Are Essential Oils For Animals Safe?

essential oils for animals


The use of essential oils in humans has exploded in the last few years.  The use of essential oils for animals is now becoming common practice.  Since flea season is right around the corner, Dr. Anna Coffin will discuss what essential oils are being used for flea control.




This essential oil is derived from orange pulp and is mild to moderately effective for flea control.  If this product is diluted properly, it is very safe.  If not diluted properly D-limonene can cause:

  • Skin irritation
  • Mouth irritation
  • Muscle tremors
  • Inability to walk normally
  • Low blood pressure
  • Low body temperature

Melaleuca oil:

This essential oil is derived from the Australian tea tree.  At higher concentrations, Melaleuca oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties.  The ability of this essential oil to kill or repel fleas has not been established.  If this product is taken orally or penetrates the skin through wounds or abrasions it can cause:

  • Inability to walk normally
  • Weakness
  • Muscle tremors
  • Depression

Pennyroyal oil:

This essential oil is derived from the leaves and flowers of the pennyroyal plant (also known as mosquito plant to squaw mint).  You might find information on the internet saying that it is effective against fleas and ticks. However, no scientific evidence has been proven.  Unfortunately, this essential oil for animals has some very toxic side effects and should never be used on animals.

  • Depression
  • Vomiting
  • Liver damage
  • Diarrhea
  • Nosebleeds
  • Seizures
  • Death

Leading experts in veterinary medicine, like Richard Gerhold DVM, MS, and Ph.D. a clinical instructor of parasitology at the University of Tennesee and Tina Wismer DVM, DABT, DABVT the medical director of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, confirm that there is no support for the use of essential oils for animals in parasite control.  Unfortunately, when it comes to flea and tick control, home remedies and natural products are simply not effective.

Treatment for exposure to essential oils for animals:

Bathe your pet with liquid dishwashing detergent and get it off their skin as soon as possible.  Pets that have irritated skin or open wounds are more at risk for toxic symptoms because the essential oils are more readily absorbed into their body.  Once absorbed into the body, signs of toxicity from essential oils can last for days.  In fact, some pets will need supportive care such as intravenous fluid therapy and pain medication to help them recover.

You should avoid applying essential oils to your pet’s skin because not only can it irritate their skin, but it can overwhelm your pet’s hypersensitive sense of smell.  It is best to choose a flea and tick product that has been proven to be effective through research.  Ask your veterinarian which product they recommend. Book your appointment today!

border decoration
border decoration