Can Essential Oil Diffusers Harm Birds? What Bird Owners Must Know

essential oil diffusers and pet birds


You are probably wondering if you have an essential oil diffuser in your home is it safe to use if you have a pet bird? You can use an essential oil diffuser in your home safely with a pet bird. Essential oil diffusers are safe for birds and don’t adversely affect them the way aerosol sprays can. One exception is not to ever use Tea Tree Oil because it can be toxic for birds and pets.  It’s a wise idea to keep any sort of diffuser away from your bird’s cage as well.




There Are Three Main Reasons That Electric Oil Diffusers Are Safe For Birds:

  1. The fine mist that the diffuser produces is too small to harm a bird from far distances.
  2. They don’t produce any harmful chemicals   -They don’t release any harmful particles into the air (i.e. no second-hand smoke)
  3. Research shows that the diffuser is not harmful to birds  -Research has shown that even if an essential oil can potentially cause harm, it requires several hundred times the amount of essential oil in concentration before it becomes harmful.


cautious essential oil diffusers


What You Should Be Cautious Of When Using an Essential Oil Diffusers Around Your Pet Bird.

Essential oils can be safely used on your pet bird. They have the potential to be toxic to birds if ingested, but exposure through inhalation should not be a problem. The intake of essential oils through the lining of the bird’s digestive tract is negligible and therefore, any potential negative effects will be greatly diminished.

By far the most likely reason diffusers may cause harm is if an essential oil is burned and ingested. A large majority of essential oils are not toxic to birds when ingested in small amounts, but once consumed in large amounts, they have caused death in birds.

Caution should always be used when using any oil product that can cause harm to your bird. A diffuser is just a little different because it produces very small amounts of essential oil that are safe for birds. Of course, the same precautions should be taken when using a diffuser in your home that you would when using it in your car, but there are other potential dangers to consider as well.


essential oil diffusers react to birds


How Essential Oil Diffusers Work and React To Birds

The way diffusers work is by passing a stream of water through an essential oil blend. The super-fine mist that is created contains the therapeutic properties of the oils but because of its small particle size, it is much safer for a bird than an oil burner or candle burning.

While diffusers do not harm birds directly, they can pose dangers to a bird’s well-being if used in a home where an unattended pet bird is left alone. Birds should never be left alone in an area with a diffuser unless the diffuser is turned off and there are no strong essential oils being used in the blend that could harm your bird.



Staying Away From Poor Quality Essential Oils

When essential oils are produced, they are not always perfectly pure. When a plant is distilled, the root or bark may contain pesticides, bacteria, or any other toxins that were around when the plant was grown and harvested. Most of the time there will be trace elements of these impurities present within your favorite essential oil blend. Many people with pets have been shocked to find out that their beloved dog or cat has been harmed by an essential oil that contains chemicals that can potentially be harmful to animals.

It is important that you always use safe essential oils around your pet birds. Safe essential oils do not contain chemicals or additives that could harm your bird. I have personally tried many of the natural and organic blends on the market and have not found one yet that will harm a bird. I have also talked to other pet owners who have told me that they use essential oils on their birds, but only if they are pure and contain no chemicals or additives.


always read the labels on essential oils


To Be Safe Always Read The Labels On Essential Oils When Concerned About The Well Being of Your Pet Bird.

You need to pay attention to the warning labels on all products containing essential oils. If you notice anything in the warning label that is not safe for your pet, you need to keep the product out of your bird’s reach. This includes the diffuser as well. If you see warning labels with words like “harmful if ingested” don’t use the product around your bird or any pets and be sure to always keep them on a high shelf and out of reach from curious pets.

It is possible that essential oil can be poisonous to your bird. It is very rare for essential oils to contain chemicals that are toxic to birds, but it is possible. I have seen catnip oil and indigo oil (found in sachets used for treating depression) that could potentially be harmful if ingested by a bird.

There are some essential oils on the market that you should take caution with. The best way to find out if your preferred essential oil blend contains chemicals or additives is by contacting the company themselves. If they do not know, then don’t give it to your bird.

Remember, there is a potentially harmful chemical in just about everything in our everyday lives. If you are paranoid about using essential oils around your bird, you might as well stop using shampoo on your pet and avoid taking him outside as well but as the old saying goes, always throw caution to the wind.

The best way of determining what is safe to use around your pets is by carefully reading the warning label on all essential oils that you plan on using for therapeutic reasons. Do not trust your own common sense and intuition on this one. Many people have been shocked to learn that they had been using essential oils for years without even knowing it. You can always request to see a certificate of analysis before you do business with an essential oil vendor.

The following essential oils are safe to use around your pet bird in an oil diffuser:

  • Lavender essential oil

  • Lemon essential oil

  • Orange essential oil

  • Frankincense essential oil

  • Peppermint essential oil

  • Ylang ylang essential oil

  • Grapefruit essential oil

  • Helichrysum essential oil

  • Oregano essential oil

  • Cedarwood essential oil



dangerous essential oil to use around birds and pets


The Most Dangerous Essential Oil To Use Around Birds and Pets Is Tea Tree Oil

One type of essential oil that you should always keep away from birds and any pet is tea tree essential oils. Tea tree oils can be toxic to your bird if ingested and should be kept out of reach from all animals, especially birds. If you are using a Tea tree scent blend for your diffuser, you might want to reconsider if you have a pet bird or even a dog or cat.

Tea tree oil is toxic to birds because the oils that give the buds their scent contain toxic chemicals called furanocoumarins and can cause paralysis with high dosages. These chemicals can be absorbed through the body or respiratory system of your per bird and may even travel into the bloodstream.

Always be aware that tea tree oils can be harmful to your pet birds if ingested.


The Best Essential Oils For Your Pet Bird

Other essential oils emitted from your diffuser your bird may enjoy and may even make him feel better are geranium, lavender, and lemon oils. These oils should be used with caution as well and are not safe for your bird if they are highly concentrated. The recommended concentration for animals, in general, is one drop per liter and you should always you high-quality spring water or reverse osmosis water for dilution.

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and how to use them safely in your home, there is a great resource available from the Society for the Study of Essential Oils. It is called “The Handbook on Essential Oils” by Nicholas A. Ballota, MD Ph.D. (2006).

This book gives a complete rundown on numerous studies of essential oils as well as how to use them safely.

It is a great reference to have on hand when you are using oils around your birds.

essential oils for your bird's well being


How To Use Essential Oils For Your Bird’s Well Being

When you are first getting started with essential oils, it may be easy to think that you need all different types of oils for all different purposes. This is definitely not the case. There is no need to buy several different types of the same oil if just one variety will do the trick. It is also not necessary to have a big collection of essential oils right off the bat.

You may very easily develop a ton of different blends that are great for your birds!

Blends or single essential oils can be used in the following ways:

  • Spraying – Essential oils can be added to water in a spray bottle and sprayed on your bird’s favorite perch, on his cage bars or on his toys.

You should be cautious of spraying the bird’s feathers because The spraying of oils onto a bird’s feathers could cause the bird to barb, chew and/or pluck their feathers and may prevent the bird from properly preening its feathers.

  • Adding essential oils to the bottom of the bird’s cage is also not a good idea or having the oil diffuser too close to your bird’s habitat.

Birds have very sensitive lungs that can be harmed by smoke and oil droplets in the air. It is especially dangerous to use an oil diffuser near the bird’s cage because it will not be able to move away if the essential oil is too strong or if it develops trouble breathing.



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