Signs Of Essential Oil Poisoning In Cats
- Difficulty walking, wobbliness
- Respiratory distress
If you notice any of these signs, move your cat immediately to fresh air, and if the symptoms don’t go away quickly, take your cat to a veterinary emergency center. The veterinarian may note a low heart rate, low blood pressure, and signs of liver failure.
What Are Essential Oils
Essential oils are oils typically extracted from plants. They have a powerful fragrance of that plant. They arent true oils in the chemical sense of being long chains of fatty acids. For instance, olive oil and olive essential oil are two different things. Rather, essential oils are derived from certain volatile compounds within a plant.
Essential oils are definitely having their moment right now as families all over the country trade in their chemical-heavy household products for them. Essential oil enthusiasts use these remedies for cleaning, relaxation, health and other reasons.
People love their pets, so putting essential oils and animals together is a logical next step for many folks who also love their oils and are seeking alternatives to other pet-cleaning or pampering products. After all, pet owners are usually generous people who love to share what they have with their furry family members.
Unfortunately, while many essential oils are beneficial for humans, theyre often harmful to pets. This also applies to oils that you arent placing directly on your pet. For instance, people frequently use essential oils with diffusers, but even using an oil in a diffuser or a warmer can potentially make your animal sick!
What Are Essential Oils And What Are The Benefits
Essential oils are made from highly concentrated plant substances and are popular in aromatherapy and alternative medicine, as well as home air fresheners. There are numerous types of essential oils, each with their own unique physical and chemical properties.
People believe the use of these natural essential oils helps improve their personal and their pets health and happiness. The perceived health benefits of essential oils has convinced some pet parents to try a holistic, natural approach to help with a wide variety of medical conditions, from anxiety and skin problems to flea and tick prevention.
However, the perceived positive effects of essential oils for you may result in significant negative effects on your beloved pet.
Natural doesnt always mean safe.
There is some preliminary research largely funded by companies selling herbal-infused pet products that suggests essential oils may have some health benefits for pets. This has resulted in some holistic veterinarians to include essential oil treatments into their practices.
Although research is still in the early stages, we dont incorporate this yet-unproven therapy at our Cabbagetown animal hospital, as the risks outweigh any benefits. Instead, we recommend our Cabbagetown Care Preventative Care Program that will cover all your bases and may complement any holistic approach you choose to pursue.
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Essential Oils Toxic To Cats
When diffusing essential oils, there are some that pet owners should never use around their cats. Thats because diffusers emit microdroplets of essential oils into the air, and your cat could inhale or ingest them after the droplets land on their fur.
Wismer advises that you only use an essential oil diffuser in a room completely separated from your cat. However, she notes, if your cat has a history of breathing problems, you should avoid using a diffuser at all.
This list contains many common essential oils that are toxic to cats, but its not exhaustive. Ask your vet before using any essential oils around your cat.
One other important note: many of these oils are also used to make liquid potpourri, which should also not be used around cats.
What Is An Essential Oil
An essential oil is a natural compound that are extracted from a single plant species and have the odor of the plant from which they have been obtained. Not all plants produce essential oils, but in those that do, the oil can be extracted from various sections of the plant including the stem, roots, leaves and flowers or fruits. While the oils that are extracted arent particularly strong, they are then distilled to make them more potent. It is for this reason that only a few drops of essential oil are needed at a time.;
While essential oils are extracted for use by humans, they are also used therapeutically by the plants themselves since they help with wound healing, attracting or repelling birds and insects, hormonal effects and even infection control.;;
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Uses Of Essential Oils
We use essential oils in a wide variety of different ways, from making our homes smell delightful to helping improve our physical and emotional wellbeing. Many owners have also used essential oils with their pets to similar effect. Some of the most common uses of essential oils in animals include helping to manage their moods such as calming them down or enabling them to manage anxiety, as well as acting as a repellent for certain pests including fleas and ticks.;
While essential oils have been used safely for centuries, it is important for pet owners to realize that there are in fact many different plants and flowers that are toxic to our animals. This toxicity doesnt diminish because your pet isnt coming contact with the plant itself far from it. Instead, the highly concentrated nature of the essential oil can make it even more potent in its poisonous nature. This is particularly true when you consider that cats and dogs have a sense of smell that is much more acute than our own. What might be a pleasant scent to us could be overwhelming and even painful for them to experience.;;
Are Any Essential Oils Safe For Cats
In short, there aren’t any safe essential oils for cats; they all have the potential to be toxic to your fur baby. As the ASPCA pointed out, “In their concentrated form , essential oils can absolutely be a danger for pets,” including when the oil is placed on their skin, fur or paws.
