Shared Blog Post – Veterinary toxicology alert: Oils used in ‘scent training’ can harm dogs

People that know me have learned that I am a fan of using natural remedies whenever possible; however, I also always tell people that “natural” does not mean something is safe.

One of the natural remedies I have used with myself are essential oils. I have recently started studying their use with animals and in that process have learned that Birch is one of the oils that is not safe for use with pets. That caused me to take notice as I have friends who do canine nosework and it is my understanding that Birch is one of the first scents that they are trained to find. Today I asked some of those friends if they knew why Birch was selected and if they had heard anything about potential issues with Birch, and they had not.

I decided to do some research on Google and found an article on DVM360 from May of 2014 entitled “Veterinary toxicology alert: Oils used in ‘scent training’ can harm dogs.” The lead paragraph of this article states “Michigan State researchers confirm toxicity of birch oil, warn that nontoxic scents may lead pets to food sources with xylitol.”

If you use the essential oil Birch for yourself or other family members and have pets, or if you do canine nosework and use Birch, I would encourage you to read this article.

The web site lists the following essential oils as unsafe for use with dogs; Anise, Birch, Camphor, Cassia, Clove leaf and bud, Hissop, Horseradish,  Juniper Wood, Mustard, Pennyroyal, Rue, Tansy, White Thyme, Wintergreen, Yarrow, and Wormwood.

Essential oils have many wonderful health properties, but please make sure you talk to your pet’s veterinarian before using them.