SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – As essential oils gain popularity in homes; pet owners are posting warnings about the dangers of essential oils in diffusers.

Are essential oils toxic to dogs and cats?

San Diego veterinarian Dr. Pete Bratis works at the Bohdi Animal Hospital. He said “using them [essential oils] in the concentrated form is really where I think pet parents get into trouble.”

According to Dr. Bratis, if used in moderation, essential oils in diffusers should be unharmful to pets.

But are there certain essential oils that are more dangerous than others?

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC), concentrated forms of tea tree oil (melaleuca oil) can cause issues with only seven to eight drops; whereas, other oils take more-or-less. The APCC said to avoid directly applying essential oils on pets, and keeping them out of paw’s reach to prevent potential ingestion. 

“Used appropriately, I feel like a diffuser specifically can be used still for households where pet parents have dogs and cats,” said Dr. Bratis.

What animals are more vulnerable to essential oils?

Dr. Bratis said he would “caution [essential oil] use with pet parents that have birds. They have the highest susceptible to respiratory issues.”

Further, Dr. Bratis said diffusers should be avoided around any pet with breathing issues. “What you should provide for your pet is a place to get away from it. Remember that their sense of smell is much stronger than ours.”

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