Our homes should be a safe place, or a sanctuary, for us and our pets. It should be a healthy environment, but is it? Unfortunately the statistics would say no! As cancers, allergies, and autoimmune diseases continue to increase in humans, these diseases are also increasing in our pets. Ironically these diseases are not increasing at the same rate in animals that don’t live in our homes. I am an equine veterinarian and I do treat a significant amount of skin cancer in horses, mostly due to their sun exposure. However, other forms of cancer are still uncommon in horses and other livestock. This would lead one to believe the environment is actually healthier outside than in our homes. So what is in our homes that is toxic to us and our pets? How can we tell what the top toxins for pets in our home are?

Here are some of the top toxins for pets in your home:

Volatile Organic Compounds

The first thing that comes to my mind is VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. That doesn’t sound too bad but they can cause headaches, respiratory disorders, cancers, and liver, kidney and nervous system disorders. The first things I think of are air fresheners, candles, and wax burners. We all want our homes to smell good, but we need better options. We utilize essential oil diffusers in our home that not only smell good but also purify our air of bacterias, molds, and viruses. Another way to minimize exposure is proper ventilation. When the weather is nice, open the windows and let some fresh air in.


Pesticides are another common toxin found in most homes. Pesticides cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, damage our nervous system, and increase our risk of cancer, Parkinson’s disease, miscarriage, and birth defects. Most fruits, vegetables, and commercially raised meats contain pesticides. Washing your food with a fruit and veggie wash is so important. We utilize Thieves fruit and veggie soak for our fruits, vegetables and even our meats. Pest control products and chemical lawn treatments don’t just kill pests.  There are safe alternatives to pest control like diatomaceous earth that kills a variety of insects, including fleas, but are not toxic to humans and animals.

Fungus and Mold

Fungus and mold is a big problem in our part of the country, especially after all of the hurricanes and flooding in the past few years. Mycotoxins are the toxins released from mold. They have been linked to irritation of mucus membranes, suppression of the immune system and cancer. Running a dehumidifier to keep the humidity in our home below 60% can reduce the amount of mold and mycotoxins. Melaleuca Alternifolia, also known as Tea Tree, is a powerful anti-fungal agent. Tea tree oil can be diffused or sprayed on location to kill mold. Changing your filters in your heating and cooling systems and installing a UV light in your system can greatly reduce your exposure. If you suspect you have mold in your home, have it tested.


Phthalates are industrial compounds that are found in fragrances and plastics. Phthalates are endocrine disruptors because they can mimic hormones. This is especially concerning in pregnant or developing humans and animals. Our culture has decided that everything has to have a fragrance. Unfortunately 99.9% of the fragrance used in home care, personal care, and pet care products is synthetic, and it contains phthalates and other toxic chemicals. Companies do not have to tell you what the “fragrance” is in their products. It is considered proprietary. When we went through our kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room and detoxed our home, it was a game changer. We use the entire line of Thieves home care and oral care products. What you clean your floors with really matters, especially for your children and your pets. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs everything it touches. Everything that is absorbed through our skin goes into our bloodstream. If a product is not safe for internal consumption, then you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin. Hopefully this information will help tell, what top toxins for pets in your home.

It is estimated that most babies are born with over 200 chemicals in their bodies. Adults have between 400 and 800 chemicals in their bodies, mostly stored in fat cells. We can assume that the same is true for our pets. There is no way that this constant bombardment of toxins is not going to eventually take a toll on our bodies. It is impossible to eliminate our exposure to all chemicals, but we can make better choices for ourselves and our pets.

By: Lori Miller, DVM Young Living Essential Oils