Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Pets?

Are Essential Oils Safe for Your Pets?

While the fresh smell of citrus or cinnamon wafting from an essential oil diffuser can have many positive benefits for us, the same isn’t always true for our pets. In fact, because our four-legged friends have a stronger sense of smell and more sensitive respiratory systems, many essential oils can be dangerous to them. 

The potent oils can be readily absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes (such as the nose and mouth), and, because cats and dogs often lick themselves, they are prone to ingest even more of the substance. 

However, that doesn’t mean you have to ward off essential oil diffusers and aromatherapy completely! It’s still possible to utilize essential oils safely in your pet-friendly home, and it could even be possible for your animals to reap some of the benefits too. It all starts with knowing which essential oils are considered pet-safe and the best practices for utilizing essential oils around your animals.

We do need to note that this article is specifically about diffusing essential oils, as our candles and melts are pet-safe. Because the concentration of oils that gets dispersed into the air is much less from our candles than from diffusing, it is safe to burn our candles with your pets in the room.

 dog sniffing candle

What to Avoid 

Opinions and references often vary, but the following are among the scents that are largely considered to be harmful to both cats and dogs:  

  •     Cinnamon 
  •     Citrus – Cats in particular lack the enzymes needed to break down citrus, so blends such as Cinnamon Orange Clove, Citrus Peel & Pine, Fresh Mint & Lime, Lemon Orange Blossom, Palo Santo & Pink Grapefruit, and Wildflower Citrus should be avoided in close proximity to animals. 
  •     Clove 
  •     Peppermint 
  •     Pine 
  •     Tea Tree


For cats, it is also recommended to avoid eucalyptus, lavender, and wintergreen, among numerous other scents. It’s important to note that this is not a comprehensive list, and, like people, each pet has its own unique molecular makeup so your dog or cat may respond differently to diffusing. 

While it’s generally best to consult your veterinarian before use, it is widely considered safe to diffuse even any of the aforementioned essential oils in your home with your pet, as long as it is for a short time and in an area or room where the pet is not present. Similarly, any essential oils should not be diffused directly in your pet’s space, such as next to their bed or near their food dish

Pet-Safe Essential Oils 

In general, when your pets are in the room, it’s best to use smaller amounts of essential oils in your diffuser (one to three drops), to keep the space well ventilated, and to keep the door open so your animal can exit easily. They are likely to leave the room if the scent is overpowering or bothering them, so ideally, they can easily access fresh air away from the diffuser. 

When it comes to selecting a pet-safe essential oil, the following are largely considered to be safe for use around pets:  


  •     Cedarwood 
  •     Chamomile
  •     Eucalyptus (dog safe, but not cat safe) 
  •     Fennel 
  •     Lavender (dog safe, but not cat safe)


When used responsibly, these pet-safe essential oils can even become complementary to traditional medicine. For instance, some veterinarians suggest the careful use of lavender or chamomile oil to help dogs dealing with anxiety, and for dogs dealing with aggression or shyness, some recommend diffusing cedarwood oil and allowing the scent to float through the air as a natural way to help the dog. 

We highly recommend consulting with your veterinarian if you have any questions about using essential oils in close proximity to your pets, as the oils can be powerful medicine! Happy diffusing! 


Using Our Candles & Melts with Pets

One question we get a lot at Fontana is if it is safe to burn our candles around pets! In short, yes! Because the concentration of oils that gets dispersed into the air is much less from our candles and melts than from diffusing, it is safe to burn our candles with your pets in the room. 


 Shop Fontana's MADE SAFE Certified Essential Oil Collection