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Top 4 Diffuser Safety Tips When Living with Pets

Top 4 Diffuser Safety Tips When Living with Pets

This news likely comes as no surprise, but essential oil diffusers are having a moment right now…and it’s easy to understand why. Not only do these magical machines raise the humidity level in our homes, but they also impart fabulous fragrances into our spaces…with some having significant health benefits.

But diffuser enthusiasts are often surprised to learn that some essential oils pose a real health risk to our pets. Because we know pet parents want to keep their fur babies safe and well, we’ve gathered everything you need to know to enjoy your diffuser while keeping your pets safe.

Two Types of Diffusers

Diffusers fall into two categories—passive and active. Passive diffusers (like reed and heat diffusers) allow essential oils to evaporate into the air. Active diffusers (like ultrasonic diffusers) spray tiny particles of oil into the air.

While both diffusers make your home smell great, the scents can be overwhelming to pets whose sense of smell is significantly greater than our own. Dogs have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their nasal passages compared to the six million we possess, which means the oil you’re diffusing that smells delicate and lovely to you can be overwhelming for your pup. And cats are not far behind fido, with 200 million scent receptors. 

Certain Oils are Downright Deadly

There are certain oils you want to avoid diffusing, especially if you are using an active diffuser in an area where your pets spend much of their time. The oil particles that are emitted from the diffuser must land somewhere, and they can end up in your pet’s food or water bowls, on their bedding and toys, and directly on their coat where they are inadvertently consumed during grooming sessions.

For dogs, avoid the following essential oils:

  • Tea Tree
  • Penny Royal (also known as Squaw Mint)
  • Wintergreen
  • Pine 

Cats are less tolerant of essential oils than dogs. According the ASPCA, essential oils are one of the most common causes of tremors in cats. This is due, in part, to the fact that cats are missing a liver enzyme that helps them metabolize essential oils and that they are compulsive groomers.

The list of essential oils harmful to cats includes:

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

Tips to Keep Your Pets Safe

  • Talk to your vet – If your pet has breathing issues (i.e., asthma), ask your vet if any essential oil exposure is safe.

  • Place your diffuser wisely – Consider keeping your diffuser in rooms where your pet doesn’t spend much time and away from bedding, toys, and food bowls.

  • Limit diffuser use around pets – Avoid running your diffuser constantly, especially when pets are around.

  • Store oils safely – Be sure to keep your diffuser and essential oil collection well out of the reach of your pets.
  • Anyone experienced with essential oil use knows they can have a powerful effect in our own lives, and it’s important to be aware of the effects certain oils can have on our pets. Keep in mind that the list of dangerous oils we’ve provided here is not exhaustive and it is always a good idea to talk to your vet before diffusing an oil around your pet. By working with your pet’s healthcare provider, you can ensure your fur babies stay safe and well.

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    References

    Be Chewy

    Pet Poison Helpline – Essential Oils and Cats

    Pet Poison Helpline – Essential Oils

    Pet Poison Helpline – Essential Oils and Dogs

    Phoenix Vet Center

    Paws Chicago

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