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Is Grapefruit Essential Oil Safe for Dogs, Cats & Other Animals?

Essential oils smell great and have several commendable benefits for your or your pet’s health. While you can tell when you don’t like essential oil, our furry ones, unfortunately, can’t.

Despite the perks, not all essential oils are safe, and knowing whether they are is essential for pet parents.

Is grapefruit essential oil safe for dogs?

Grapefruit essential oil can be toxic to dogs, especially puppies if ingested, licked, or inhaled in larger amounts. Since grapefruit is one of the oils belonging to the citrus oil family, the essential oil can cause mild to severe health problems in dogs due to the oil’s chemical potency.

The slightly orange-colored grapefruit essential oil, obtained through the cold pressing process, is considered to be one of the oils from the citrus family.

The particular reason that we mention its link to citrus oil, is because how citrus oil and essential oils having citrus properties are labeled to be unsafe to be used around dogs.

Although many adult dogs are tolerant to low doses of grapefruit essential oil, it is not wise to use the oil, even in the diffuser form in front of your pet.

While younger pups are more likely to exhibit symptoms of toxicity far more than adult dogs, it can still be harmful to bigger dogs if they, by chance, ingest grapefruit essential oil. It could take a few licks before they are affected by the essential oil’s composition.

In the case of grapefruit, although the citrus content is low, there still may be scope for your furry friend to face of vomiting, stomach issues, or even drooling.

More ingestion of the oil could further cause more serious health risks, from gastronomical issues to nervous system irregularities.

Grapefruit essential oil diffuser can be used only in small amounts, and in diluted form and that too, in a well-ventilated area where the dog has space to leave the room, although we would always say nothing is worth taking the risk if it’s about your little puppy!

Moreover, being a pet parent, it is a better idea to use other benefit-able essential oil diffusers that are officially branded safe. This includes lavender, fennel, cardamom, spearmint, and many more.

It does not help that dogs are not fond of any citrus smell, making them avoid an area that has been infiltrated with a similar smell. Now that is all the more reason to not use grapefruit essential oil around your dog.

Can dogs smell grapefruit essential oil? Is grapefruit oil toxic to dogs?

Dogs cannot smell grapefruit essential oil. Besides it cam be considered toxic for them. But why? Let’s get to know.

Citrus smell:

Grapefruit essential oils have what we call a citrusy smell. Although slightly tangy, the smell is also sweet.

As for dogs, dogs cannot smell grapefruit essential oil even when the oil is diffused in small amounts.

Strong smell:

In addition to that, you may be aware of how a dog’s sense of smell is one of the most potent making them smell anything from miles away.

More precisely, a dog’s olfactory receptors are numbered 30 million while ours is numbered 6 million.

A dog’s smell senses are so strong that they can smell diseases and viruses within a human body. Hence a dog can certainly smell grapefruit essential oil.

Allergic reaction:

Grapefruit oil may be toxic to dogs given its content of citrus oil in them. Not just that, essential oils belonging to the family of citrus oils are not safe for dogs particularly when ingested.

For puppies, grapefruit oil may possess fatal health risks even when the oil is diffused in small amounts. However, many factors like the amount of grapefruit oil used may affect how it affects a dog.

The dog’s health, age, allergies, and sensitivities also alter how toxic the oil can be for the dog. In closed spaces, a diffused grapefruit oil could be more harmful compared to a well-ventilated space.

Health issues:

The problem arises when a dog eats grapefruit essential oil. That’s when the toxicity of grapefruit essential oil releases several health problems ranging from mild to severe.

A dog that has eaten the essential oil may face weakness, drooling, nausea, vomiting, and other gastronomical problems.

If the dog has eaten more amounts, the dog may also face muscle tremors, hypothermia, depression, and weakness.

What to do if your dog eats grapefruit essential oil?

If your dog eats grapefruit essential oil, the first instinct that any pet parent should have is to see the nearest veterinarian.

When a dog ingests something that can be potentially toxic to the pet, the vet would suggest the most appropriate cure based on the diagnosis. They could use activated charcoal to get rid of the oil from the stomach.

Depending on how the signs and symptoms, they could also use gastric lavage for purging. It also helps when a dog is washed thoroughly so that it does not eat any more of the essential oil, from its paws, face, or fur.

Is grapefruit essential oil safe for cats?

Grapefruit essential oil is not at all safe for cats because the main ingredient, grapefruit contains a chemical compound called psoralen. Polaris, when inhaled, absorbed, or eaten by a cat can be fatal. Grapefruit essential oil can also cause vomiting, shaking, and liver failure if eaten by a cat.

Grapefruits are also known as Citrus paradisi and belong to the family of other citrus fruits like lemon, lime, or oranges.

 When it comes to essential oils, whether it is thyme, tea tree, or lavender, most are potentially unsafe for cats. Official bodies like CVMA have listed grapefruit essential oil as being toxic to cats among others.

Alarmingly, all parts of grapefruit are toxic to cats, whether it’s the peel or the seed. The essential oil is made from the peels of the grapefruits which means the oil contains psoralen.

Psoralen is an element that can cause symptoms like vomiting, weakness, diarrhea, and drooling even when inhaled by a cat. More serious symptoms of grapefruit essential oil poisoning could include liver failure or renal failure.

This does not mean that cats are allergic to grapefruit essential oil. The reaction is even more detrimental when grapefruit essential oil is diffused around a cat.

A cat’s skin is absorbent and would absorb or inhale the vapors of the essential oil. Because of their sensitive gastronomical system, a cat may even lose life if it eats any of that essential oil.

Moreover, some diffuser grapefruit essential oil may be mixed with other elements that can also harm a cat.

If you suspect that your cat’s health has been harmed by grapefruit essential oil, you may want to get the animal veterinary attention as soon as possible. It is important to be able to tell the vet when and how much oil your cat had ingested inside their body.

Can you use grapefruit oil for fleas and ticks on dogs & cats?

It is not safe for you to use grapefruit oil for fleas and ticks on dogs and cats. Some people apply essential oil on their pets so that bugs and fleas stay away from their furry bodies.

However, since dogs, and especially cats lick their paws and fur, there is a big risk that they might ingest some of the essential oil.

Since grapefruit essential oil is one of the citrus oils, not only is it unsafe but the smell is also undesirable for dogs and cats, which may make them uncomfortable

Moreover, such oils on the skin of pets can potentially irritate their skin. If the skin absorbs the oil, there may be more severe health risks for the pets.

Is grapefruit essential oil safe for other animals or pets?

Grapefruit essential oil is often used in homes for antibacterial effects, mood balance, or blood pressure regulation.

However, if there are pets around, you need to be careful of what you use. Here is whether grapefruit essential oil is safe for each of these animals:


Grapefruit essential oil is considered to be one of the most beneficial oils for birds. Use a diffusion method or water misting process to spread the oil around so you enjoy the plusses of the oil.


Like most other citrus oils, grapefruit oil is also safe to used around rabbits. 


Rats have a sensitive respiratory system and grapefruit essential oil can irritate their system terminally.


For deer, grapefruit essential oil is harmful if they ingest the oils.

Final thoughts

Grapefruit essential oil is a kind of citrus oil that is considered to be unsafe to be used around dogs, cats, or even rats. If ingested or absorbed into the skin of the animal, grapefruit oil can be fatal. However, the oil is good and safe to be used around rabbits or birds.