Essential Oils Pet Safety Guide: Dos and Don'ts for Cats and Dogs - Aroma Energy

Essential Oils Pet Safety Guide: Dos and Don'ts for Cats and Dogs


In recent years, the trend of incorporating natural wellness practices into our daily lives has not only touched us humans but also extended its gentle touch to our furry friends. With the rise of aromatherapy, pet owners are increasingly curious about the benefits and safety of essential oils for their beloved cats and dogs. It's a subject that calls for careful consideration, as the well-being of our pets is paramount.

At Aroma Energy, we understand that every pet owner's primary concern is the safety and happiness of their pets. While our extensive collection of essential oils offers a multitude of scents and experiences (explore our essential oils collection), it's crucial to navigate this aromatic world wisely, especially when it comes to our sensitive four-legged companions.

However, not all essential oils are created equal, nor are they all suitable for our pets. Just as certain foods that are perfectly safe for humans can be harmful to dogs and cats, the same can be said for certain essential oils. The key to a harmonious and beneficial use of essential oils in the presence of pets lies in understanding which oils are pet-friendly, how to use them safely, and recognizing your pet's individual reaction to these potent natural extracts.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the do's and don'ts of using essential oils around your pets, highlight safe practices, and introduce you to pet-safe essential oils that can contribute positively to their environment. So, whether you're looking to soothe, invigorate, or simply create a pleasant ambiance for your pets, join us as we explore the fragrant world of essential oils with safety and love at the forefront.

Understanding Essential Oils and Pet Safety

Essential oils, highly concentrated plant extracts, are renowned for their aromatic and therapeutic properties. They're the essence of plants, distilled and prepared to bring the power of nature into our homes. From providing a calming atmosphere to enhancing our own health and well-being, the uses of essential oils are as diverse as the plants they come from. However, when it comes to our pets, these potent oils must be approached with caution and understanding.

Pets, particularly dogs and cats, possess a more acute sense of smell compared to humans. This heightened sensitivity can make certain aromas overwhelming or even harmful to them. For instance, while a human nose has around 6 million scent receptors, a dog's nose can have up to 100 million. This incredible olfactory capability means that what might be a mild scent to us could be overpowering or distressing to our pets.

Moreover, pets can react very differently to essential oils than humans do. Their skin is more permeable, and their systems can't metabolize certain compounds as effectively, making them more susceptible to toxicity. It's also worth noting that cats are particularly sensitive due to a lack of certain liver enzymes needed to process certain compounds found in essential oils.

When considering fragrance oils—synthetically made fragrances designed to mimic the scent of natural products—it's essential to remember that they are not the same as essential oils. While they might offer an appealing scent, they lack the natural therapeutic properties of essential oils and can contain additives that might not be pet-friendly. Thus, their use around pets should also be cautious and well-informed (browse our fragrance oil collection).

In the upcoming sections, we'll dive deeper into how you can use essential oils safely around your pets, provide lists of pet-safe essential oils, and discuss how to spot and manage any adverse reactions. With the right knowledge and precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of essential oils while ensuring your pets stay safe and happy.

General Safety Guidelines for Using Essential Oils with Pets

When it comes to introducing essential oils into your pet-friendly home, safety should always be your top priority. The powerful compounds in essential oils can offer wonderful benefits when used correctly, but they also possess the potential for harm if misused. Here are some general safety guidelines to keep in mind when using essential oils around your beloved pets:

  1. Know Your Pet’s Health Status: Before introducing any essential oils into your pet's environment, it's crucial to understand their current health condition. Pets with underlying health issues, especially respiratory problems, may be more susceptible to the effects of diffused oils. Consulting with a veterinarian before using essential oils around your pets is always advisable, ensuring that you're making informed and safe choices.
  2. Dilution Is key: Essential oils should never be used in their pure form on humans or animals. Experts suggest a general guideline for dilution: four to five drops of essential oils per 10 ml of carrier oil. This dilution helps mitigate the potency of the oils, reducing the risk of skin irritation or other adverse reactions. When it comes to pets, we believe essential oils should not be used topically at all, unless directed by your vet.
  3. Proper Diffusion: Using a water diffuser for aromatic use is generally safer as it disperses the oil into the air in a more diluted form. However, it's crucial to allow your pet the freedom to leave the room if they find the scent overpowering. Never confine your pet to a space where they're being exposed to diffused essential oils, as this can lead to overexposure.
  4. Special Precautions: Exercise extra caution with pets that are pregnant, nursing, young, or on medication. The effects of essential oils can be more pronounced in these animals, and certain oils may interfere with medications or hormonal processes.
  5. Monitor Your Pet’s Behavior: Observe how your pet reacts to essential oils. Signs of distress may include drooling, squinting, rubbing their face, vocalization, shaking, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any of these signs, discontinue the use of essential oils and consult your veterinarian.
  6. Avoid Harmful Products: Products containing xylitol, such as certain toothpaste and beadlets, can be extremely toxic to pets. Always check the ingredients of any product you plan to use around your pets, and keep potentially harmful products out of their reach.

By adhering to these guidelines, you can create a safe and enjoyable environment for your pets when using essential oils. In the next sections, we'll explore specific essential oils that are safe for dogs and cats, as well as those that should be avoided to ensure the wellbeing of your furry family members.

Specific Guidelines for Dogs

Dogs, with their exceptional sense of smell and loyal companionship, are often considered part of the family. It's essential to ensure that the essential oils you choose to use in your home are not only beneficial for you but also safe for your canine friends. Here's a detailed look into essential oils that are generally safe for dogs, as well as those that should be avoided.

Safe Essential Oils for Dogs

While certain essential oils can offer benefits to dogs when used correctly, it's crucial to always use them in a small quantities/ a diluted form and under the guidance of a veterinarian. Here are some essential oils that are generally considered safe for dogs:

  1. Lavender Essential Oil: Known for its calming and soothing properties, lavender can be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress in dogs. A study found that dogs were likely to interact with the scent of lavender, indicating a positive response.
  2. Chamomile Essential Oil: Chamomile is renowned for its relaxing and anti-inflammatory properties.
  3. Frankincense Essential Oil: Frankincense is often used for its reputed health benefits and calming effects.
  4. Peppermint Essential Oil: While peppermint should be used cautiously due to its potency, it can provide benefits such as repelling pests.
  5. Lemon Essential Oil: Lemon essential oil is known for its refreshing and cleansing properties. However, it's important to ensure it's used in moderation, as citrus oils can be more potent for dogs.

Essential Oils to Avoid with Dogs

While some essential oils may show benefits for dogs, others pose significant risks and should be avoided. These include:

  1. Tea Tree Oil: Highly toxic to dogs, even in small amounts, tea tree oil can cause central nervous system depression, skin irritation, and other severe health issues.
  2. Birch and Wintergreen: These oils contain compounds that can be harmful to dogs, potentially leading to skin irritation or more serious health concerns.
  3. Additional Cautions: Oregano, cassia, cinnamon, clove, rosemary, and thyme oils should also be used with caution, as they can be too strong for dogs and may lead to adverse reactions.

By understanding how to use essential oils around your dogs and which ones to avoid, you can ensure that your use of aromatherapy enriches your home environment without compromising the health and happiness of your canine companion. In the following section, we'll explore the specifics of essential oil use around cats, ensuring the safety of all your furry family members.

Specific Guidelines for Cats

Cats are known for their independence and distinctive personalities, but when it comes to essential oils, their unique physiology makes them especially sensitive. Their liver lacks certain enzymes which are crucial for metabolizing many of the compounds in essential oils, making proper knowledge and caution paramount when using these products around your feline friends.

Safe Essential Oils for Cats

While the list of safe essential oils for cats is more limited compared to dogs, there are still a few that, when used correctly and under veterinary guidance, can be safe:

  1. Frankincense Essential Oil: Known for its soothing properties, frankincense can be used around cats in a highly diluted form, helping to create a calm environment.
  2. Cedarwood Essential Oil: Often used in natural pest repellents, cedarwood oil can be safe for cats when properly diluted.
  3. Lemon Essential Oil: While citrus oils are generally advised against for cats, lemon essential oil can be used cautiously and in extremely diluted quantities for its refreshing scent.
  4. Lavender Essential Oil: Like with dogs, lavender can be soothing for cats as well. However, it should be used in a highly diluted form and never applied directly to their skin.
  5. Peppermint Essential Oil: Peppermint can be too intense for cats and should be used sparingly and in a very diluted form. It's best to use it in ways that don't involve direct exposure, such as in a spray or a diffuser in a well-ventilated room.

