Dangers of Essential Oils: Dogs

Essential oils are known for their calming aromas, and many of us regularly use them around our homes as plug-in diffusers, potpourri, candles, or sprays. What a lot of people don’t realize is they don’t necessarily smell the same to your dog as they do to you, and they can pose a toxic threat to our pets. Here’s what you should know.

What to Avoid
Dogs are far more sensitive to fragrances than humans. What may seem like a harmless fragrance to you might be overwhelming for your dog. This is especially true if the fragrance is present in a small space or if it continues for an extended period of time. Keep this list of essential oils away from your dog’s nose and out of their reach.

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet Birch
  • Tea Tree
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang Ylang

If your dog may have been exposed to essential oils (via inhalation, ingestion, or contact with skin), they could have one of several reactions. Please watch for these signs:

  • Drooling or vomiting
  • Watery eyes and/or nose
  • Reddened gums, lips, or skin
  • Lethargy or wobbliness (called ataxia)
  • Panting, coughing, or wheezing
  • Difficulty breathing

What to Do
If inhaled, immediately get your dog into fresh air. This can often alleviate symptoms quickly. If on skin/fur, wash with hand-safe dish soap. Watch for symptoms once the affected area is clean. Call your veterinarian right away if the oil was ingested or call us at 415-554-3030. Do not induce vomiting as this can potentially further obstruct your dog’s airway.

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