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Essential Oils to Avoid for Pets and Babies

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In this post: Essential oils are natural but they are not all created equal when it comes to our pets and little ones. Below is a list of essential oils to avoid for pets and babies.

Essential oils are amazing, they have so many benefits from relieving pain, purifying the air, and more. We LOVE them here at Chez Acheson. But did you know some essential oils are not safe to diffuse around pets or even babies? Essential oils are natural but they still are not all created equal when it comes to our pets and little ones. Below is a list of essential oils to avoid for pets and babies.

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Essential Oils to Avoid for Pets and Babies

As a parent, and/or pet owner you want to make sure you are doing all you can to make them happy and safe. Below you will find a handful of essential oils that are not safe for your pet or your baby. I have broken each category down, so you can see oils to stay away from if you own a dog, cat, or a baby. This is a quick guide to help make you be as safe as possible around your family.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use these oils anymore, you just have to be aware of how. Diffusing is one way that your pet or child can inhale these oils and that can be toxic. You can apply topically if you are fighting an illness or pain, but diffusing isn’t the best. Make sure if you use these oils on your body topically you are aware of when you go to pick up your baby or pet. Don’t allow it to be where they can come in contact with the essential oil.

Essential Oils That Are Toxic To Dogs

They can experience skin sensitivities and worse if they come in contact or inhale the fumes from the diffuser. Like with cats the toxic factor of oils can sometimes be quick and others it is slow and happens over time. So if you diffuse and think nothing happened we are okay, realize they don’t always show symptoms at first contact.

  • Tea Tree Oil
  • Clove
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Yarrow
  • Anise
  • Garlic
  • Juniper
  • Horseradish
  • Rosemary

Essential Oils That Are Toxic To Cats

These oils listed below can be toxic to your cat. Whether they are inhaled from say a diffuser, applied topically or ingested. So if you use these on or around your cat you really need to talk to your vet before you use them again. Cats have a stronger sense of smell so they are extra sensitive to smells. You also have to realize that being toxic doesn’t mean they will show symptoms overnight. Some cats it is a slow process and others it is quick, it just depends on oil and how they came in contact with it.

  • Birch
  • Thyme
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Melaleuca
  • Peppermint
  • Tea Tree
  • Cinnamon
  • Wintergreen
  • Others that contain Phenol
  • Cassia
  • Citrus
  • Spruce
  • Eucalyptus

Essential Oils That Are Toxic To Baby

First off when you use essential oils make sure you are buying quality therapeutic grades. Some brands have synthetics and even contain alcohol which can be an irritant. Some oils can be a blessing to use whether topically or diffusing for your little baby, it is a natural way to help. But with all the good from essential oils, we have to be aware of the negative. Some oils are very harsh and can cause a handful of issues for your baby. Trouble breathing, seizures, skin irritation and more. These oils listed below are not recommended to be used around babies.

Diffusing can be safe you just have to make sure you use the right amounts of essential oils and diluting it properly for the volume of air that is in the room. You also want to make sure you are using safe oils, and stay away from these essential oils I list below.

  • Eucalyptus
  • Peppermint (some say it is safe, but I say proceed with caution)
  • Sage
  • Douglas Fir
  • Birch
  • Black Pepper
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Wintergreen

I hope this is a help on what essential oils to avoid when you have pets or a little baby at home. The peppermint and eucalyptus for babies has controversy around it as some say it is safe and others say no. I just recommend to research a lot and go with your gut as to what you feel most comfortable with, for any of these oils I have listed above.

What’s next?

Do you want to use essential oils in your home more, but feel like there’s so much info out there? 

Check out The Complete Guide to Using Essential Oils in Your Home packed with everything you need to know to – without the overwhelm.

Includes: which grades of essential oils to use, which ones to avoid for pets and babies and the top 13 essential oils that are perfect for beginners. Plus, recipes and tips for making your own home remedies, soaps, scrubs and cleaners and more. 

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Do you use essential oils at your house? Do you have pets and/or babies to consider?

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  1. Oils have always made me nervous for these reasons! I chatted with my doc last year when I was pregnant and she gave the clear to diffuse pretty much anything. She said it’s topical that can have effects so I’ve been sticking to oil blends that are specifically kid-safe.

  2. Great information!!! Thank you for sharing.
    I sprayed something that had tea tree oil in on my dog, hoping to help with fleas, but OMGOSH, at that time I didn’t know it was a neuro toxin to dogs!!!!! She went lathargic, foamed at the mouth, shook….so within 5 minutes I got her in the tub and gave her a good bath. After looking tea tree oil up I learned some oils are toxic to animals. I’m printing this list and keeping it handy!!!

  3. Thanks so much for this article! We have 2 cats & this is exactly what I’ve been looking for.

    I’ve (unknowingly) been diffusing 2-3 drops of a meditation blend I made (Clary Sage, Frankincense, Lavender). The cats typically don’t sleep in our room but do pop in from time to time. Should I be throwing this out?

    Also, I add a few drops of essential oils to my bucket when washing the floors – is this diluted enough to use an oil such as lemon or eucalyptus? The cats sometimes walk around when the floor is still wet. Any assistance very much appreciated!

  4. Would essential oils be dangerous to babies and/or pets if they were added to a recipe to create a deodorizer disc for a diaper pail? I wouldn’t imagine anyone would eat the disc…but just want to be sure if a toddler or pet took a bit out of it – they wouldn’t be harmed. Thank you!

  5. Thank you for taking the time to compile this list as i will print it and hang where it is visible. We have dogs and I use oils regularly in my diffuser—will now change what i am diffusing. Will also forward this list to my niece as she has cats and also loves oils.
    Thank you again.

  6. Hi! Is this list for diffusing purposes only? Or does it have to do with cleaning products that are natural also?