Essential oil toxicity in dogs and cats


I feel compelled to write this post as I have just read an article on the Dogs Today Magazine website that I found very upsetting. The article described the lingering death of a dog caused by xylitol that was very hard to read… but this can also happen with the misuse of essential oils, which I know to be incredibly widespread.

Essential oils are growing increasingly popular, but there’s a lot of ignorance around how to use them properly. This is particularly true when it comes to essential oils and animals. Dogs and cats are susceptible to toxic poisoning from quite a few essential oils, and so it’s important to avoid using these oils in their presence.

Essential Oil Knowledge

I run an essential oil business called Wild As The Wind. I am regularly shocked and, to be honest, horrified by tales of people using essential oils on their pets, which are known to be toxic to animals.

The most common essential oil which is used mistakenly on pets is Tea Tree, or Ti Tree Essential Oil. This is toxic to both cats and dogs, and shouldn’t even be applied to humans in the same room as your pets! Tea Tree essential oil can impose debilitating toxicity levels in dogs and cats just through inhalation.

The list of essential oils that should not be used on pets, (and any animals, for that matter), may surprise a lot of people. It’s long!

I am, however, to some extent, employing the ‘it’s better to be safe than sorry’ dictum. Having seen quite how gung-ho so many people are in using essential oils without knowing the first thing about them, I don’t think I can over-emphasize enough the need for caution when working with them.

Working with Essential Oils

All essential oils should be diluted before use. This means that essential oils for human use must also be diluted.

There is a lot of misinformation about essential oils on the internet. Many people propagate the myth that it’s fine to use Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils in an undiluted form on humans, form example, but this is simply untrue!

All substances will cause toxicity when they build up in the body, and undiluted essential oils are difficult for the body to excrete. Quantity matters where essential oils are concerned, and diluted essential oils are a must! Between five and 10 drops of essential oil to 10ml of base oil is a good rule of thumb for using essential oils on humans… as well as animals.

Essential Oils For Dogs & Cats

There are quite a few essential oils that can be used with dogs and cats, but I’m not going to list them here. If you are planning on using essential oils on your pets, then it’s important to buy a book written for pets by a leading authority. It doesn’t matter which book of essential oils for pets you get, as long as it’s written by a recognised authority on the subject, and it lists recipes for all of the conditions your dog or cat is likely to contract.

The essential oil recipes for specific conditions will ensure that you don’t use the wrong essential oil on your pets, nor will you use the wrong amount of essential oil in the wrong concentration.

Avoid Using These Essential Oils On Your Pets

These oils shouldn’t be applied to any animal, and definitely shouldn’t be used in the same room as your pets… Although Robert Tisserand, a leading authority on the safety of essential oils, says small exposures to any oil isn’t going to cause too many problems for most pets.

The following list has a lot of the oils that should be avoided in pregnancy as well, as can be seen in the article Using Essential Oils on the Wild As The Wind website.

  • Star Anise
  • Birch
  • Boldo
  • Calamus
  • Camphor oil
  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus Oils (excluding Sweet Orange)
  • Chenopodium
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Goosefoot
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Juniper
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine
  • Red or White Thyme
  • Rue
  • Santolina
  • Sassafras
  • Savory
  • Tansy
  • Tea Tree
  • Terebinth
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood
  • Yarrow
  • Ylang Ylang

Bitter Almond base oil should also be avoided.

This is a guest post by Rachel Wild. Want to write for us? Visit or email


  1. Thanks for the information. I was wondering if you could answer something for me. Can you use essential oils everyday? I mom was asking me and I’m trying to find out for her. I appreciate any answers you can give me.

  2. I use Lavender oil in a Spray bottle for my dogs itching. A few drops dilated with water. Distiller also.Water and a few drops of Lavender oils, smells nice and relaxing to dogs and us. Everyday. Hi


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