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Are essential oil diffusers safe for dogs?

 by lucy on 24 Apr 2018 |
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Essential oils are more than just a recent trend: They’ve been around since Biblical times, and for good reason. These concentrated plant oils don’t just offer calming or invigorating properties, but have also been used for natural healing for hundreds of years. While they can provide health benefits for humans, however, there is conflicting information on whether essential oils have the potential to help or harm our pets.
Essential oils occur in nature, giving plants their fragrant qualities. They protect plants and play a part in pollination, and for a long time, have helped in natural healing for both humans and animals. It’s important to note, however, that essential oils are volatile compounds that can be toxic to dogs at certain concentrations. Our pets can lick or eat these oils as well as absorb them through their skin, causing harmful or even fatal reactions in some cases. For this reason, using an essential oil diffuser is not recommended when you have a puppy under 10 weeks of age or dog with liver disease, which makes pets more sensitive to environmental factors.
Many practitioners, however, use essential oils as a natural alternative to medications for dogs. Adherents say lavender helps calm anxious pets, for example, and other uses range from boosting the immune system to increasing appetite. From shampoos to soaps, salves and sprays, these natural remedies are widely available for pets. If you’d like to use therapeutic essential oils for your dog, do so only under the guidance of a registered aromatherapist, found at aromatherapycouncil.org, or a member of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, at naha.org. Be sure to research which oils are safe to use with pets before starting any program.
Consuming essential oils or other potpourris can be harmful or deadly to pets. If you notice your dog drooling excessively, pawing at his mouth, experiencing difficulty breathing or walking, having muscle tremors, vomiting or otherwise acting lethargic, he may have eaten something poisonous. If you think your pet has consumed essential oils, call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at 888-426-4435 or the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680 and contact your veterinarian immediately. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the outcome for your pet. If possible, bring the product your dog ate to your vet to help with diagnosis.
While essential oils have healing properties for you and your pet, keep them out of reach of your four-legged friend at all times. This will help keep curious critters away from the sweet-smelling liquids. Consult your veterinarian before using any essential oils or other herbal products on your pets, and never apply undiluted essential oils to your canine companion or add them to his food or water.


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