Essential Oils and Dog

Essential oils have gained immense popularity for their therapeutic benefits, but not all of them are safe for our furry friends. Some essential oils can be toxic to dogs, leading to a range of adverse effects. Do not use these essential oils in a diffuser around your dog, or use topically on your dog and most certainly do not let dogs ingest any essential oil.

Here’s a look at essential oils that are particularly hazardous to dogs and the reasons behind their toxicity.

Are Essential Oils Are Toxic To Your Dog?

Tea tree oil is widely known for its antiseptic properties, but it is highly toxic to dogs. Even small amounts can cause symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting, drooling, and tremors. In severe cases, it can lead to coma and death. The primary compounds responsible for its toxicity are terpenes, which can be rapidly absorbed through the skin and metabolised by the liver, leading to poisoning​.

While peppermint oil is often used to soothe human ailments like headaches and muscle pain, it can cause significant harm to dogs. Exposure can lead to vomiting, diarrhoea, and skin irritation. Inhalation of peppermint oil can also cause respiratory distress. The menthol component in peppermint oil is particularly irritating to a dog’s skin and mucous membranes.

Pine oil, derived from pine trees, is used in many household cleaning products. However, it is extremely dangerous for dogs. Ingestion or even inhalation can result in symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, loss of coordination, and, in severe cases, kidney and liver damage. The phenols in pine oil are particularly toxic to dogs because their livers cannot effectively metabolise these compounds​.

Cinnamon oil can cause a variety of health issues in dogs. Contact with the skin can result in irritation and allergic reactions. If ingested, it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, changes in heart rate, and even liver damage. The coumarin compound found in cinnamon oil is primarily responsible for its toxic effects​.

Citrus oils, found in many air fresheners, can be harmful to dogs. They can cause skin irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and central nervous system depression if ingested or absorbed through the skin. The d-limonene and linalool components in citrus oils are particularly toxic to dogs​.

Wintergreen oil, often used in pain relief and muscle rubs, contains methyl salicylate, which is highly toxic to dogs. Ingestion can lead to vomiting, gastrointestinal bleeding, and kidney failure. Even small amounts of wintergreen oil can be dangerous and potentially fatal.

Why Are These Oils Dangerous?

The primary reason these essential oils are dangerous to dogs is their high concentration of potent compounds that dogs’ bodies cannot metabolise effectively. Dogs have a different metabolism and lack certain liver enzymes that help break down and eliminate these compounds, leading to toxic accumulation.

If anyone has more information and other oils to add to this list please do get in touch with us at [email protected].