Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils Around Birds

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils Around Birds

Last Updated on March 18, 2024 by Pegura Chad

For hundreds of years, humans have been using essential oils for medicinal purposes. It has only been in recent years that a handful of holistic veterinarians have been incorporating essential oils into the treatment of animals. Though there have been many studies on the effects of essential oils in treating the mind and body of people, the studies regarding the effects on animals are few and far between.

Holistic Care in Bird Treatment

Most of the material that discusses the use of essential oils on or around birds are written by veterinarians who have taken a holistic approach to animal care. Some vets specialize in working with birds and have additional education in the safety or use of essential oils around them. There are cases of vets who have had phenomenal success in treating birds with essential oils, such as the case of Emmett the Parrot.

The Story of Emmett the Parrot

Emmett was very ill with wart-like tumors throughout his body and was near death when his vet began treating him with essential oils. Dr. Melissa Shelton had recently began using essential oils to treat warts on her spouse and thought that they could work to improve Emmett’s situation.

Dr. Shelton realized that birds in the wild eat leaves, fruits, and flowers that are the source of pure essential oils. For example, if a bird eats the rind of an orange, they’re bound to capture and ingest the essential oil that comes from the rind.

After treating Emmett for a brief period of time, the tumors began to shrink. Not only did this parrot look better, but he also began to act like a new bird; playing, preening, and even leaving his cage.

The essential oils that she used on Emmett, as well as a few other birds in her care, were:

  • Frankincense
  • Lemon
  • Clove
  • Copaiba
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Orange

It is not suggested that you apply essential oils to your bird, or let them ingest essential oils, unless under the guidance and care of a specialist.

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils Around Birds

Recent Concerns of Essential Oil Use on Pets

With so much concern about essential oil use on and around pets in recent years, people have been hesitant to even diffuse in a home that has a pet. But the research supporting these dangers has been limited. Veterinarians like Dr. Shelton and others have been using essential oils in pet therapy for several years and have the evidence to show the positive effects.

When diffusing around her cats, she did the appropriate blood work to ensure that her kitties were not experiencing adverse effects. She even treated a cat named Cowboy with essential oils that were ingested and was amazed to see how his blood panels came back excellent each time he was screened. The essential oil treatment improved his illness with no adverse effects.

Dr. Shelton expresses that the quality of the essential oil is paramount to success. Low-grade or synthetic oils do not have the same positive effect.

Essential Oil Use in The Home

Essential oils are used by many people on a daily basis for a general sense of wellbeing. They can improve mood, relax the soul, and work to ease many physical ailments.

For these reasons, and more, many people use essential oils through their homes on a regular basis.

Using Essential Oils in Your Home Around Your Bird

If you are using essential oils around your bird, be sure you purchase them from a trusted source. The respiratory system of a bird is highly sensitive to synthetic and artificially scented products, so it is imperative that you choose essential oils that are of pure grade. If diffusing, it is recommended that oils are diffused without the use of heat, so choose an essential oil diffuser that does not use heat. To understand what essential oils are the safest, and which should be avoided, use the following as a guideline:

Avoid using these essential oils around your bird:

  • Tea tree
  • Peppermint
  • Tree oils such as – Eucalyptus, Arborvitae, Pine
  • Hot oils such as – Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano
  • Citronella

These essential oils are generally safe to use around your bird:

  • Floral oils such as – Geranium, lavender, ylang-ylang, rose, jasmine
  • Citrus oils such as – Orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, bergamot
  • Frankincense

If you have any questions or concerns about using essential oils around your birds, speak with your veterinarian.

Pin It!

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils Around Birds

Similar Posts


  1. I have a mist essential oil diffuser that i want to use. but my question is can I use it in the same room as my cockatiel if it is at least 15 feet away from and the room is about 25 by 25

    1. No, not without knowing EXACTLY what’s in the oil (real, artificial? base oils?) and knowing if your birds species as well as your particular bird has a sensitivity to it.
      To say ANY essential oil is SAFE is wreckless. Tho all birds may appear the same to some people there are vast differences between species! What may not hurt a Macaw may send a Cockatoo into seizures. What might not affect a Brush-tongue Lori may cause a Budgie to develope tumors.
      Each bird is as different as you and I as well. They may have latent heart or respiratory issues that could be triggered by essential oils.
      Most Avian vets have had limited training with birds at school. Their expertise comes from where they ‘intern’. All Vets are not ‘created equal’. Just because one tells you something is ‘Safe’ (especially if they are profiting by it) does not make it so.
      Think of it like this.. is your birds life worth having a specific scent in a room??

  2. I’m using lemon essential oil on will dryer balls. When not in use on the dryer, I leave them in the kitchen or living area just for the citrus smell. I have a parakeet and researched EO first.

  3. I accidentally discovered using lavender oil for caterpillars with stinging outer skin like full of prickly hairs and they make your skin go rashy and itchy severely – from now on I bring my lavender oil when I go camping or areas with bushes and heavy forests….

    It also erased my scars ….just my personal discovery anyway

  4. It’s also important to know that Birds absorb things through their skin, including their feet, so it’s imperative that we not have our Birds stand anywhere on our skin if we’ve put essential oils (even if they’re “okay” we don’t know what they’ve been adulterated with that’s not on the label), sunscreen, or to be safe anything on our skin. Even humans’ skin is sensitive. I’ll never forget my Botany Professor in college telling our class that the Ortho brand of pesticide is diluted to 1 drop of orthophospate within 10,000 drops of water and if one undiluted droplet—not even an entire eyedropperful—of orthophosphate were to be applied anywhere on our skin we would be dead within two minutes. Never forget that your skin is also an organ. And with Bird’s metabolisms being about 98% efficient (meaning they absorb toxins much more readily than we do) and ours being about 86% they are much more fragile than we are in addition to being much smaller. For example, if you overheat a teflon (or Silverstone or by any other brand name coated kitchenware) pan on the stove, the neurotoxins, albeit invisible and odorless, will kill your Parrot within seconds.

  5. I don’t have a bird, but my grandkids do. They don’t know anything about oils. I pinned this so I can explain to them how to keep their feathered friend happy and healthy! Thank you for sharing!

  6. I use my oils around my 3 year old cat and 10 month old puppy and haven’t ever noticed a problem. But, I never thought about birds. Good Information to know about it! Thanks for sharing!!

  7. It is a shame that so many people avoid EO’s around their non-human family members. With some careful research on which ones to avoid, EO’s can have a huge positive impact on them. Thanks for helping to provide info to this end.

Leave a Reply