Pet Doc with Nikki Burdine: Essential oils may not be safe for cats

Weekend Extra

Nikki Burdine: For this Pet Doc segment, we are as always joined by Dr. Staci Cannon with Metro Animal Care and Control.  We are talking about essential oils with your pets.  Good idea bad idea?

Dr. Staci Cannon:  That depends.  Essential oils are really popular right now.  We see a lot of people using those for themselves, for medical reasons, for relaxation reasons.  And so sometimes people have questions – are they safe around my pets?  Definitely, something to talk about with your veterinarian. Cats are especially sensitive to essential oils. Their little bodies just don’t have as many of the systems to be able to process those if they are exposed to essential oils.  The most important thing is if you are considering using essential oils on your pet like actually applying them to your pet, please talk to your veterinarian first.  There are definitely some that can be toxic for cats.  

Things like peppermint oil, tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, those can all be potentially toxic for our cats.  You never want to apply them directly to their skin without previous directions from a veterinarian.  The other thing to really consider and think about, that people like to use are the diffusers.  

There are passive diffusers where it might be aromatherapy in the room, but there are also active diffusers that sort of create the microdroplets, where it suspends the oils in water and can sort of distribute them throughout the room. It smells great and it’s wonderful for relaxation.  The thing to consider though is those oils can travel through the air and land on our cat’s fur and then they might groom themselves and lick and ingest that.  

Signs of toxicity you might want to be worried about include things like, drooling, vomiting, they might become lethargic or they might even start to look neurologic and stumble around. If any of that is happening, definitely discontinue using those oils and seek veterinary attention for your cat.  The best thing to do is just to keep your cat out of the room if you are using an essential oil diffuser. 

Nikki: Alright wonderful advice, before we go, one of these kitties wanted some attention, oh now, they don’t want attention, now you do, now you do.  This is Staci B and Staci B is up for adoption. Now she’s being shy. She wanted some attention earlier but if you come and adopt Staci B, don’t use essential oils around her. Good advice Dr. Cannon, back to you

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