Recently, I have seen warnings regarding Essential Oils (EO), Air Diffusers and pets and I felt this was too important not to discuss. Air Diffusers have become so popular over the years and with many of us wanting to rid ourselves of the toxins around us and the use of essential oils in them, have become even more popular. Air Diffusers are a great way to bring aromatherapy into your home or office. Using essential oils with a diffuser can help invigorate, calm, purify the air and most of all, make your surroundings smell great! Although essential oils are natural, as compared to fragrance oils (which are sometimes used) which are synthetic, there is still some consideration when it comes to safety.
First, you must remember that essential oils are concentrated. For each individual oil, the concentration is based on how much of the plant it takes to make the oil, known as the yield. It can take roughly 315 pounds of rose petals to create 15 ml of Rose EO, which is about 255 drops. That is a lot of plant matter in one drop of essential oil, this is why they need to be diluted with a carrier oil when placed on the skin, why you do not need a lot at once (a little goes a long way) and why some are more expensive than others as different amounts of different plants yield different quantities of oil.
Second, although essential oils are natural they still have safety considerations. For instance, essential oils like Clary Sage have been used (and still are today for some) to induce labor. People with high blood pressure should avoid Rosemary EO, as it is very stimulating and could raise their blood pressure more. Babies and children have thin skin and there are only a few essentials oils, like Lavender and Frankincense, you should use on them, highly diluted in a carrier oil , such as Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, etc. (water and oil do not mix, therefore essential oils do not stay diluted in water). Tea Tree EO, undiluted is toxic to animals. People with asthma (as well as pets) are sensitive to fragrances, so having a heavy concentrated scent can cause them to have an attack. With that said, take a minute to research the essential oil you plan to use, with consideration of who will be around it (two legged and four legged), before you just throw a few drops in the diffuser.
Finally, many households have pets ranging from fish to guinea pigs to cats and dogs. We as humans, must keep in mind that their bodies have a different make up than us. While their bodies can break down certain bacteria that our's can't; their bodies cannot metabolize certain things that ours can. Essential oils just happen to be one of them. Also, animals are so much more sensitive to scents and odors because their sense of smell is so much stronger than ours. Another thing to remember is that each breed of animal is different from other breeds. For instance, a Pug has a short almost squashed nose while a .Labrador has a long nose, therefore Pug's may deal with more respiratory issues due to their nose and can have more of a reaction due to the heaviness of an odor. Tea Tree EO is one of those oils that can harm a dog, when used undiluted. I have personally used my Soothing Salve on my dog for cuts and hot spots, which has Tea Tree Oil (highly diluted) in it, but always under the supervision of my veterinarian, and she has been fine, but once again it is one of many ingredients in my Soothing Salve and is extremely diluted. Yet, just like humans where Sally might be fine using a certain cream but Alice had a reaction, the same goes for animals. Pixie, the Labrador, may be fine, but her cousin, Bailey, the Wheaten Terrier, may not react the same. Some essential oils can be even more toxic to cats. Most important, care should always be used that they don't lick your hand with the concentrated oil on it,. So if you see a change in your fur baby when using your diffuser or using an essential oil on them, get them to the vet... immediately!
The thing to keep in mind is before you are diffusing something into the air, do a little research to see if there are any safety concerns; before you put something on your skin, do a patch test to insure there is no irritation; If you are pregnant, breast feeding, on specific medication, already dealing with an ailment, etc. consult your doctor to insure there will be no negative interaction. With the internet at our fingertips, you can do research in a matter of minutes. Don't just check one site, check several for consistency. Remember, too much of a good thing is not always good, and the amazing thing about essential oils is that a little goes a long way. So maybe you don't need the 3 drops of Bergamot EO and Fido and Miss Kitty might appreciate if you just use one drop. Below, I put together lists of some essential oils you will want to avoid using in your diffuser with pets around. This list is not complete, but I am sure that some that you will see will surprise you:
Essential Oils that may harm pets:
Oregano (dogs) Pennyroyal (dogs) Lavender (cats)
Tea Tree Lemon (cats) Clove
Thyme Pine (cats) Eucalyptus (cats)
Wintergreen Cinnamon Peppermint (cats)
What's your thoughts? Do you use a diffuser around your fur babies? If you do, what do you use in it?
Aunt D's Journal is a weekly blog. If you would like to opt-out, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with 'opt-out' in the subject.