However, there are precautions you can take if you wish to use essential oils in the home. Using diffusers instead of concentrates is one way to help avoid toxicity. CatHealth.com recommended using a diffuser in an open space and keeping kitty away from it and its cords . Cats are great at getting onto high surfaces and into small spaces, so you can never be too careful when storing essential oils.
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What Is The Problem With Essential Oils And Animals
Think of it this way: Essential oils are very powerful. If nothing else, they have a powerful smell, but more importantly their molecules tend to be highly reactive with the compounds in our own bodies, and in pets bodies as well.
Thats what makes essential oils so useful. If they didnt react with our bodies, they wouldnt have any effect. But this is also why many essential oils and animals do not mix. Many oils are basically poisonous or toxic, because their reactions mess up a pets natural body chemistry. Human bodies can process a lot of weird stuff, but animals are often much more limited in what is safe for them.
Thus, when using any kind of essential oil, it is important to distinguish which oils can make your cat or dog sick.
Why Are Mint Plants Considered Toxic
If you cut your research short by just reading about the behavioral responses cats have towards mint, you may not think mint is so bad after all. However, theres more to the story. As I found out, theres a real health risk that causes mint to be considered toxic for cats.
When ingested, mint plants can cause vomiting and diarrhea in felines. In addition to being incredibly unpleasant and uncomfortable, vomiting and diarrhea are no laughing matter. In severe cases, they can lead a cat to dehydration and even death.
Possible Central Nervous System DamageThe toxicity of mint is also causing for concern for other reasons. A cats central nervous system can experience damage as a result of exposure to mint, compromising brain function and control of motor skills
Possible Long-Term Liver Damage
In addition, some sources even suggest that mint exposure can result in long-term liver damage. Unfortunately, liver damage is often irreversible.
These risks can be pinned down to one toxic principle that is found in catmint: Nepetalactone. This organic compound can be ingested through the air, meaning the scent of mint alone is enough to stir a reaction in cats.
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Can The Smell Of Peppermint Hurt Cats
Here is a list of dangerous essential oils to avoid with your cat: Basil, birch, cinnamon, clove, fennel, melaleuca, oregano, peppermint, thyme, and wintergreen as well as oils high in d-limonene can all have harmful effects on your cat. Use caution even if you are only using these oils for yourself.
Applying Eye Drops To Cats
The proper administration of eye medication is critical in helping your cat quickly recover from an eye injury or infection. Gently clean away any debris around your cat’s eyes with warm water and a washcloth. Hold the bottle using the thumb and index finger of your dominant hand with the tip pointed downwards. Use the last two fingers of the same hand to pull back the upper eyelid. Place your remaining fingers under the cat’s jaw to support the head. The lower eyelid will act as a pouch to receive the drops. DO NOT touch the eye’s surface with the applicator. Aiming for the center of the eye, squeeze the desired number of drops onto the eyeball.
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Symptoms Of Essential Oil Poisoning
Cats absorb oils that are directly in contact with their skin. Oils diffused in the air are inhaled which can cause respiratory issues. They can also collect on the fur, which results in your cat ingesting them during licking and cleaning. Toxicity can occur very quickly or over a longer period of exposure.
Essential Oils Often Used In Diffusing Devices Can Be Harmful To Cats And Dogs
Pet owners beware: Essential oils can be toxic to cats and dogs
Some common essential oils which are toxic to both dogs and cats include oil of cinnamon, citrus, peppermint, pine, tea tree , wintergreen and ylang ylang.
LOS ANGELES – Essential oils and diffusing devices are becoming increasingly popular, and as the holidays approach, its likely that many people will be giving or getting them as gifts but those soothing oils could be harmful to pets in the home if not used correctly.
Essential oils are derived from highly concentrated plant substances and can be used safely to treat some ailments in dogs, according to the American Kennel Club.
Many holistic veterinarians incorporate essential oils into their practices, but the AKC warns, without proper professional guidance, its best to avoid using essential oils topically or directly on your dog.”
Instead, the AKC suggests sticking to expertly formulated products that are formulated dog-safe essential oils.
Some common essential oils which are toxic to dogs include oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree , wintergreen and ylang ylang.
Not understanding or not being educated on appropriate use is what tends to cause the concerns that we see with dogs,said Jo Marshall, a senior veterinary information specialist.
