December 2, 2023
what should you know about essential oils for guinea pigs?Are Essential Oils Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Are Essential Oils Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Essential oils have entered our households, from diffusers to products and even candles. But are essential oils safe for guinea pigs?

The truth is that most essential oils are very toxic to guinea pigs. The aroma in these oils is very strong and will almost certainly cause allergies and respiratory issues. Not only that, but certain ingredients such as tea tree oil can be toxic and sometimes nearly deadly for guinea pigs.

So, what should you know about essential oils for guinea pigs? Are they safe? And which oils should you avoid? Here’s our definitive guide on guinea pigs and essential oils.

What To Know About Essential Oils For Guinea Pigs?

Essential oils are extracts from certain items containing those items’ scents. For instance, peppermint essential oil has a peppermint scent and is used to give anything that scent.

Are essential oils safe for guinea pigs? Firstly, essential oils are more often than not very concentrated. Hence, the fumes can be very irritating even to humans. The respiratory tract of guinea pigs can become agitated, and they may quickly develop an allergy.

Secondly, the content of the essential oil can be anywhere from irritating to downright deadly. Onion, for instance, is very toxic for guinea pigs. Lavender, on the other hand, has been proven to be a soothing scent. Though that too should be given in moderation.

Essential Oil Diffusers Effects On Guinea Pigs:

What about essential oil diffusers? Are these safe for guinea pigs? Well, as it turns out, you should follow the same rules when using essential oil diffusers. Diffusers help disperse the scent and may even dilute it a bit. But the smell can still irritate your guinea pig’s respiratory system, especially if it’s toxic to them.

Here are some common essential oils that you can use in a diffuser:

  • Lavender.
  • Chamomile.
  • Vetiver.
  • Neroli.
  • Rose.
  • Lemongrass.
  • Frankincense.

Additionally, you should use passive diffusers as these dilute the scent and evaporate it thoroughly.

But the better option would be to avoid such diffusers entirely. If you have to use them, only use cavy-safe scents and keep your piggies as far away from the diffuser as possible.

List Of Toxic Essential Oils For Guinea Pigs:

What essential oils are toxic for guinea pigs? All essential oils can become toxic and harmful if you use them too much. It’s best to avoid essential oils and diffusers in the same room as your guinea pigs.

However, there are some that you should be especially wary of. These include:

  • Pine.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Eucalyptus.
  • Ylang-ylang.
  • Peppermint.
  • Tea tree (the most toxic essential oil).
  • Thyme.
  • Citrus.
  • Clove.
  • Oregano.
  • Juniper.
  • Cedar.
  • Garlic.
  • Anise.

Tea tree oil is by far the most toxic for any pet. It contains harmful chemicals that will require a trip to the vet immediately. Hence, avoid tea tree oil entirely in your home.

Garlic and peppermint should also be avoided as these scents can be very toxic. Even when ingested in their edible forms, they are very toxic to guinea pigs.

What Essential Oils Are Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Although it’s always best to avoid essential oils, some are safer for guinea pigs. The most commonly acclaimed one is lavender. Lavender essential oil is perfectly safe for guinea pigs, albeit in moderation. Ideally, use a passive diffuser in a well-ventilated room or a room separate from your guinea pigs. The best part is that your guinea pig can also eat lavender (not in its essential oil form).

Other compounds that are safe for guinea pigs include:

  • Neroli.
  • Vetiver.
  • Rose.
  • Linden Blossom.
  • Chamomile.
  • Frankincense.
  • Violet leaf.
  • Lemongrass.

Again, these should only be used in moderation and not near the guinea pigs’ location. These are safe scents when the aroma’s strength is not too much. Do not apply the oil topically or administer it orally to your cavies.

How To Tell If Your Guinea Pig Is Sensitive To Essential Oils Smell?

If you fear that essential oils have poisoned your guinea pig, look out for the following symptoms:

  • Watery nose and eyes.
  • Difficulty in breathing.
  • Coughing and panting.
  • Wheezing.
  • Fatigue and lethargy.
  • Weakness.
  • Red lips and skin.
  • Tremors.
  • Not intaking their regular diet.
  • Low body temperature.

If these symptoms are apparent in your guinea pigs, rush to the vet immediately. Give them fresh air to breathe while on the way. If the essential oil has made contact with their skin or fur, wash the skin right away with dishwashing liquid.

Get to the vet immediately if your guinea pig has ingested the essential oil. Then, contact Pet Poison Helpline to learn how to administer first-aid. Also, note what essential oil the pet has come into contact with.

Are Scented Candles Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Scented candles are not safe for the same reasons that essential oils aren’t. These candles use essential oils. If you use the wrong essential oil in the incorrect quantity, your guinea pig’s health could be seriously affected.

But that’s not all. Candles are made of paraffin wax. And when you burn said wax, some very toxic compounds are released. The main culprit here is acetone. But benzene and toluene are equally culpable for making your pet sick. These compounds also cause allergies and skin problems. Hence, it’s best to avoid them.


Is Orange Essential Oil Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Orange comes under the heading of citrus essential oils. So, you need to fully avoid it. Refrain from essential oils of oranges, other citrus fruits, and scented candles.

Is Lavender Safe For Guinea Pigs?

Yes, lavender is safe for consumption by guinea pigs, and guinea pigs can also smell its essential oil. However, do not let them touch or eat it. And do not have the essential oil close to the piggies. Instead, keep the oil in a different room with plenty of ventilation.

Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Guinea Pigs?

No. Peppermint is very irritating and will most likely cause allergies and respiratory issues. On the other hand, it’s a good way to keep mice and rats out. But do not use it in the same room as your cavies.

Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Guinea Pigs?

No, any citrus essential o0il is not safe for guinea pigs. Such oils should be avoided entirely and not be inhaled by guinea pigs.


Essential oils make up the very heart of perfumery and scented items. And many people love to have essential oil diffusers in their houses. However, while essential oils may seem safe for humans, they are certainly not for your guinea pigs.

Essential oils are more or less toxic to your cavies. These oils have powerful aromas, which lead to allergies and other respiratory issues. Furthermore, essential oils may contain certain toxic ingredients to your guinea pig.

Hence, always use a passive diffuser in another room and open the windows. Then, take your pet to the vet if any signs of poisoning show up.

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