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Essential Oil Toxicities in Dogs

May 18, 2022
A yellow eight week old labrador puppy standing outside on some grass. The puppy is looking to the right of the camera.

Did you know that some commonly used essential oils can be toxic to dogs and cats?

In dogs, the most common essential oil toxicities that we see are to Melaleuca or Tea Tree Oil, but many others can be toxic to pets.

There are several possible routes of exposure, including ingestion, inhalation, and dermal (skin) contact exposure.

Essential oil diffusers can result in oils either being inhaled or ingested if the pet licks their fur after coming in contact with the diffused oils.

Oils that are harmful to dogs include, but are not limited to:

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus (d-limonene)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree (melaleuca)
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic

What are the signs of essential oil poisoning?

Signs may include:

  • Fragrance or scent on hair coat, skin, or breath
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty walking or uncoordinated gait
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on the lips, gums, tongue, or skin
  • Vomiting (you may detect the smell of essential oils in the vomit)

If you have questions or concerns about essential oils you are using in your home, we recommend you speak to your regular veterinarian.  In general, we recommend avoiding the use of essential oils (including diffusers) around dogs and cats.


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