Can We Use Essential Oils Around Ferrets Or Are They Toxic?


Are essential oils harmful to ferrets?

Can you use them around ferrets?

Essential oils are a great way to make your home smell nice and fresh, but are they healthy? How much do we really know about them and how can they affect our pets like cats or ferrets? But, before I tackle the ferret essential oil topic, let’s find out more about essential oils.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EO) are compounds we extract from different plants. Those compounds are the plant’s scent and flavor we can later smell in the essential oil. We can make an essential oil by steam or water distillation or cold pressing. In that process, the aromatic chemicals are freed and then we combine them with oil to get the final result – the essential oil.

essential oil ferret

Some of the most popular essential oils are peppermint, sandalwood, lavender, rose, chamomile, jasmine, lemon, etc. Most people use them in their homes to reduce a certain smell or to freshen up a certain room.

How Can We Use Essential Oils?

Most essential oils are used to “uplift” the air in the room. That means we put them in a diffuser that gradually disperses a certain smell around the room. Essential oils are then spread through the air in the room and they stay in the air for a long time. Besides that, essential oils can be used to massage a person’s body for relaxation, aromatherapy to reduce stress and anxiety, as a part of natural cosmetics, etc.

How Can We Use Essential Oils

How Do Essential Oils Affect Ferrets?

Ferrets have a certain smell and there are people who don’t like it. So, it is a good idea to know how to reduce a ferret smell, but it is also very important to know not to use essential oils for that. Essential oils are actually harmful to ferrets. They aren’t the only pets that shouldn’t be around them, the same story is with cats.

Why Are Essential Oils Harmful To Ferrets?

Essential are toxic to ferrets and cats and they shouldn’t come near them or be in the room where you use essential oils. You mustn’t give your ferret essential oil in any way or form. That means no drinking, no eating, no licking (you mustn’t do that too),  no inhaling, nothing. Long exposure to essential oils can cause medical problems to the ferret.

Why Are Essential Oils Harmful To Ferrets

Ferrets and cats are very specific when it comes to essential oils. They simply can’t metabolize essential oils phenols. That means that over a certain amount of time surrounded by essential oils, ferret’s liver soak phenols they can’t metabolize. Phenols stay in the liver and, with time, they can reach toxic levels. When that happens, a ferret can experience serious medical issues like organ failure, even death.

What Are Symptoms Of EO Exposure?

There are a few symptoms that can tell you your ferret has a toxic level of EO phenols in his body. The bad thing is that we can’t say when it can or how it will manifest because it depends on the exposure, type of oils, and many other factors. If you doubt that your ferret is feeling ill due to essential oils in your home, contact the veterinarian and set up a ferret checkup.


  • watery nose and eyes
  • drooling
  • tremors
  • vomiting
  • respiratory difficulties
  • low heart rate and body temperature
  • wobbliness
  • liver failure
  • death

Which Products Should You Avoid?

Now, this is the tricky part. The best scenario is to avoid every product that comes with essential oils. The bad thing is that we can find essential oils in many different products. Most products that are made to freshen up your home come with essential oils. That means you shouldn’t use candles, wax melts, room sprays or any other diffuser, electric air freshener, etc.

essential oils

But, the story doesn’t end here. There are certain body products that contain essential oils too. Some lotions, creams, perfumes, etc are also infused with essential oils. In this case, the most important thing you can do is stop your ferret from licking you right after you’ve put the lotion (or any other body product) on you.

Can You Make Your Own Safe Essential Oil?

There is no such thing as a “safe essential oil” when it comes to ferrets. If you use a plant and it reacts with the oil, you will get an essential oil. The only way not to produce essential oils is to remove every type of oil from the equation. If you want to try to produce a certain smell, you have to use water instead of oil.

Can You Make Your Own Safe Essential Oil


Essential oils are a great way to make your home smell better, but this is not the only way for it. Since essential oils are harmful not only to ferrets but cats too, it is a smart move to minimize their usage in rooms those pets live. There are healthier alternatives that don’t contain a combination of plants and oils and they are a much better solution in this situation. Do you use some products with essential oils? Share your experience with us in the comments section below this article!

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Anja Delic
Anja is a Friendly Ferret owner and a ferret parent who is involved in the ferret world for more than 10 years. She started her Friendly Ferret blog when she got her first ferret Frida 8 years ago. In 2013, Friendly Ferret was recognized as a great source of information and it has become a good ferret brand for education, products, and fun. Since then, Anja was a part in many ferrets shows as a sponsor and as a judge, and she met many great and interesting people who share the same passion as her - ferrets. Anja is always opened for suggestions and advice, so if you have something to ask or say about ferrets, feel free to contact her on Instagram, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter or