Is Cedar Safe Around Pets?

As a pet owner, you want nothing but the best for your furry companions. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that their living environment is safe and healthy. But when it comes to cedar, many pet owners are left wondering whether or not it’s safe for their pets. Cedar is a popular material used in various pet products such as bedding, toys, and even litter boxes.

Sure, the natural scent and antibacterial properties of cedar might be appealing to you as a pet owner. However, what you might not know is that cedar contains certain substances that can potentially harm your pets. For instance, the wood itself contains natural oils that can cause respiratory issues and skin irritation in pets – particularly cats. On the other hand, cedar products may also have an antifungal effect which makes them ideal for repelling fleas, ticks, and other pesky critters that could harm your pet’s health.

Before deciding whether or not to use cedar around your furry friends, it’s essential to weigh up the pros and cons. In this blog post, we’ll explore the question of whether or not cedar is genuinely safe for pets and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. So let’s delve into the world of cedar and discover if it truly is safe for our beloved pets.

What is Cedar?

Cedar – It’s not just a type of wood, it’s a natural wonder that has been prized for its beauty, durability, and insect-repelling properties for centuries. But what exactly is cedar?

Cedar comes from the cedar tree, native to many regions around the world. This wood is a favorite among carpenters and homeowners alike for its resilience in harsh weather conditions, making it perfect for outdoor furniture, decking, fencing, and siding. Not only is cedar practical and long-lasting, but it’s also naturally beautiful with its unique color and grain patterns.

However, cedar has another trick up its sleeve – its distinctive scent. The natural oils found in cedar emit a pleasant aroma that has made it a popular choice for lining closets and drawers or as an ingredient in potpourri and other home fragrances.

But while cedar may be safe for humans, there are concerns about its effects on pets. The essential oils in cedar wood contain phenols and aromatic hydrocarbons that can cause respiratory problems if pets inhale the scent or dust from the wood. Additionally, some cedar products contain chemicals like pesticides and preservatives that are toxic to pets if ingested or absorbed through the skin.

So what can pet owners do to protect their furry friends? Here are some tips:

  • Choose cedar products carefully: Make sure the product is kiln-dried and dust-free to minimize respiratory risks. Avoid using cedar bedding for cats and dogs as they spend most of their time lying on it and inhaling the scent.
  • Opt for alternative bedding materials: Consider using paper, hay or recycled paper pellets instead of cedar bedding.
  • Limit exposure: Keep pets away from areas where cedar is present to reduce the risk of accidental ingestion or inhalation.

Potential Health Risks of Cedar for Pets

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Cedar is a natural and lovely material that has a pleasant aroma and can repel insects. However, it can also pose significant health risks to your furry friends.

Firstly, cedar can have adverse effects on the respiratory system of pets. The aromatic oils in cedar emit a strong scent that can irritate the lungs, leading to coughing, wheezing, and even asthma attacks. This risk is particularly high for cats, who have a more delicate respiratory system compared to dogs.

Secondly, cedar can cause skin irritation in some pets. Direct contact with cedar bedding or shavings can lead to itching, redness, and hair loss. Your pets may also develop skin allergies from the oils in cedar.

Thirdly, cedar can also lead to digestive problems if ingested by pets. Small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs are at higher risk as they tend to nibble on everything in their environment. Ingesting cedar can result in vomiting and diarrhea.

To protect your pets from these potential health risks, consider using alternative bedding materials such as recycled paper or wood pulp that are safer for your furry friends. Additionally, monitor your pet’s behavior and health closely when using cedar products around them.

Respiratory Issues in Pets Caused by Cedar

Cedar, a common material used in pet bedding, litter boxes, and scratching posts, can pose a significant risk to your pet’s respiratory health. As an expert in this area, I am here to share crucial information on respiratory issues in pets caused by cedar.

