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Is diffusing essential oils hurting our dogs?

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I recently bought an essential oil diffuser. Almost everyone I know has one, and I was enticed by the prospect of our home smelling like a spa.

 

At first, I used it quite often, but then Christmas came and the decorations went up, a new puppy arrived, and the diffuser was packed up in a cupboard and forgotten about.

 

A couple of weeks ago I came upon a website saying essential oil diffusing is bad for dogs and cats. This leads me to more clicking, and sure enough, a number of essential oils can be toxic to our pets.

 

So what to do, do I get rid of my diffuser, or are any oils safe or even beneficial?

 

Those questions started a frustrating endeavour of referencing various websites to find the information I was seeking. If you google “are essential oils safe for dogs” you’ll find a nearly endless list of websites discussing the topic, written by veterinarians, aromatherapists, and various others. I thought this would be simple enough, and started jotting down a list of the oils the sites said would be good for dogs and the ones they warned to avoid. 

 

As I made my list I realized that some of the oils that some of the sites said were beneficial showed up on another site’s harmful list, and some oils that some sites said were really dangerous didn’t even make it on to the harmful lists on other sites. How can this be?

 

There seems to be a lot of debate. A couple of prominent vets in the US are adamant on their websites that essential oils are safe if pure and say that low quality and impure oils are the problems. 

 

My biggest thoughts at this time were that I was relieved I’d found out about this before I ever used my diffuser around Finnegan, but then I started thinking about everything scented I’d used in my home around our late Puppy-Son, Buster.  

 

Had I inadvertently poisoned him, even a little? I thought about all the scented products I’d used over the years… essential oils, scented candles, room sprays, and perfumes.

 

I’ve decided to keep my diffuser, for 100% pure lavender oil only. It seems to be one of the few oils where there is a consensus amongst the sites that it is safe, and beneficial for dogs.  The American Kennel Club has an article here recommending it. I’ve realized I have to be much more conscious of the air quality in our home for Finnegan’s sake. From now on the only scented surprises around here will be Finnegan’s sneaky poops and we’re hoping he’ll stop doing that soon!

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