somewhere in your home that your pet cannot access. This can be your home office or the laundry room or any room at all really; the most important thing is to keep you oil diffuser in this room and not allow you pet inside this room. While this method will confine the effects of your essential oil diffuser to the room you place it in, it will also eliminate the risk to your pet, since they will no longer be at risk for exposure to the essential oils.
It’s also important to store your bottles of essential oils in a location that your pets can’t access as well; if your essential oils are stored out in the open, there’s a chance that the bottles could be knocked down or broken open, leading to a risk of exposure for your pets; they could not only inhale the fumes from the oils, but possibly walk in them if they spilled and potentially even ingest them, which could lead to some very serious health concerns. Pets tend to be curious, so make sure you put away your essential oils in a cabinet that is out of reach and that will stay closed on its own (and if you want to be extra careful, consider investing in a lock for the cabinet that is pet-proof).
If you want to use an essential oil diffuser in your home, there are a few essential oils that are known to be safe to use if you have pets. These oils include (but are not limited to) cedarwood, marjoram, and myrrh. These oils are said to be able to help with skin irritation and allergies (particularly marjoram, which has anti-inflammatory properties), so if you want to use essential oils that will not only be safe for your pet but potentially even beneficial for their health then these oils are good choices to consider.
Additionally, you can also try essential oils such as chamomile, lavender, and clary sage. These are also supposed to be safe for use if you have pets, and they even have the added bonus of being able to provide a calming effect for your pets. As a result, if you have a dog or a cat this is stressed out or anxious for whatever reason, you can try diffusing one or more of these oils; it will help relax both you and your pet, and you won’t need to worry about any negative side effects since these oils are safe to use.
Of course, as mentioned previously, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about using essential oil diffusers around your pets; your vet will be able to offer you advice and recommendations for what to look out for so that you can be as safe as possible and keep your pet healthy and happy.