Cedar may seem like a natural and safe choice for repelling insects and providing a pleasant scent. However, it contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can irritate your pet’s lungs when they inhale its aroma. This can lead to breathing difficulties, wheezing, coughing, and inflammation of the respiratory system. Cats are especially vulnerable to these issues as they have smaller lung capacity than dogs and humans.

Moreover, cats tend to groom themselves frequently, increasing their exposure to cedar dust and particles that can exacerbate respiratory problems. Therefore, it is essential to take precautions when using cedar products around your pets.

To protect your furry friends from the potential harm caused by cedar, consider using alternative materials such as recycled paper or wood shavings for their bedding and litter boxes. If you must use cedar products, ensure that they are kept in well-ventilated areas away from your pet’s sleeping and eating areas.

It is also crucial to monitor your pets for any signs of respiratory distress, such as wheezing or coughing. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek veterinary care immediately. Early intervention can help prevent serious health complications and ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

Pre-Existing Respiratory Conditions and Cedar

Choosing bedding materials can be a daunting task, especially if your pet has pre-existing respiratory conditions. Cedar bedding or shavings have become increasingly popular over the years due to their pleasant aroma and insect-repelling properties. But, is it safe for pets with respiratory issues? Let’s explore the research.

Cedar is a type of wood that contains natural oils emitting volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These VOCs can irritate the respiratory system of pets with pre-existing conditions like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), leading to breathing difficulties, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing. Moreover, particles from cedar bedding can cause inflammation in the lungs, triggering respiratory problems in pets.

To keep your pet’s respiratory health in check, it is best to avoid using cedar bedding or shavings altogether. Instead, consider using eco-friendly alternatives like paper-based or recycled materials that emit fewer VOCs and dust particles. Not only will this promote good respiratory health for your pet, but it also contributes to environmental conservation.

However, if you still choose to use cedar bedding or shavings for your pet, it is essential to monitor their health closely. Keep cedar products in well-ventilated areas away from your pet’s sleeping and eating spaces. If you notice any signs of respiratory distress such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing, discontinue the use of cedar bedding immediately and consult your veterinarian.

Chemical Treatments on Cedar Products

The use of chemical treatments on cedar products can potentially pose a danger to our furry friends. As an expert in this field, I am here to provide you with essential information regarding the potential risks of chemical treatments used on cedar products and how pet owners can ensure their safety.

One of the most common chemical treatments used on cedar is chromated copper arsenate (CCA). This preservative is used to protect against decay and insects; however, it has been shown to be toxic to both animals and humans if ingested or inhaled. Pets who chew on CCA-treated cedar products could potentially ingest harmful levels of arsenic, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in severe cases.

In addition to CCA, other chemical treatments used on cedar include sealants and stains that contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which can be harmful to pets if inhaled. Furthermore, some stains may contain heavy metals or other toxins that could pose a risk if ingested.

To ensure our pets’ safety, it is essential to choose cedar products that are untreated or treated with safe, non-toxic alternatives. Look for products labeled as “pet-safe” or “non-toxic” and avoid those treated with CCA or other harmful chemicals. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

If you already have cedar products in your home that may be treated with harmful chemicals, it is important to take precautions to protect your pets. Keep cedar products out of reach of pets and monitor them closely for any signs of chewing or ingestion. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any harmful chemicals, seek veterinary care immediately.

Digestive Problems in Cats from Cedar Litter

One way to do so is by selecting the right litter for their litter box. While cedar litter may seem like a natural and appealing option due to its scent and absorbency, it’s important to be aware of its potential risks.

Cedar litter contains oils and phenols that can irritate a cat’s digestive system, leading to unpleasant symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Ingesting cedar litter while grooming can cause blockages in a cat’s digestive tract, which can be life-threatening if not treated promptly.

