Warning to pet owners after dog 'poisoned' by household device

One woman said her dog started 'acting weird' before she discovered why.

Animal owners are being warned about the potential dangers of a common household device after one woman claimed using it can be harmful to dogs.

In a viral post re-shared on Facebook by a Victorian woman on Saturday, the pet owner said she made the discovery after her dog was "acting weird".

"Dog poisoned by the diffuser," the pet owner claimed in the original post from April, suggesting the essential oil diffuser at her home was to blame for her pet's poor condition.

"Saturday night I got home late and my dog didn't recognise me. I thought I woke him up and he was having a night terror, [but] on Sunday, he was still acting weird," she added.

The dog started
The dog started "acting weird" after being exposed to tea tree oil. Source: Facebook

Trip to the vet revealed cause of dog's behaviour

She explained that she'd been running her new diffuser so she quickly turned it off. By Sunday afternoon her dog "was feeling better", but the strange behaviour returned the next day.

The worried pet owner rushed her dog to the emergency vet. It was there she learned what had been causing her dog's behaviour. "The tea tree oil I was using in the diffuser is toxic for dogs," she said.

"Thankfully the test showed that his liver was ok but we weren't out of the woods yet. He was given fluids under his skin to get the toxins out," she explained. "The vet and the poison control are saying that they see these cases often now that the popularity of essential oil is growing."

Why are essential oils bad for pets?

According to PetSure, some essential oils can be problematic due to their concentrated nature. Symptoms can include watery eyes and nose, throat and nose irritation/burning, nausea causing drooling and/or vomiting or breathing difficulties. They can also affect cats.

"Cats lack the essential enzymes in their liver to metabolise and eliminate the chemical compounds in essential oils, therefore all essential oils have the potential to be toxic to cats. Dogs do not have the same enzyme deficiency, but they can still be at risk of irritation or toxicity," it says on the pet insurance website.

A list of essential oils that are toxic to pets. Source: PetSure
A list of essential oils that are toxic to pets. Source: PetSure

Eucalyptus and tea tree oil are among the most problematic in dogs, according to the Australia Poisons Hotline, and can cause "drowsiness, unsteadiness on the feet, confusion, coma and seizures". Camphor, clove oil and oil of wintergreen can also be harmful.

Pets with existing respiratory conditions are at greater risk of developing respiratory distress.

Warning to Aussie pet owners

The Victorian woman, from the northwest city Swan Hill, shared the warning with members of a community Facebook group. "Warning to pet owners using essential oils in their homes," she wrote, alerting others.

"Thank you for sharing, it is terribly sad how many people just won't listen and even sadder how many are not even aware," one said. "Always worth doing research before bringing something into the house," said another.

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