Essential oils and diffusing devices are popular holiday gifts, but did you know that they can cause harm to your pets?
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Why Cats And Essential Oils Dont Mix
Cats actually lack a particular enzyme in their livers that metabolizes and eliminates certain medications, drugs, and some essential oils. Additionally, cats are also quite sensitive to phenol, which is a compound found in many essential oils. Therefore, if an essential oil has a high concentration , the greater the toxicity for the cat.
Curiosity Killed The Cat And Essential Oils Can Too If Youre Not Careful
We all love our feline friends, but they have an uncanny knack for getting into things they shouldnt. So its our job as responsible pet owners to be in the know about whats dangerous for them and then keep it far far away from their cute little noses.
Read on for 6;essential oil safety tips to keep your cat safe .
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Treatment Of Mint Poisoning In Cats
Most cases of illness caused by mint ingestion will not need treatment. If the cat has a pre-existing health issue, or if a severe reaction occurs, treatment may then be necessary.;
Remove Stomach Contents
To do this, the vet may induce vomiting using hydrogen peroxide. A gastric lavage may also be used in more extreme cases. Both of these procedures will remove all plant material from the stomach before it can be fully digested.
The cat should be kept as comfortable as possible during the episode of illness. If excessive vomiting or diarrhea have caused the cat to become dehydrated, intravenous fluids may need to be administered to stabilize the animal. An anti nausea injection and ant acids may be given. The cat will need to be hospitalized during this time.
I Consulted My Veterinarian
Lets get back to the tail of Boudica. After doing some online research, I realized that fleas were more difficult to get rid of than I had thought. And I knew I didnt want to put my precious furball through any more grief. It was bad enough she was suffering from fleas.
As Wismer recommended, I took my cat to the veterinarian, and he gave me a free sample of a prescription flea treatment he assured me would keep her safe and flea-free.
However, Im glad I did my research first. Now I know that most essential oils, even in a diffuser, may annoy or even harm my cat. Since then, I have set up a designated meditation room in which to enjoy my essential oils.
If your cat is exhibiting breathlessness, ataxia, or any of the symptoms listed above, be sure to get her checked out by a veterinary professional as soon as possible.
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How To Use Essential Oils Around Your Cat
Essential Oils For Fleas On Cats
Essential oils have been used as natural alternatives for flea removal on pets, instead of traditional, chemical-based flea collars. Today, there are several flea repellent essential oils on the market. Safe, natural remedies for fleas on cats include marjoram and red cedar essential oils. Flea collars with low concentrations of these essential oils may be effective in eliminating fleas. Always talk to your veterinarian before using any essential oils for fleas on cats.
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Why Peppermint Is Bad For Your Cat
People love the smell of peppermint. It reminds people of merry Christmases and freshly brushed teeth. Your cat does not share your sense of smell. She has twice as many olfactory nerves as you do. The smell of peppermint is overpowering for her and with very good reason. Inhaling peppermint can cause Kitty to develop aspiration pneumonia.
They may try to rid the inhaled oil from their system by coughing and sneezing. If your cat coughs and sneezes to the point her breathing is laboured and she has a fever and increased heart rate, take her to the vet immediately.
A cat’s skin is very thin and delicate. Rubbing anything into their skin can get it easily introduced to the bloodstream. Add to this the fact that cats often lick themselves can mean anything applied topically can quickly become introduced orally. Peppermint can affect your cat’s gastrointestinal system, but not in a good way.
The liver and central nervous system can be adversely affected. If your cat is drooling, has no appetite or lethargic to unresponsive, she may be experiencing a bad reaction to peppermint and needs to go to a veterinarian right away.
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Being Exposed To Essential Oils And Liquid Potpourri
Keep essential oils and liquid potpourri products out of reach of cats at all times. Curious animals may want to investigate the sweet-smelling liquids, so never leave opened essential oils or simmering potpourri unattended. In addition, consult a veterinarian before using any essential oils or other herbal products on your cat. Concentrated essential oils should never be applied to a cat.
Pet Poison Helpline, an animal poison control center based out of Minneapolis, MN is available 24/7 for pet owners and veterinary professionals that require assistance treating a potentially poisoned pet. The staff provides treatment advice for poisoning cases of all species, including dogs, cats, birds, small mammals, large animals and exotic species. As the most cost-effective option for animal poison control care, Pet Poison Helplines fee of $65 per incident includes follow-up consultations for the duration of the poison case. Pet Poison Helpline is available in North America by calling 800-213-6680. Additional information can be found online at www.petpoisonhelpline.com
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