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Essential oils that can be toxic to pets?


Questions about animals

Essential oils that can be toxic to pets?

Occasionally, people use some essential oils to perform relaxing massages or soothe certain discomforts, such as swelling that produced a mild blow. However, when it comes to relieving pets, some doubts arise about how to use them correctly.

Could there be more recommended options than others? What would be the essential oils that could be toxic to pets? These and other questions will be answered in more detail below.

What are essential oils?

According to a study published in 2004, essential oils are defined as follows: “They are a complex mixture of aromatic substances responsible for flower fragrances.” To which the following could be added: they are concentrated from certain parts of the plants that They are extracted by distillation processes or cold pressed.

When using essential oils in an environment with pets, you have to be cautious, since these aromas can affect your sense of smell (which is much more potent than that of a human being).

You have to keep in mind that it is not the same “natural” as “safe”, since you have to keep in mind that essential oils are potent substances. They are rapidly absorbed by the body and metabolized in the liver, so inappropriate use can lead to serious risks to the animal.

Normally, topical oils They can cause skin irritation, among other problems. Therefore, its topical use is not recommended in puppies, elderly dogs or with liver problems.

It is convenient for a veterinarian to indicate which are the most recommended products, as well as their correct application in the dog. This will help avoid adverse reactions and complications to the animal.

According to the experts of the American Kennel Club (AKC), the use of essential oils poses several risks for pets. Therefore, if you want to use them, it is best to consult with the veterinarian and follow their instructions.

What are the essential oils that can be toxic to pets?

Within the different types of existing essential oils, Not all of them are suitable for application or use in pets.

Here are a series of oils that can be toxic to pets:

Citrus oil

Citrus fruits contain characteristic components, such as linalool and D-limonene. These two compounds have proven to be good insecticides.

Specifically, D-Limonene has been applied as an insecticide in dogs and cats. However, if pure citrus oil or some formulas are used, it can be poisonous to animals.

Adverse effects have been reported in cats in which an organic citrus oil cream was applied. Among those effects were ataxia, muscle tremors causing coma or death.

Melaleuca oil or tea tree

Before using an essential oil, consult with the veterinarian.

The Australian tea tree is called Melaleuca alternifolia and from it derives tea tree oil. It is a compound that is found in a wide variety of products, especially in shampoos.

It has also been marketed in products for cats, dogs, horses or ferrets. However, it has been included in the list of toxic essential oils for both cats and dogs.

Mint pennyroyal

Peppermint can be obtained as a volatile oil derived from two plants Mentha pulegium Y Pulegiodes hedeoma. Peppermint has been used throughout history as a flea repellent.

In the literature, a case of poisoning in dogs by peppermint has been collected. A dog was exposed to 2 g / kg of peppermint on the dog’s skin.

The intoxication began being observed in the reluctant animal, followed by vomiting and later diarrhea, among other symptoms. Unfortunately, the dog continued with convulsions, to finally die. Autopsy, specifically histopathological analysis, revealed massive hepatocellular necrosis.


Gaulteria is an oil that is extracted from the plant Gaultheria procumbens. The oil obtained is applied in the treatment of muscle aches on the skin.

This oil is applied in the form of methylated salicyte, and salicylates are harmful to dogs and cats. Specifically, cats may suffer an overdose, by metabolizing salicylates more slowly.

An intoxicated cat shows varied symptoms such as anemia, liver or gastric problems as well as depression. On the other hand, other symptoms of intoxication have been collected, such as a temperature rise above 41º (hyperpyrexia) or respiratory problems.

What does the toxicity of essential oils depend on?

First, the important thing is to mention that not all oils are toxic to the pet. There are certain oils, such as lavender oil, that are beneficial to the animal, although improper use can lead to poisoning.

In addition, the sense of smell of dogs is much more potent than that of humans. Therefore, care must be taken when selecting natural oils as well as the aromas found in the house.

The use of essential oils in flea repellent products can be problematic in animals. At the Environmental Protection Agency they consider these products as low-risk pesticides.

However, adverse effects and cases of intoxication have been reported in the presence of repellents with essential oils in dogs. It should be mentioned that most cases of poisoning were caused by misuse of the product.

First of all you always have to have the opinion of an expert, which indicates which oils can be used in dogs. When using these products you have to ask yourself, what are the essential oils that can be toxic to pets?

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