Dog Poisoned by the Diffuser

Saturday night I got home late and my dog didn't recognize me. Being a nanny I thought I woke him up and he was having a night terror. Sunday, he was still acting weird. I realized that I had been running my new diffuser and decided to turn it off. Sunday afternoon, he was feeling better.

Today at work, my dog sitter said that he wouldn't come out from under the bed. It was very odd as he is a happy dog.

I came from work early and again, he was very confused about who I was.

So I took him to emergency vet.

It turns out that the tea tree oil I was using in the diffuser is toxic for dogs. 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.

The vet and the poison control are saying that they see these cases often now that the popularity of essential oil is growing.

Please make sure that the essential oils you are burning are not toxic for your pets.

Here is a list of essential oils not to use if you have a dog at home

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Birch (Betula)

Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)

Boldo (Peumus boldus)

Calamus (Acorus calamus)

Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)

Cassia (Cassia fistula)

Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)

Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)

Garlic (Allium sativum)

Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)

Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)

Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)

Mustard (Brassica juncea)

Oregano (Origanum vulgare)

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Red or White Thyme

Rue (Ruta graveolens)

Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Savory (Satureja)

Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)

Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)

Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)

Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

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by Staff


Veterinary toxicologist's warning, photos, descriptions of common landscaping and indoor plants dangerous to children and pets, plus Poison Control hotline phone number.


You would never allow a three-year old child unsupervised access to the yard or garden but it's not uncommon for dogs, particularly puppies, to be poisoned by plants in your own yard!  Veterinary toxicologist Dr. Safdar Khan warns that many plants "have the potential to cause serious, even fatal systemic effects when ingested.”  The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (phone number below) lists the five most potentially dangerous plants to pets. has added photos to help you recognize potentially toxic plants. We suggest you  print this page  and save it in your pet's records folder or notebook so you can find it if you ever suspect your dog has been poisoned.


Click on plant photos to enlarge, photos open in window, close window to return here


Lilies are beautiful but dangerous to children and petsLILIES, rank number one in dangerous plant can volume at the APCC, and are highly toxic to cats. Says Khan, “It is clear that even with ingestions of very small amounts, severe kidney damage could result.” An owner in Pennsylvania lost her cat to kidney failure from ingesting only a small portion of an Easter lily. Lilies are beautiful but dangerous plants!Peace Lily (right) can cause mouth ulcers, vomiting and diarrhea.


Toxic Azaleas are very popular in the south.AZALEAS, indigenous to many eastern and western states and commonly used in landscaping, contain substances that can produce vomiting, drooling, diarrhea, weakness, and central nervous system depression. Severe cases could lead to death from cardiovascular collapse. Enjoy the colorful hardy Azalea but limit use to restricted areas.


* Frequently used as an ornamental plant, OLEANDER contains toxic components that can cause irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, hypothermia, and potentially severe cardiac problems. The stunning white flowers belie this plant's toxicity. It may be best for front yards where children and pets do not play.


Sago Palm can be deadly to dogs* Also a popular ornamental plant, SAGO PALM, can potentially produce vomiting, diarrhea, depression, seizures, liver failure, and even death. One pit bull terrier in Florida became ill and subsequently died from liver failure after chewing on the leaves and base of a sago palm in his yard. Bull Terriers like to walk under the leaves (Bullies are funny that way) and although the trance-like behavior is not to be confused with a toxic reaction, they are best discouraged.


Castor Bean plants are a particularly dangerous plant because they are very attractive to pets and children* Although all parts of the CASTOR BEAN plant are dangerous, the seeds contain the highest concentration of toxins. Ingestion can produce significant abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness; in severe cases, dehydration, tremors, seizures, and even death could result.


If you suspect that your pet may have consumed one of these dangerous plants or any other potentially toxic substance - contact your veterinarian or in an emergency call 1-800-222-1222 the National Poison Control Center who will automatically connect you to their free service in your state. Depending on who answers, you may get quick, basic information for animal poisoning and it is 24-7.


Other Toxic Plants, Fruits & Vegetable Parts print this page

Aloe Vera


Apple (seeds)

Apple Leaf Croton

Apricot (pit)

Asparagus Fern

Autumn Crocus

Avacado (fruit & pit)


Baby's Breath

Bird of Paradise


Branching Ivy


Buddist Pine


Calla Lily

Castor Bean


Charming Dieffenbachia

Cherry -seeds & wilting leaves

Chinese Evergreen

Christmas Rose




Corn Plant

Cornstalk Plant


Cuban Laurel

Cutleaf Philodendron




Devil's Ivy


Dracaena Palm

Dragon Tree

Dumb Cane

Easter Lily (especially in cats!!!!)


Elephant Ears

Emerald Feather


English Ivy

Fiddle-leaf fig

Florida Beauty Foxglove

Fruit Salad Plant


German Ivy

Giant Dumb Cane

Glacier Ivy

Gold Dieffenbachia

Gold Dust Dracaena

Golden PothosHahn's self-Branching Ivy

Heartland Philodendron

Hurricane Plant

Indian Rubber Plant

Janet Craig Dracaena

Japanese Show Lily (especially cats !!!)

Jeusalem Cherry


Lacy Tree Philodendron

Lily of the Valley

Madagascar Dragon Tree

Marble Queen


Mexican Breadfruit

Miniature Croton


Morning Glory

Mother-in Law's Tongue


Needlepoint Ivy





Oriental Lily (especially cats)

Peace Lily

Peach (wilting leaves & pits)

Pencil Cactus

Plumosa Fern

Poinsettia (low toxicity)

Poison Ivy

Poison Oak


Precatory Bean

Red Emerald

Red Princess

Red-Margined Dracaena


Ribbon Plant

Saddle Leaf Philodendron

Sago Palm

Satin Pothos


Silver Pothos

Spotted Dumb Cane

String of Pearls

Striped Dracaena

Sweetheart Ivy

Swiss Cheese Plant

Taro Vine

Tiger Lily (especially cats!!!)

Tomato Plant (green fruit, stem & leaves)

Tree Philodendron

Tropic Snow Dieffenbachia

Weeping Fig Yew

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