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Essential Oils and Guinea Pigs: Are Essential Oils Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Essential Oils and Guinea Pigs: Are Essential Oils Safe for Guinea Pigs?

Essential oils have been widely used as a home remedy for a lot of diseases among us. Right from nasal congestion, muscle aches, anxiety, and other skin diseases can all be treated with various essential oils. But are essential oils safe for guinea pigs? Can you use them around your guinea pigs?

As a general rule, essential oils should not be used around your guinea pigs. Most essential oils are toxic for your guinea pigs and should be entirely avoided. You should not apply any pure essential oil topically or orally to your guinea pigs, as it can be life-threatening for them.

The largest danger comes from newbie owners who use highly concentrated essential oils to keep fleas or smell away from guinea pigs.

The strong smell from these oils can affect the respiratory system of your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs can have breathing problems and other severe respiratory issues if kept in the strong smell for an extended period of time.

are scented candles bad for guinea pigs

Are essential oil diffusers safe for guinea pigs?

No, essential oil diffusers are not safe for your guinea pigs. Active diffusers should be avoided entirely as the oil diffused from them can settle over your guinea pig’s fur, which can be ingested when your guinea pigs groom themselves.

Some traces of these oils can also get absorbed via the skin, which can cause some skin diseases among your guinea pigs.

Even passive diffusers are not the best choice for your guinea pigs as guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell compared to us.

It is said that they can smell ten times better than us. If the scent of essential oil is mild for you, then the same will be overwhelming for your guinea pigs; thus, using essential oil diffusers around your guinea pigs can harm your guinea pig’s health.

So that means you cannot use essential oil diffusers in your home at all?

Yes, you can use essential oil diffusers in your home. However, make sure you don’t use it in the same room your guinea pig is housed in.

You also need to ensure that the windows of the room you are infusing the oils are open, and there are no drafts that can pass the smell of oil towards your guinea pigs.

I would recommend using passive diffusers in the other parts of the house away from guinea pigs. However, only do so if it is necessary. It is best to avoid using any essential oil at your home to be on the safe side.

What essential oils are bad for guinea pigs?

What essential oils are toxic to guinea pigs

You must consult your veterinarian before using any essential oils around your home, especially if you own a pet like guinea pigs.

Some essential oils are very toxic for your guinea pigs. These include:

  • Pine
  • Ylang ylang
  • Citrus
  • Peppermint
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Tea tree(Most toxic)
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Cedar
  • Juniper
  • Garlic
  • Anise

What essential oils are safe for guinea pigs?

There are some oils that you can use by passive diffuser around other parts of your home. Although avoid using it where your guinea pigs are housed.

Essential oils that are considered somewhat safe for guinea pigs include:

  • Rose
  • Lavender
  • Neroli
  • Vetiver
  • Violet Leaf
  • Lemongrass
  • Linden Blossom
  • Chamomile
  • Frankincense

Can essential oils hurt guinea pigs?

Essential Oils Harmful to Pets?!

Yes, essential oils can hurt guinea pigs if you use them around your guinea pigs. Guinea pigs have a strong sense of smell, and using essential oils around your guinea pigs can cause breathing problems and other respiratory issues among them.

If, by any means, your guinea pig ends up ingesting the oil, then it can cause further damage to their body, and in some cases, it can even be life-threatening for your guinea pigs.

Can I use scented candles instead? are scented candles bad for guinea pigs?

Yes, you can occasionally use scented candles, but it is not wise to use them regularly. Always make sure there is enough ventilation in the room where you are using these candles.

When burned, paraffin wax can release toxic compounds, including acetone, benzene, and toluene, which are bad for your guinea pig’s health. These chemicals are known to cause allergies and skin problems among guinea pigs.

Picture Credits: Freddie, Instagram Handle: Mr.Freddie.guineapig

Also, remember to use a pet-friendly brand of candles only to be extra cautious about your guinea pig’s health. Always burn candles at a safe distance from guinea pigs.

What are the symptoms of poisoning in guinea pigs?

If you didn’t know and have already used some essential oil near your guinea pigs, then I would recommend you to watch your guinea pig’s health closely.

Stay alert for any behavior change in guinea pigs. Some common symptoms of essential-oil poisoning in guinea pigs are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Watery nose & eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Redness of Lips or skin
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Coughing
  • Panting
  • Wheezing
  • Tremors
  • Low body temperature
  • Lethargy
  • not eating their regular diet

What should I do if my guinea pigs show these signs?

If your guinea pigs show any signs of poisoning, you must immediately make an appointment with the vet.

Now there are a few steps you can take to ensure your guinea pigs feel a little comfortable. Depending upon how your guinea pig came in contact with essential oils, you must do the following:

  • If they have breathed in the essential oil while diffusing, then immediately rush your guinea pigs to fresh air.
  • If the oil got in contact with their skin or fur, immediately wash their skin with a dishwashing liquid.
  • However, If they have somehow ingested the essential oil, then seek medical help immediately. You can also reach Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 or 855-764-7661 and ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435. You can expect to pay a fee between 59-69$ per consultation.
  • Please remember to take the oil with you while you go for medical help so that your doctor can check and treat your guinea pigs accordingly.

A quick tip: Having a first aid kit readily available with you can make a lot of difference in some critical instances like this one.

How can I get rid of a bad guinea pig smell from my house?

Many people wonder if they can use essential oil to get rid of the smell from the guinea pig’s cage, but it definitely is not the right decision to make.

The essential oil can make your guinea pigs sick and even be life-threatening to them in some instances. The smell from the guinea pig’s cage is due to poor maintenance and improper care of your guinea pigs.

It has nothing to do with the guinea pig themselves. You can learn more about how to keep your guinea pigs clean and odor-free from this article:


To conclude, I would say essential oils and guinea pigs don’t do well hand-in-hand. You mustn’t bring any form of essential oil in contact with your guinea pigs.

Even if you passively diffuse a mild amount in the air, then do it on another side of your home away from the guinea pigs.

Guinea pigs are prone to any fumes, including the strong smell of essential oil. Prolonged exposure can be fatal for your guinea pigs and may harm their health.

As a guinea pig owner, I recommend you to stay very cautious and keep your guinea pigs safe and healthy.

Sources: Essential Oil Safety, Aromatherapy, Toxicity of melaleuca oil and related essential oils, ASPCA, CBC, Article by Dr. Melissa Shelton

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