What is Citrus Oil Toxicity?
Essential oils also contain citrus oil, which tend to be at concentrated levels due to their chemical potency. While the chemical substance is known to relieve various bodily issues for human beings, they can adversely affect your pet if ingested. If you regularly use essential oils, you may feel like using it on your pet too. However, this should be avoided at all cost, whether the label gives you permission to do so or not. Your dog will more than likely lick its paw and if you were to apply essential oils on the dog’s skin, it could result in possible toxicity as soon as it is ingested. It is important to seek help from a veterinarian if your dog’s skin has been exposed to citrus oil or if it has been accidentally ingested.
Citrus oils such as linalool and d-limonene contain insecticidal properties. When ingested by a dog, it metabolizes in the dog’s liver and causes toxicity, poisoning, liver failure or liver damage.
Book First Walk Free!
Symptoms of Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs
Exposure to linalool can result in severe symptoms that will last longer than exposure to d-limonene. If piperonyl butoxide is contained in the product used, then the toxicity of the citrus oil might be at an increased level. For puppies and young dogs that have liver disease, they tend to be more sensitive to citrus oil toxicity. Linalool and d-limonene are derivatives of citrus oils and are sometimes used in insect repellents, flea dips, flea sprays and flea dips. Many of them are marketed as being safe. The big problem here is that they are not.
If your pet suffers from citrus oil toxicity, some of the symptoms could include:
- Low blood pressure
- Smell of citrus to the skin
- Muscle tremors
- Difficulty in walking
- Pawing at the face or mouth
- Redness on gum, lips, skin or tongue
Citrus oil is often an ingredient in aromatherapy products, which are widely used in spas. However, many people are using them at home. If you are a pet owner, it is important to take care in how you store these products. You may not think that this product is dangerous to your pet, but citrus oil does indeed present a hazard. There are various types of products that contain citrus oil ingredients. These include:
- Flea control sprays
- Insect repellents
- Insecticidal sprays
- Perfume fragrances
- Food additives
- Liquid potpourri
- Food flavorings
- Herbal remedies
Causes of Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs
It only takes a few licks for citrus oil to harm your dog. A small amount getting on the skin can result in a similar risk. It all depends on the ingredients, the level of citrus oil, and the pet’s exposure to it. The two main causes involve:
- Licking the skin, which has been coated with essential oils containing citrus oil
- Sensitivity to products containing citrus oil
For older dogs, sensitivity to citrus oil products is high, especially when at concentrated levels. It can actually cause coma, seizures or even death. For that reason, it should definitely be avoided.
Diagnosis of Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs
If your dog has ingested citrus oil, see a veterinarian. Gastric lavage and activated charcoal will be administered to purge the stomach. The dog’s fur will be washed with water to prevent dermal exposure. The veterinarian will perform quick and aggressive treatment to prevent high levels of toxicity from developing. If there are clinical signs, the veterinarian will perform treatment based on those particular signs and symptoms.
Treatment of Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs
The veterinarian will order blood work, especially if she feels the kidneys and liver have been adversely affected. IV fluids will be administered to hydrate the body. A feeding tube and soft food might be necessary, if the esophagus and mouth of your pet have suffered chemical burns.
The veterinarian could also use other treatments, depending on the symptoms. This could include pain medication, anti-ulcer medication, and antibiotics. The veterinarian could also prescribe drugs to protect the liver, kidney and stomach.
Recovery of Citrus Oil Toxicity in Dogs
Recovery will depend on the type of citrus oil that your dog has ingested. It will also depend on the amount and the level of toxicity. Keep products with citrus oil locked away in a safe place. Don’t use essential oils on your dog unless you consult with your veterinarian. Never leave a container with essential oils open. Early detection and early treatment will help to speed up recovery. However, supportive treatment is important and it is the responsibility of the pet owner to ensure follow up treatment. Keep your dog hydrated and warm.