Essential Oils to Avoid with Cats

Many essential oils are toxic to cats and can lead to serious health issues. It's imperative to avoid these oils entirely:

  1. Tea Tree Oil: Highly toxic to cats, leading to symptoms such as skin irritation, drooling, vomiting, and in severe cases, seizures or liver damage.
  2. Citrus Oils (Bergamot, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Tangerine): Citrus oils can be irritating and overwhelming to cats and should generally be avoided.
  3. Other Toxic Oils: Oils like basil, cinnamon, clove, dill, fennel, oregano, peppermint, thyme, rosemary, spearmint, and wintergreen are also considered unsafe for cats and should not be used in their environment.

Cats are unique creatures, and their reactions to essential oils can vary widely. Always start with a very low exposure and closely observe your cat's behavior. If you notice any signs of discomfort or distress, discontinue use immediately and consult your veterinarian.

In the next section, we'll take a closer look at common essential oils like lavender and peppermint, discussing their benefits and safe usage for both dogs and cats.

Spotlight on Common Essential Oils

While many essential oils are available, certain ones like lavender and peppermint are especially popular due to their versatile benefits and appealing scents. However, when it comes to using these oils around our furry friends, it's crucial to understand how to do so safely. Here's a closer look at lavender and peppermint oils, highlighting how they can be safely enjoyed in a pet-friendly household.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is renowned for its calming properties and is often used to help reduce stress and anxiety in both humans and pets.

For Dogs: Lavender oil is generally considered safe for dogs when used correctly. Many pet parents use this oil to ease symptoms of anxiety, creating a relaxing atmosphere for their dogs.

  • Usage: Great in diffusers or candles, aromatherapy is a great way to access the calming benefits of Lavender. We do not recommend using any essential oils topically on any pets, unless you've been guided by your vet. Discover our pure Lavender Essential Oil.

For Cats: While lavender oil can also be calming for cats, it must be used with greater caution due to their heightened sensitivity.

  • Usage: The preferred method for cats is using lavender in a water diffuser, allowing the scent to disperse without direct contact. We do not recommend using any essential oils topically on any pets, unless you've been guided by your vet. Discover our pure Lavender Essential Oil.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is known for its refreshing scent and potential to repel pests, but it is also one of the stronger essential oils and should be used with care.

For Dogs: Peppermint oil can be safe for dogs when highly diluted and used sparingly.

For Cats: Cats are generally more sensitive to peppermint oil, and it should be used with extreme caution or avoided altogether.

  • Usage: If you choose to use peppermint oil around cats, ensure it is significantly diluted and used in a well-ventilated area, away from direct contact with the cat.

Both lavender and peppermint oils have their place in a pet-friendly home, but they must be used responsibly and with a clear understanding of the proper precautions. Always observe your pet's reaction when introducing any new scent to their environment, and consult with a veterinarian if you have any concerns.

In the following section, we'll discuss how to recognize and respond to essential oil poisoning in pets, ensuring you're fully prepared to keep your furry family members safe and healthy.

Recognizing and Responding to Essential Oil Poisoning in Pets

While essential oils can bring many benefits to our homes, it's crucial to recognize the signs of essential oil poisoning in pets. This awareness can mean the difference between a safe, enjoyable experience and a potentially dangerous situation. Here's what you need to know about the symptoms of essential oil poisoning and the appropriate actions to take if you suspect your pet has been affected.

Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Pets

Pets may exhibit various symptoms if they have a negative reaction to essential oils. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and include:

  1. Behavioral Changes:
    • Signs of discomfort, such as excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, or rubbing their face.
    • Apparent anxiety or agitation.
    • Unusual vocalization, such as whining or howling.
  2. Physical Symptoms:
    • Difficulty breathing or rapid, shallow breathing.
    • Unsteady gait or difficulty walking straight.
    • Redness inside the mouth, on the lips, or gums.
    • Vomiting or diarrhea.
    • Weakness, lethargy, or unusual sleepiness.
    • In severe cases, symptoms may progress to hypothermia, depression, or nervous-system-related weakness or unsteadiness.

