Eucalyptus oil is a natural plant extract acquired by distillation from a eucalyptus tree species, commonly known as the blue gum tree. The oil is mainly made from eucalyptus, also called cineole. This active ingredient has been used by humans for thousands of years, following its medicinal values and in meals, perfumes, and pesticides.
Now, the oil is mostly used for aromatherapy. It is diffused in homes to help aid relaxation, immune functions, and good sleep. It works pretty well for humans, with benefits varying from helping digestion, skin issues, stress, and anxiety to boosting our immune systems.
If you have a dog around, you may wonder if they also benefit from it. Eucalyptus oil is known to have beneficial effects on animals, but only when used in small concentrations. Moreover, to reap the positive impacts of the oil on your dog, you need to be careful and aware of the practical and safe ways of using eucalyptus oil.
The Benefits Of Using Eucalyptus Oil On Your Pup
- The oil keeps your dog free from fleas and ticks.
- It can be used to disinfect doggie bedding and blankets.
- It can be used to soothe your pup in instances of insect bites, rashes, and stings.
- It keeps your dog smelling friendly as it eliminates odor.
- It can be used for respiratory therapy.
The Risks Involved
How safe or risky eucalyptus oil is to your dog depends on how you use it. Dogs are not allergic to the oil, but the element eucalyptol makes it highly toxic, risking damage to the liver or kidney. In liquid form, the oil is shown to have loads of perks but is very poisonous when undiluted.
Eucalyptus poisoning can occur if your dog takes in a substantial amount of the oil.
When administering eucalyptus oil therapy at home and your fur baby is around, be keen and watch out for any of the following signs and symptoms that indicate an overdose:
- Swelling, itching, or/and rashes
- Dilated eyes
- Pinpoint pupils
- Muscle weakness
- Depression and confusion
- Abdominal pain
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Rapid or weakened heartbeat rate
- Excessive drooling
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Pawing at the mouth caused by a burning sensation
- Low blood pressure
- Sowed reflexes
Any of the above signs indicate that your dog could be exposed to eucalyptus poisoning, and you must act fast. If left misdiagnosed and untreated for a long, eucalyptus poisoning can lead to gastrointestinal and neurological challenges for dogs.
How Safe Is Eucalyptus Oil For Your Dog To Smell/Inhale?
Diffusion is the process in which the aromatic particles of the oil are spread in the air. The method is primarily applied to get the potential benefits from oils through breathing.
Dogs have a compelling sense of smell; thus, eucalyptus oil is considered safe on a low-level inhalation.
If your dog suffers from a cold or kernel cough, you may add a drop or two of eucalyptus oil to a water bowl. Dip a towel, handkerchief, or absorbent cloth into the oiled water and have your dog inhale the vapor for a short while. The effect should be soothing and aid in the healing process.
If your dog is young, you must be more careful when using the oil around it. Small dogs are still growing, and their body systems are still under development; hence they tend to be more vulnerable to respiratory issues. It is best to place your dog away from the room you are using.
Even when diluted in water, applying eucalyptus on your dog’s skin is not advisable. Exposure to the skin can be more harmful than inhalation.
Precautions To Take As A Dog Owner
- Never at any given time use concentrated eucalyptus oil on your dog – ensure you properly dilute it.
- Do not apply eucalyptus oil or products with it directly onto broken skin.
- No matter how diluted the oil is, never apply or use it on a puppy or small dog.
- Do not leave eucalyptus oil anywhere within reach of your dog.
- Avoid diffusing eucalyptus oil in the same room as your dog. If you have to, ensure the amount is minimal.
- You should steer off eucalyptus oil when dealing with a pregnant dog or one with open skin wounds.
Treatment Of Eucalyptus Poisoning In Dogs
Eucalyptus oil is acidic. Due to this property, it is not recommended to induce vomiting in the occurrence of ingestion or overdose because this can lead to further internal organ damage. During first aid, if there is a trace of oil remaining around the eyes, rinse it off with clean water to prevent adverse reactions.
At the vet clinic, in the case of ingestion, they most likely will start with gastric lavage, followed by the application of activated charcoal to soak up any lurking toxin. Your dog is likely to be put under general anesthesia during gastric lavage.
Basic supportive measures include IV fluids to prevent dehydration and combinations of sugars and electrolytes to adjust any possible imbalances.
The vet may use stimulants and laxatives to speed up the removal of toxins in the dog’s system. Tranquilizers and antihistamines may reduce pain, swelling, or itching.
The answer to the question is Yes! Eucalyptus oil is safe for your dog, but only in small diluted portions.
For any essential oil, you want to be extremely cautious when using it around your dog, and eucalyptus oil is no exception. What you consider pleasant to you might be irritating and unwelcome to your dog.
In addition to toxicity, your dog might be allergic to some ingredients or prone to skin irritation from new products. Be careful when introducing new materials to your pup.
If you gain interest in using eucalyptus or any other oil on your dog, consult your veterinarian first. Also, in case of suspected poisoning, reach out to the vet or animal poison control for advice and further instructions.