To prevent these digestive problems from cedar litter, there are several options to consider:

  • Switch to a different type of litter: There are many different types of litter available on the market that can provide similar benefits without the potential risks. Options include clay, corn, wheat, or paper-based litters.
  • Limit your cat’s exposure to cedar products: If you choose to continue using cedar litter, make sure your cat does not ingest it while grooming by regularly cleaning the litter box and providing plenty of fresh water for your cat to drink. Additionally, avoid using other cedar products such as bedding or scratching posts.
  • Monitor your cat’s behavior: Keeping an eye on your cat’s litter box habits is crucial. If you notice any signs of digestive distress such as vomiting or diarrhea, seek veterinary attention immediately.

The Dangers of Cedar Oil for Pets

Cedar oil is often marketed as a natural and safe alternative to chemical pesticides, but it’s not without its potential dangers. Here are some things you need to know about using cedar oil around your pets:

  • Strong Scent: The strong scent of cedar oil can be overwhelming for pets with sensitive noses and can cause respiratory irritation, coughing, and sneezing in both cats and dogs. To avoid this, make sure you don’t use too much and allow good ventilation.
  • Skin Irritation: Cedar oil can cause skin irritation and chemical burns if not properly diluted or applied. This is especially true for cats, who have more sensitive skin than dogs, and may accidentally ingest the oil while grooming themselves. Avoid applying cedar oil directly to your pet’s skin or fur.
  • Allergic Reactions: Some pets may also experience allergic reactions to cedar oil, which can cause itching, redness, and swelling. Always watch for signs of allergic reactions in your pet after using cedar oil.
  • Liver Damage: Long-term exposure to high levels of cedar oil can lead to liver damage in both cats and dogs. Cedar oil contains compounds called sesquiterpenes that can accumulate in the liver over time and cause inflammation and damage.

To keep your pets safe, always dilute cedar oil properly before use and avoid applying it directly to their skin or fur. If you notice any signs of respiratory distress or skin irritation in your pet after using cedar oil, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Alternatives to Cedar Bedding for Pets

While cedar bedding is a popular choice due to its natural insect-repelling properties and pleasant aroma, it can also pose potential health risks if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. Fortunately, there are plenty of alternatives available that offer similar benefits without the potential dangers.

Pine bedding is an excellent alternative to cedar. It boasts a natural scent that repels insects and is generally considered safer for pets. Similarly, aspen bedding made from shredded aspen wood is known for being highly absorbent and dust-free, making it perfect for pets with respiratory issues.

For those who prefer eco-friendly options, recycled paper or cardboard bedding is an excellent choice. These biodegradable products are made from post-consumer waste materials and are a great way to reduce your environmental footprint while providing a comfortable bed for your pet.

When introducing new bedding materials to your pet, it’s essential to monitor their behavior and health to ensure their safety and well-being. If you notice any signs of discomfort or illness, consult with your veterinarian immediately.


In conclusion, while cedar may seem like a natural and appealing choice for pet bedding or accessories, it’s important to consider the potential risks before introducing it into your pet’s environment. Despite its insect-repelling properties and pleasant aroma, cedar contains substances that can be harmful to pets, particularly those with respiratory issues or allergies.

The strong scent emitted by cedar’s natural oils can cause irritation to the lungs, leading to breathing difficulties and inflammation of the respiratory system. Additionally, direct contact with cedar shavings or bedding can result in skin irritation and digestive problems if ingested by pets.

To ensure your furry friend’s safety and wellbeing, consider using alternative bedding materials such as pine or aspen shavings, recycled paper or cardboard bedding, or other eco-friendly options that are safer for pets. If you do choose to use cedar products, make sure they are kiln-dried and dust-free and keep them in well-ventilated areas away from your pet’s sleeping and eating spaces.

By being aware of the potential risks associated with cedar and taking necessary precautions, you can provide a safe and healthy living environment for your beloved pets. Always monitor their behavior closely when introducing new materials or products into their space and seek veterinary attention immediately if you notice any signs of discomfort or illness.

In short, while cedar may have some benefits, it’s important to prioritize your pet’s safety above all else.