It's important to remember that pets, especially cats, may be good at hiding their discomfort. Keep a close eye on their behavior and physical condition, particularly after introducing a new essential oil into your home.

What to Do If Your Pet Reacts to Essential Oils

If you suspect your pet is reacting adversely to essential oils, it's important to act quickly and calmly:

  1. Remove the Source:
    • Immediately stop diffusing the essential oil or remove any products containing the oil from your pet's environment.
  2. Ventilate the Area:
    • Open windows and doors to air out the space, ensuring your pet has access to fresh air.
  3. Consult a Veterinarian:
    • Contact your veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic right away. Be prepared to provide information about the type of essential oil used, the concentration, the mode of exposure (inhaled, ingested, skin contact), and any symptoms your pet is displaying.
  4. Do Not Induce Vomiting:
    • Unless specifically instructed by a veterinarian, do not attempt to induce vomiting in your pet, as this may worsen the situation.
  5. Follow Professional Advice:
    • Follow the guidance and treatment plan provided by your veterinarian. They may recommend bringing your pet in for examination or providing specific care at home.

By being aware of the potential risks and knowing how to respond to signs of essential oil poisoning, you can help ensure that your use of these powerful natural products remains safe and enjoyable for every member of your household, including your four-legged friends.

In the conclusion section, we'll summarize the key points discussed in this guide and reinforce the importance of safe essential oil use around pets.


Navigating the fragrant world of essential oils can be a delightful journey, offering a myriad of benefits for both humans and pets alike. However, as we've explored throughout this guide, it's a journey that requires care, knowledge, and a deep respect for the sensitivity of our beloved pets. Whether you're a seasoned user of essential oils or just beginning to explore their potential, the safety and well-being of your furry family members must always be at the heart of your practices.

We've covered the importance of understanding the unique physiological makeup of dogs and cats, which renders them particularly sensitive to the potent compounds found in essential oils. We've discussed the safer methods of use of popular oils like lavender and peppermint, provided lists of pet-safe and potentially harmful essential oils, and highlighted the crucial practice of proper dilution and application (diffuser/spray etc). Moreover, we've emphasized the significance of recognizing and promptly responding to any signs of essential oil poisoning.

At Aroma Energy, we are committed to supporting you in creating a harmonious, healthful, and aromatic environment for your entire family. We invite you to explore our carefully curated collection of essential oils and fragrance oils, each with the promise of purity and quality. As you integrate the natural magic of these oils into your life, remember that vigilance, education, and a gentle approach are your best tools for ensuring that every sniff, whiff, or inhale brings joy and well-being to your pets.

Remember, the bond we share with our pets is priceless, and their trust in us is unconditional. Let's honor that trust by choosing, using, and diffusing essential oils in a way that respects their innate sensitivity and contributes positively to their health and happiness.

For those ready to embark on a safe and sensory journey with their pets, explore our collection of essential oils and fragrance oils. Discover our individual products like Lavender, Chamomile, Frankincense, Peppermint, and Lemon Essential Oils, each offering a unique essence and potential benefits for your pets.

Embrace the power of nature with wisdom and love, and let the journey of aromatherapy with your pets be safe, enjoyable, and filled with shared moments of serenity and joy. If you have any questions or need personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out or consult with a veterinarian. Your journey to a pet-friendly, aromatic home starts here, with Aroma Energy.

To summarise...

Use in a well ventilated room.
Make sure oils are kept out of reach of pets.
Dilute oils so they're weaker.

Don't use topically on your pets (unless suggested by your vet).
Do not let your pet ingest the oil/do not use internally.
Don't use in an area where vapors could build up and become too strong.
Don't use around pets who are ill/have breathing difficulties.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional veterinary advice. Always consult with a veterinarian before using essential oils around your pets.

Note: This blog post is based on information from a source on the same subject, which can be found on Forbes. You can read the full article on Forbes at

As responsible pet parents, it's our duty to ensure the safety and well-being of our furry family members. We hope that this guide has equipped you with valuable knowledge to enjoy the benefits of essential oils while safeguarding your pets.

If you have any questions or concerns about using essential oils around your pets, please consult with a veterinarian for personalized guidance. Your pets' health and happiness are paramount, and with the right precautions, you can create a pet-friendly environment filled with delightful aromas and serenity.


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