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Pets and essential oils

If your cat is not allowed outside, their risk of needing a Vet is greatly reduced.

But, what if you get a lovely Christmas present, not realising that it may be unsafe for your pet?

I have put some reed diffusers that were a gift round my home, but it turns out that they might not be safe for my pets.

If a pet licks at the oils or swallows some from a spill, depending on the actual ingredients they could be poisoned. Plug-in diffusers, scented candles and humidifiers may also create problems, so always check that they are pet safe before using them, or certainly avoid using them in the same room as your pet or its food.

If you have a bad cold and need to steam to clear your breathing tubes, just make sure that your pets are in a different well ventilated room.

If there is accidental exposure, the symptoms you might see could include an upset tummy (vomiting, diarrhoea, or both); breathing problems (coughing, sneezing or gasping for breath); neurological signs (tremors, seizures, incoordination); kidney disease (thirsty and loss of appetite) or skin inflammation or rash if the exposure was external.

If you suspect your pet might have been exposed to a toxin, remove it immediately from the source. It their fur is contaminated, remember to put on some rubber gloves, or you might be affected as well. Bear in mind that most pets will try to remove any stickiness from their coat, so it is vital that you find a way to prevent them licking contamination off their coat on the journey to the Vet. A buster collar, or a family member cuddling them to prevent this could be life-saving.

Bring them straight to the Vets, and bring with you the packaging of the product involved. Alternatively, if you are not sure, and there are no symptoms yet, it is an option to dial 01202 509000 for the Animal Poisons Line, which is open 24 hours. Be aware that they do charge a fee for their services.

So remember to be pet-safe, if you are planning to set the scene this upcoming Valentines Day.

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