A Surprising Side Effect Of Diffusers You Didn't Know About

Image by Victoria Bee / iStock

Essential oils are smell-good darlings of the wellness world, able to clean up everything from a bad mood to a grimy home.

There's a near-infinite number of oil varieties and opportunities to use them (Diffuse them! Smell them! Cook with them!). However, our beloved amber vials are filled with some pretty potent plant compounds, so they should always be handled carefully. It's especially important to do your research before dropping them in a bath, cooking with them, putting them on your skin, and, it turns out, using them around your pets.

What's wrong with using essential oils around animals?

Think of pets like babies: They're small and have sensitive systems. Like humans, every pet will react differently to oils, but the (extremely limited) research out there suggests that dogs and cats might exhibit symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, coughing, and low body temperatures when exposed to ones they don't like.

"Pets have a much better sense of smell than we do, so something that seems light to us may be overwhelming to them," explains Tina Wismer, DVM, DABVT, DABT, M.S., the medical director of the ASPCA's Animal Poison Control Center. "Dogs and cats who have either walked through oils, gotten some on their coat, or had oils placed directly on them can develop health concerns."

This goes for more exotic animals too! Wismer says that small critters like rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, and especially birds could have adverse reactions to their owner's essential oil habit.

How can I make sure I'm not making my pet sick?

When it comes to pet-proofing your space, Wismer suggests using everything in moderation. "The best way to avoid exposing your pets to dangerous substances is always to err on the side of caution," she says. That means making sure your pet is out of the room when running a diffuser, unless your pet has a history of breathing problems—in which case it might be best to avoid running it altogether. "If you do decide to keep your diffuser, you'll want to ensure that it is in a place where your pet cannot knock it over and potentially expose themselves to the oils," she adds.

Even cleaning products that incorporate essential oils might cause irritation, so you should always read labels carefully, follow directions, and make sure surfaces are dry before you let your pet play on them. And it might sound like a given, but you should never apply pure essential oils directly to pets.

One last thing to note: For your sake as much as your pet's, make sure the oils you're using are high in quality (more on how to find those here).

Now off you go to make some smell-good memories with two- and four-legged family members alike.

Ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.

Related Posts

Sites We Love

Functional Nutrition Webinar

Food is Medicine

Food has the power to create a happier and healthier world. Celebrity Nutritionist Kelly LeVeque will show you how.

Get Free Access Now Loading next article...
Sign up for mbg's FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar

Your article and new folder have been saved!