(WQOW) – Essential oils and diffusers are a common way people freshen up their homes, but some can be poisonous to your pets.
Veterinarian Margaret McDougall said many oils are toxic to cats and dogs – one of which is tea tree oil.
McDougall said when a toxic oil is used in a diffuser, it produces little micro-droplets that can actually get into the respiratory tract and cause coughing and wheezing.
She said if it’s applied to the animal’s skin, it can develop a rash, have hair loss or itching.
According to the Animal Poison Control Center, cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and have a hard time metabolizing and eliminating certain toxins like essential oils. That’s why it’s harmful for them. McDougall said if this happens, you should stop using the essential oils and contact your veterinarian.
She said not all essential oils are bad, though. “Some people actually use essential oils therapeutically in veterinarian medicine, so it kind of depends what people are using them for,” McDougall said. “If they’re using them just for their house for aromatherapy or for their own health they should still double check they’re not going to interfere with their pet.”
McDougall said it’s also important to use good preventative treatment when your pet has fleas or ticks and not use natural products because they don’t work as well.
For more information on essential oils and how they affect your pets, click here.