The Star-Herald

Pets and essential oils

Essential oil diffusers are gaining popularity on the market, but an Ohio veterinarian warns that they may not be safe for your pets.

Essential oil diffusers release molecules of the essential oils into the air that you inhale and come into contact with.  Researchers do say that essential oils can help with colds, the flu and sinus congestion. But essential oils don’t pair well with cats, according to Dr. Beth Malinich.  Malinich, with the Animal Hospital of Fairview Park in Ohio, said cats lack an essential enzyme in their liver and it makes these essentials oils toxic to their health.

“They just don’t mix,” Malinich said. “The oils can cause some severe liver problems.”  Malinich said if you have a cat and a diffuser, don’t panic just yet. She said there are actually different types of diffusers on the market and you’ll just want to make sure you have the right one.

Passive diffusers simply evaporate the oils and produce the natural smell.

“Those are not too bad unless your cat knocks over the diffuser and gets into the oils themselves,” she said. “So if you want to have a diffuser, this is the best option for you.”

It’s the active diffusers you’ll want to avoid, “Those kind, they actually expel micro droplets of the oil and if your kitty gets into that material that can get onto their fur. They can groom it off themselves and that’s where they can get into some problems.”

Symptoms to be on the lookout for if your cat get into the oils include drooling, vomiting, tremors, ataxia (wobbliness), respiratory distress, low heart rate and low body temperature.

Birds can also be very sensitive to essential oils and the active diffusers. Dogs have a bit more tolerance; however, sticking with passive diffusers if you have an indoor pet at home is definitely the way to go.

Just a reminder when you’re adopting a pet, to take the time to meet the scared ones, the shy ones, the ones that don’t stick out to you.  The ones that hide under their beds and blankets, or in their litter pans. The ones that hiss, the ones that bark, shake, cry and look at you with confusion.  The ones who cower. The ones with the boring colors or missing limbs. The older ones, the frail ones, the ones that seem beyond repair. And, the ones who seem to have given up … because they haven’t, they just need you.  And sometimes you just really need them too.” (Author unknown)

Please remember to be a responsible owner: spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors of the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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