If you enjoy using a diffuser to disperse essential oils in your home, you may not have considered the effect on your pet. Though you may enjoy the aromas, cats and dogs have an enhanced sense of smell, so scents could become overwhelming to them. Some essential oils can even be toxic to pets, especially cats, birds, small mammals and reptiles.
When you use a nebulizing or ultrasonic diffuser, actual droplets of the oil permeate the air, which can land on the skin or be inhaled. On pets, they may ingest the droplets that land on their fur through grooming.
Cats are especially susceptible to problems from essential oils toxicity. Symptoms of overexposure can include drooling, vomiting, coughing, breathing trouble, lethargy, wobbly walking and red mucus membranes. If you are a cat owner and want to use a diffuser, the best option is to do so in a confined space (like a closed bedroom) where your pet can avoid contact. Don’t put essential oils directly on your cat. Check with your veterinarian before exposing your pet.
If you have birds, hamsters, gerbils or other small animals, it’s best to avoid using an essential oil diffuser in your house, unless the pet is segregated. Never use a diffuser or other strongly scented products in the same room the small pet lives.