The Smell of Danger

Scents that can be harmful to your pets

One Strong Sniffer

Dogs have nearly 300 million scent receptors. That is 50 times the 6 million receptors us humans have. Cats aren’t as receptive as dogs with somewhere between 45 to 80 million receptors; though they can definitely pick up a scent.

The Power of Scent

There are many uses for scents and smells. Some people use them to liven up and freshen up their homes. Others use them as aroma therapy. There is even proven use for aroma therapy for dogs! For example, the scent of lavendar has a calming effect on dogs. Building off of that, there are a few ways that you can pump those smells throughout your house. Some people use things such as oil diffusers, scented plug ins, candles, air fresheners, and many others.

However, you do need to be careful. Some smells can be harmful to your pets if they are around them. Some scents can cause your pet to not feel to well and get a bit sick. The list below is not a complete list of harmful scents, but it does include many common scents that you should be aware of.

If you are concerned about a specific smell or scent, check with your veterinarian.

Scents to Watch Out For

Learn more about these and other potentially harmful scents at ASCPA Animal Poison Control Center’s website.

Scents Dangerous to Dogs

  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Citrus
  • Pine
  • Wintergreen
  • Tea tree

Scents Dangerous to Cats

  • Pine
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Wintergreen
  • Citrus
  • Cinnamon
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

Diffusers and Pets

Diffusers are awesome at putting essential oils into the air for various reasons. However, according to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, essential oils can be dangerous around animals, specifically cats. According to their article, cats could suffer from gastrointestinal upset, central nervous system depression, and even liver damage if they ingest too much essential oil.

With that in mind they recommend NOT using essential oils in a diffuser unless your pet is supervised or you check with your veterinarian first.

A Note On Air Fresheners

You may think that if scents and essential oils are dangerous to pets that you should probably avoid scented air fresheners, such as Febreze. Well, based on that same ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center article, air fresheners are fine to use around pets, so long as you follow the instructions on the label.

They also mention that your pet might have some minor skin irritation or upset stomach if they ingest or come into contact with the air freshener when it’s still wet. As always if a problem arises from the use of such products, refrain from using them and contact your veterinarian.

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