Between work as a personal trainer, and the demands of everyday life, Raquel Sasyn is all about de-stressing.
“Oh my gosh, everybody needs to relax. After a work day, traffic is bad just everyday stress,” says Sasyn.
Her husband thought essential oils would help ease her tensions, so he bought a diffuser.
“This particular oil was a lavender tea tree.”
They set it up in their bedroom and went to sleep—with their dog Mia, nearby.
“We went to bed about and when we woke up the next morning, Mia was like in a full seizure.”
Sasyn continued, “She was chasing her tail, her head was shaking back and forth. We couldn’t…you know, physically hold her and hold her down. It was terrifying. It was terrifying.”
Sasyn rushed Mia to their veterinarian.
“He said it could be either intoxication or she could be going through some type of seizure.”
Sasyn also reached out to friends on Facebook asking for prayers. And then, a message from a stranger gave Raquel a startling clue about what may have caused Mia’s unexplained reaction.
“A friend of a friend (said) I’m so glad that she’s doing better because her symptoms sound exactly like what happened to my friend’s dog and it was because of a diffusion of essential oils…and for me, I was like, BOOM!,” says Sasyn.
Dr. Jill Odle of Sugarland Veterinary Specialists didn’t treat Mia, but she has treated other pets who’ve come in contact with essential oils.
“It is very irritating to their respiratory system because their respiratory system is a lot more sensitive than ours,” says Odle. “They don’t have a lot of medicinal benefits for pets, but a lot of people use them for themselves, and so our pets are exposed to them.”
Odle says the higher the concentration of the oil, the higher the likelihood of the pet having a bad reaction.
She describes the symptoms, “You would see sneezing, coughing, you could even see red, runny eyes. For cats especially, a lot of times, they’ll have open-mouth breathing and they may even be hyper-salivating.”
Dr. Odle also warns using essential oils — especially tea tree oil on your pet’s skin to treat itching or parasites, can be potentially be deadly.
“It gets absorbed through their skin and it actually gets absorbed into the central nervous system,” she said. “And that’s where you can see signs like ataxia or stumbling. They can have weakness in their hind limbs. They can have depression or lethargy.”
She gives this advice to pet owners who use essential oils in their home:
First, check the concentration level; 100 percent may be too strong.
Next, select one well-ventilated room, away from your pets, to place your diffuser.
And last, Odle warns that “all natural” does not mean “non-toxic.” When in doubt, ask your veterinarian.
Raquel got rid of her diffuser and Mia is back to normal as if nothing happened.
“You just don’t think that they’re that different from us but they really, really are. She’s like my heart, my soul, you know… I don’t know what I would do if anything ever happened to her,” says Sasyn.
Below we have a list of essential oils that could be potentially dangerous to your pets.
- Oil of sweet birch
- Citrus oil (d-limonene)
- Pine oils
- Ylang Ylang oil
- Peppermint oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Pennyroyal oil
- Clove oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Tea tree oil
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