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Cats, Dogs, & Essential Oils

Our pets provide us with unconditional love. They make us laugh, comfort us, and always listen without judgment. In return we provide them with a safe home, warm places to sleep, and food to eat.

Essential oils have been rapidly growing in usage over recent years. Their popularity only continues to rise. Many well-meaning pet owners have turned to essential oils to help their pets. Sadly, sometimes their efforts are misguided and their pets could end up sick or ultimately lose their life.

Humans rely on their sense of smell to find food, warn them of danger, or provide feelings of comfort. We use our 5 million smell receptors to do this. By comparison, cats have up to 80 million smell receptors and dogs have up to 300 million (Thompson, 2017). If a smell is strong to you just imagine how strong it is to your animal friend.

Cats are sensitive creatures. They lack the liver enzyme needed to break down essential oils. For this reason, it is best not to diffuse around cats. Also, do not apply to felines topically.  Hydrosols and flower essences are better options for cat care as long as they are used under the guidance of an animal aromatherapist (Holland Azzaro, n.d.).

Dogs can tolerate essential oils better than cats can but certain guidelines still need to be followed. The size, health, and age of the animal as well as any allergies need to be considered. Some commonly used essential oils that are safe to diffuse around healthy adult dogs are Lemon, Chamomile, Lavender, and Patchouli. Some essential oils best avoided are Tea Tree, Cinnamon Bark, and Wintergreen. This is not a complete list. Some essential oils, such as peppermint, are safe for short term inhalation, but not topical application. Contact an animal aromatherapist for more details. Never apply undiluted essential oils to any pet (Holland Azzaro, n.d.).

Most veterinarians lack aromatherapy training, and most aromatherapists don’t have animal aromatherapy training. It can be hard to find answers regarding animals and aromatherapy. However, there is one group on Facebook led by an animal aromatherapist. If you have any questions or are searching for information about using oils with your animals it is a great resource. It is called the Animal Aromatherapy (Safe Usage) group, led by Kelly Azzaro. She is an animal aromatherapist with over 20 years of experience. It is a closed group and you must request to join but when you do there are many files and answers available to you.

Please use caution when using essential oils around your animals. They are part of the family and deserve the same considerations. If you have any questions, please contact us.



Thompson, K. (2017). The Battle of Cats vs. Dogs. [online] Parade. Available at: [Accessed 8 May 2017].

Holland Azzaro, K. (n.d.). Animal Aromatherapy Essential Oil Safety. 1st ed. [ebook] Ashi Aromatics Inc. Available at: [Accessed 7 May 2017].

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4 thoughts on “Cats, Dogs, & Essential Oils

  1. Thanks for the information. I was wondering if you could answer something for me. Is it possible to get addicted to essential oils? I mom was asking me and I’m trying to find out for her. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Marcel! That’s a great question. I’ve never heard of someone becoming addicted to essential oils but I’ve reached out to some experts in the field to get a more definitive answer for you. Sensitization from neat usage or internal damage from digestion is happening more frequently though so it’s important to always dilute and follow safe usage guidelines. It’s great that your mom is considering safety first when using essential oils.

    2. Hi Marcel, I apologize for the delay but I wanted to let you know that I did dig into this to get you some more information. The short answer is no, a person can’t get addicted in the way we normally think of addictions. If you’d like more information, let us know. Thanks.

  2. I think peppermint essential oil is good for pets. Peppermint oil has purifying effects that make it easier to breathe. For summer it would be actually the best choice!

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