People often assume that what is safe for them should be safe for their pets too, especially since strong bonds develop and the act of sharing becomes a natural outflow of that relationship. Did you know that sharing your favorite cereal with your pet piggy could be harmful? Who would have thought that even common foods such as nuts, rice, and avocado are bad for guinea pigs? Aromatherapy and the use of diffusers in the home have become very popular. This comes as no surprise really, since the benefits of using essential oils safely and correctly are plenty. Aromatherapy is a natural home remedy help improve our quality of life. But are essential oil diffusers safe for guinea pigs when we share our living spaces with them?
What you should know about guinea pigs and essential oil diffusers.
Pure essential oils are potent plant extracts that are highly concentrated and should be used with care. Pets are generally known to be more sensitive to essential oils than we are. First, consider that small pets such as guinea pigs and hamsters are small animals with low weight. They also have different detoxifying enzymes than us. Their smaller lives and respiratory systems may not be able to deal with the same quantities of the wrong essential oils as ours. Exposure to the tiny dispersed essential oils when diffused may overwhelm them and harm your guinea pig’s health. Remember that animals rely heavily on scent for survival and to locate food. The concentrated aroma of diffused essential oils may be too overwhelming for small animals because of their acute sense of smell. As a general rule, the use of essential oil diffusers is not safe for guinea pigs.
As most essential oils are considered toxic for your piggy, the use of diffusers should be a no-no. The same is true when it comes to any pure essential oil applied topically or ingested by guinea pigs, as it can be life-threatening for them. The small essential oil particles dispersed into the air when diffused, may settle on the coat of your piggy and be ingested during grooming sessions.
Which type of essential oil diffuser is safe for guinea pigs?
There are 2 types of essential oil diffusers, namely passive and active. If you are going to use a diffuser then passive essential oil diffusers are safer for guinea pigs. These types of diffusers such as reed or heat diffusers evaporate the oil, whereas active diffusers disperse essential oils more aggressively. If your candles contain essential oil they can be considered as a type of mini diffuser also. Candles containing strong artificial fragrances to eliminate pet odor can often cause more harm than good too. They also release toxic compounds when burnt such as benzene, toluene, and acetone which can cause allergies in guinea pigs. It is best to keep your guinea pig’s bedding clean and provide enough ventilation to keep odor at bay.
Watch out for these symptoms of essential oil toxicity in guinea pigs.
A close relationship with your small pet allows you to gauge better when it is unwell. When using essential oil diffusers in the home it is wise to first consult a holistic veterinarian with knowledge of essential oils, especially with small animals like guinea pigs, rabbits, and hamsters. Watch out for:
- Behavior changes
- Off its food
- Asthmatic symptoms
- Skin irritation
- Low body temperature
- Fur loss
- Head tilting
- Muscle weakness
- Hypothermia and collapse
- Discharge from eyes and nose
- Blood in stools or urine
Essential oil diffuser safety and tips.
The best way to keep your guinea pig safe is by not using essential oil diffusers in the home at all. If you would like to continue using them, consider the following few safety tips to help keep these small animals from harm.
- Go for a passive essential diffuser that is safer for guinea pigs.
- Do not use a diffuser in the same room as your small pet.
- Since essential oil concentrations and purity vary widely it can be dangerous for both your and your pet.
- Ventilate, but make sure the scent does not drift into your piggy’s space.
- Only use essential oils in a diffuser that are safe for guinea pigs.
- If your guinea pig or hamster has respiratory issues such as asthma, do not use essential oil diffusers.
- Never apply essential oils topically on your piggy or hamster.
- Make sure essential oils are never ingested.
- Keep oils in a secure place away from small pets to avoid accidental ingestion.
Which essential oils are safe to use in a passive diffuser around guinea pigs?
There are a few essential oils that you can use by passive diffuser around other parts of your home. Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) is thought to be one of the safest. According to a 1999 study, Lavender was shown to have a spasmolytic effect (relaxant) on guinea-pig ileum in vitro. It appears to have sedative activity in humans as well as animals. Although avoid using it where your guinea pigs are housed.
Essential oils that are considered somewhat safe for guinea pigs include:
Essential oils that are considered unsafe for guinea pigs and hamsters are:
- Tea tree
- Sweet Birch
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Last thoughts on whether essential oil diffusers are safe for guinea pigs.
Since the essential oil market largely remains unregulated, it is better to play it safe than be sorry. If you spot any unusual behavior or signs that she may be feeling off, get help. Look for a vet that has experience with ‘exotic’ animals. Locate a vet that knows how to treat guinea pigs in your area. Here is a useful link that may help you locate a vet in your area:
Scotty’s Animals for a guinea pig vet list
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Cautionary note and disclaimer: Sunny Life Mag is a digital magazine for entertainment. The articles published are not here to diagnose or treat any health or medical conditions. Not any of these statements have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The content of the articles and the products recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health issue in humans or animals. The intention is also not to imply that essential oils heal or cure. Please consult a veterinarian knowledgeable in using essential oils when sharing your home with pets.
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