Are diffusers, air freshener plug-ins and room sprays safe for pets?

Hello everyone!

Aromatherapy can improve mood and increase a feeling of relaxation. Lighting fragrant soy candles, incense sticks, and essential oil diffusers is something I enjoy doing. I also use room perfumes such as air freshener plug-ins on occasion. However, did you know that scents might be hazardous to your pets?

cat and dog
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Diffusers, air freshener plug-ins, and room sprays are household items that can add fragrance to a room. However, be aware that these products can be toxic to pets if ingested. Diffusers work by releasing a fine mist of scented oil into the air. Air freshener plug-ins and room sprays contain a liquid fragrance that disperses when the product is sprayed. The essential oils and fragrances in these products can be harmful to pets if they are ingested, as they can cause irritation to the skin, eyes, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract. In some cases, these fragrances can even be fatal to pets.


Read Aromatherapy for animals to find out which essential oils are safe for pets and which are toxic!


How can diffusers, air freshener plug-ins, and room sprays be toxic to pets?


Essential oil diffusers release tiny droplets of oils into the air, which pets can ingest and cause harm. The essential oils and other chemicals in these products can cause numerous health problems in pets, including vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures, and even death. If you have pets, you should take precautions to prevent them from ingesting these products. 


Grooming animals, such as dogs and cats, are vulnerable to severe illnesses caused by these oils because they can swallow them through licking and cleaning their bodies. Dogs, like cats, have an extraordinary sense of smell, and even mildly perceived aromas can be highly overwhelming. These scents can also be poisonous to other pets, such as birds.


Symptoms of fragrance toxicity in pets:


If your pet ingests some form of fragrance oil, they may experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Fuzzy brain
  • Weak muscles
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Seizures
  • Paralysis
  • Body turning yellow
  • Coma


If you notice any of these symptoms in your pet, seek veterinary attention immediately.


How to prevent fragrance toxicity in pets.


Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Keep all diffusers, air freshener plug-ins, and room sprays out of reach of your pets. 
  2. Choose products that are labelled as pet-friendly
  3. Avoid using them in enclosed spaces where your pet may be exposed to them for an extended period. 
  4. Consider placing the plug-in higher up. 
  5. Do not use fragrances in every room. This gives your pets access to scent-free rooms where they can escape.
  6. Carefully check the ingredients to ensure they do not include anything hazardous to your pets.


What to do if your pet ingested a diffuser or air freshener:


If you suspect your pet has ingested a diffuser or air freshener, it is crucial to act quickly. First, call your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline. They will be able to provide you with specific instructions on how to proceed. Meanwhile, here are some general tips:


  • Keep your pet calm and quiet.
  • Take your pet into an open-air space.
  • If the skin has traces of poisonous essential oil, instantly wash it with water and soap.
  • If your pet is vomiting, try to collect a sample for your veterinarian.
  • If your pet is having difficulty breathing, try to keep their airway clear and open.
  • If your pet is unconscious, try to stimulate them by gently shaking them or rubbing their paws.


Remember, the health and well-being of your pets should always be your top priority. Exercise extreme vigilance when using diffusers around pets because some oils can cause chemical burns and irritation around the body. Fortunately, some essential oil options have been labelled as pet-friendly. However, they should be used with caution because it is better to be safe than sorry. 


Talk soon, 



I'm a vegan with a passion for sustainability and clean, cruelty-free products. I mainly write lifestyle, wellness and self-care articles. Since I'm a true crime enthusiast, sometimes I also write about true crime and post videos on my two YouTube channels.

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