Recently one of our students asked, “Would you be concerned about the use essential oil diffusors with pets in your house?” My answer in a nut shell was yes I would be very concerned, however the answer to this toxic question is complicated by the varying tolerance levels of each species. Some essential oils are toxic to all pets, or only some dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, aquarium fish and other small animals. We feel it just is not worth the risk, even if it’s a small one.
We don’t recommend using an essential oil diffuser with cats, rabbits, birds, fish and other small animals close by. Extreme caution should be used when infusing the air using oil-based aromatherapy diffusers, candles, etc., no matter what animal is in the room. Closely observe any animals in the home for signs of a negative reaction or symptoms of toxicity.
Once you start to research you will be alarmed by some of the essential oil recommendations for pets online. Sometimes it’s solely for commercial gain, so beware!
While we don’t give much thought to it when using essential oil products for humans, the higher sensitivity and smaller size of animals makes it absolutely crucial that we be aware of potential danger.
30 Essential Oils that may not be Safe for Pets
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
- Birch (Betula)
- Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)
- Boldo (Peumus boldus)
- Calamus (Acorus calamus)
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Cassia (Cassia fistula)
- Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)
- Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)
- Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)
- Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)
- Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
- Mustard (Brassica juncea)
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- Red or White Thyme
- Rue (Ruta graveolens)
- Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
- Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
- Savory (Satureja)
- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)
- Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
- Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
- Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Note that these are only the essential oils that have been tested on one or multiple species. Therefore, this is not a comprehensive list.
Based on the expert information we have read we do not recommend amateur of essential oils on cats, rabbits, birds, pregnant animals, young animals or fish.