Are Essential Oil Diffusers Safe for Dogs?

Are Essential Oil Diffusers Safe for Dogs?

Sep 23, 2021
11 min

Are Essential Oil Diffusers Safe for Dogs?

Planning to relax and unwind with the help of some of your favourite essential oils and their relaxing scents? Beware! You may be putting your precious pooch at risk. We may enjoy the occasional basking in essential oils, with the diffuser on and the scents flowing about our HDB. However, our pooches may not. Scientific studies have shown that essential oils may pose a potential health hazard to our pups! Let’s find out more.

Does essential oil benefit pets?

There’s been much debate in the pet community with regards to whether essential oils benefit animals or not. Some say these essential oils help to provide a better holistic wellness to our pets just as they do so for us. Some beg to differ. So, what’s the deal with these oils?


How do essential oils work?

Essential oils are fatty aromatic compounds extracted from plants. These oils are distilled into a wide range of concentrations – from 100% pure essential oil all the way down to concentrations of 1-20%. It’s important to note that the more concentrated the oil is, the more dangerous it can be to pets.

Essential oils tend to combine with fat and are thus readily absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes such as our pup’s noses. These oils are carried  into the bloodstream where most are metabolized and eliminated by the liver.

Ever wondered how these oils have a relaxing effect on us humans? Well, these oils float through the air as scents, entering the amygdala via the nose. The amygdala controls our flight or fight responses and emotions. This is where the oils will trigger a response in the emotional center of the brain.


What’s the trouble?

It’s important to note, when using essential oils, that they are toxic when ingested, to both humans and animals. In fact, inhaling essential diffused oils is detrimental to our and our pet’s respiratory health. This is why diffusers can pose a certain danger to our beloved dogs.

Research has shown that essential oils can be toxic to dogs, whether ingested, applied to the skin, or inhaled. 

We must be careful not to expose our dogs to these oils as this could cause serious liver damage, respiratory failure, seizures and even death. Weighing the pros and cons of essential oils, professionals would advise dog owners to stay away from these oils. 

However, does this really mean you can’t unwind with essential oils? Here are some precautions you should take to relax while ensuring that your pet is well taken care of and not exposed to any of the non-pet friendly oils. 


What are some precautions to take:

Confined Relaxing Space

Do not leave oils in your dogs’ common areas and on their toys or leashes. It’s crucial that you limit your dog’s exposure to essential oils as best as you can to protect your pup.  These oils may have beneficial effects for you and you can enjoy them. However, as a dog owner, its best to do this in a safe and confined environment away from your precious pups. 


None for pups with respiratory conditions!

If your pup has severe respiratory conditions such as asthma, essential oils in general are a “No Go”! For the sake of your pup’s well-being, avoid all forms of essential oils. 


No entry for pups!

When you diffuse essential oils, the water vapour tends to spread around the room. It’s important that you keep the room out of  bounds to your dogs. Close the door or do whatever you can to ensure that your pup never has access to the room, to prevent exposure to the essential oils. This is also why the first point of relaxing in a confined space is important in limiting the amount of oils your dogs get exposed to. Using essential oils in a  confined space is definitely more advantageous than using it around your house, where your dogs roam about. 

As a dog pawrent, it’s important that you avoid these oils! There are some oils that are so toxic to your pups, it’s not worth putting your pup at risk to relax and unwind: 

Cinnamon oil, Citrus oil, Clove oil, Eucalyptus oil, Oil of Sweet Birch, Pennyroyal oil, Peppermint oil, Pine oils, Tea Tree oil, Wintergreen, Ylang Ylang. 


Healthier ways to relax safely with your dogs:

Taking a walk

Instead of putting your dogs’ health at risk by using certain oils, it’s much better to take a walk with your dog! With your busy schedule and the imminent stress from the pandemic situation, taking a walk outdoors will definitely lift your spirits! It’ll also put a big wide smile on your pup’s face! Seeing that smile would mean the world to you!


Bring your dog to a dog-friendly restaurant

Now that dining in is an option, why not take your dog out for a fun night out! You know you need it. Your pup needs it too, from cooping up at home for so long. Take a trip to Jekyll & Hyde, a pet-friendly bar, to unwind and relax in the presence of booze and pooch.

Snooze away with your pooch

Sometimes, the best way to rest is to take a big big nap. Cuddle with your pup and snooze the day away. As Bruno Mars puts it perfectly “Today I Don’t Feel Like Doing Anything”. What a mood indeed. Your dog probably needs the snooze fest too!