Essential oils put pets in danger

Essential oils can be popular holiday gifts in Southwest Florida. While they can keep you healthy, some veterinarians wonder if these products could kill your pets.

Bruce Lowy lives in Lehigh Acres with his dog, Lucky, a Jack Russell Terrier. He does not use essential oils in his home, but has concerns if it would be “consumed by a pet accidentally or intentionally.”

Dr. Whitney Whitford, a veterinarian in Lehigh Acres, said there are some concerns. Whitford offers her advice for anyone using the oils.

“You should tell your vet if you do use essential oils,” Whitford said.

Cats, dogs or birds could have medical maladies from these essential oils. They can become sick from the smell, touch or even the taste of the essential oils. While Whitford is not aware of any direct cases in her practice, she has read about other reports.

“Some of them have resulted in death,” Whitford said, “so you do need to be careful about that.”

Laura Horacek sells essential oil products at the Farmers Market in Fort Myers. Since the product “can be toxic for the animals,” it is imperative that pet owners keep them away from their furbabies.

“They have a very strong sense of smell, so it’s typically too strong for them,” Horacek said. “They have very thin skin, so you don’t want to be putting essential oils on your animals.”

The Animal Poison Control Center said using an oil diffuser, which is a common method for using essential oils, for a short time in a safe area that your pet cannot get into should be fine. However, avoid using an essential oil diffuser in your house if you have birds. The animal could develop more severe problems due to breathing sensitivity.

Despite the health benefits for humans of using essential oils in one of the several ways of distribution, Whitford told WINK News she has several dogs and cats and she is not going to take any chances. While Lowy is not worried about Lucky eating anything she should not.

“She’s very picky about what she eats,” Lowy said. “I don’t think she would eat something that wasn’t put in her food bowl.”

Writer:Michael Mora
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