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Essential oils are the concentrated liquids of plants. We use them in diffusers for aromatherapy or for natural and alternative medicine. Cleaning products, food and drink flavorings, personal care products, air fresheners and even liquid potpourris contain essential oils.
Many of these essential oils and liquid potpourris contain ingredients that are toxic to our pets if ingested. Even skin exposure to the oils can be fatal. Toxic essential oils include: Oil of cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, tea tree, wintergreen, and ylang ylang.
Essential oils and liquid potpourris contain chemicals that are rapidly absorbed either orally or through the skin, making them toxic. Many of these oils are absorbed quickly through the liver. Puppies, young dogs and dogs with health conditions are most at risk when it comes to essential oil exposure. Some essential oils can also irritate or burn both the skin and mouth of your dog. Even just a few licks or a small amount on the skin could be toxic to your dog.
If you believe your dog has been exposed to essential oils don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian immediately. If you cannot reach your veterinarian, call the Pet Poison Helpline at 800-213-6680. The sooner your dog is diagnosed and treated the better his prognosis will be.
If your dog is suffering from essential oil poisoning it’s important that your dog be treated as quickly as possible by your veterinarian to prevent toxic effects from taking place. Your veterinarian should perform blood work to determine if your dogs’ liver or kidneys have already been affected by the oils. If your dog is suffering from dehydration he may be given fluids intravenously. Your veterinarian might recommend a soft diet or a feeding tube if your dog has suffered burns in his mouth or on his lips.
When you have essential oils in the home it’s best to keep them out of reach of your dog at all times. Nosy dogs like to investigate anything that smells good enough to eat. Keep all oils closed at all times and never leave liquid potpourri simmering unattended on the stove. Talk to your veterinarian before you use any essential oils on your pet.
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