Is It Safe to Use Essential Oils in a Pet-Friendly Home? - Essential oils and pet-friendly homes

Since adopting Charlie, my most cuddly good boy, I’ve been cautious about using essential oils at home.

I mean, there’s so much conflicting information online that it’s oftentimes hard to know what’s safe and what’s not. While I know using essential oils in my homemade hand soap, window cleaning products, and laundry is better for the environment and reduces my family’s exposure to harmful toxins, I wasn’t confident where Charlie stood in all this. Since he’s family now, I didn’t want to take any chances.

So today, at his very first vet visit, I decided to ask a few questions. My vet told me I wasn’t the only one who was worried. Apparently a Facebook post went viral a year ago and caused panic in pet owners. I wasn’t sure which post she was referring to, but told her I’d read of a lot of stuff online that said essential oils could seriously harm cats.

She was kind enough to take the time to set the record straight. Here is what I learned:

Cleaning your pet-friendly home with essential oils is safe

Using homemade essential oil cleaning products in homes with pets poses no health risk to the animals. You can spray countertops, linens, and wash floors and windows with diluted essential oil products without worry.

There’s even a vet tech at the clinic who cleans her pet-friendly home with Thieves oil products.

Just make sure not to spray near their food or water or directly on their toys.

Applying essential oils on your pet’s fur or skin is a bad idea

Despite what some sites will tell you, it’s not a good idea to make your own homemade pet remedies with essential oils and apply them directly on your pet. It can lead to irritation, chemical burns, redness, and, if ingested, toxicity. It’s not worth the risk to your furry family member.

If you have medical concerns or need something for flea and tick prevention, speak with your vet.

Diffusing essential oils can irritate pets with respiratory problems like asthma

Yes, you can still diffuse essential oils if you have pets, but there are some things to consider before doing so.

First and foremost, if your pet has respiratory issues like asthma, diffusing oils can exacerbate the issue. My vet mentioned that in such households, smoking and using chemical sprays like Febreze are also advised against.

Second, you should use a nebulizer rather than placing reeds directly in essential oils. The nebulizer is good because the oils are contained and diluted, and you can turn the unit on and off as needed.

Third, think about ventilation. This is important whether you have pets or not. Crack open a window, diffuse in an open space with doors ajar, etc.

Fourth, make sure your pet can exit the room in which you’re diffusing. If you live in a small space, consider whether your pet has a place they can go to that is scent-free. Remember, our pets have much stronger senses of smell than we do and might not find aromatherapy enjoyable.

Safety precautions

Keep your essential oils and diffusers out of reach of your pets so there’s no risk of ingestion. If your pet does accidentally ingest any essential oils, rush them to a vet or call animal poison control.

Cover image credit: Unsplash


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