Vicks Vaposteam – Is it Safe for Your Pets?

Vicks Vaposteam Is it Safe for Your Pets?

Vicks vaposteam is a great product for giving us relief from the flu.

It helps us breathe better and recover faster from the sniffles.

But is Vicks vaporizer safe for cats?


Vicks vaporizer or humidifier is not safe for pets, especially cats and dogs. It contains products like menthol and nutmeg oil which have shown to have serious side effects when inhaled by pets.


There are human medications that are completely safe for pets.

Most of these medications are for treating pain and inflammation in the body.

So, it is understandable if you find yourself wondering, “Is Vicks vaporizer safe for cats and dogs?”


Why do we use Vicks Vaposteam?

Camphor oil
Camphor oil

The main ingredient in Vicks vaporizers is camphor.

Camphor is an organic compound used in creams, lotions, and ointments.


As a topical application, camphor oil provides relief for muscle pain, skin itching, and skin inflammation.

Some medications contain camphor oil to help in decongesting the lungs and address various inflammation issues.


Camphor in Vicks vaposteam is safe for humans.

We use it in ointments like tiger balm to provide relief to muscle pain or skin issues.


Also, Vicks vaposteam can be added in humidifiers to eliminate dryness in the air and improve symptoms of flu or the common cold.

Because we reap so many benefits from Vicks vaposteam, we may want to use it on our pets when they suffer muscle pain or inflammation.


But is camphor in Vicks vaposteam safe for cats?

Unfortunately, Vicks vaposteam is unsafe for cats.


Vet experts even warn that the harmful effects of Vicks vaporizer or humidifier can be pronounced in dogs.

So why is camphor in Vicks vaposteam a threat to cats?


Harmful effects of Vicks vaposteam to cats

Camphor poisoning in cats can happen in many ways;

  • It is absorbed through the cat’s skin and into the bloodstream
  • It can get into the body through broken or punctured skin
  • If your cat licks an ointment or cream containing camphor oil from their coat


How do you know if your cat has camphor poisoning?

Symptoms of camphor poisoning in cats can be mild or strong depending on the amount ingested by the feline.

If only small amounts of camphor are ingested, common side effects will include

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea


Some cats develop skin problems when they come into contact with camphor oil.


Common symptoms include;

  • Excessive itching
  • Skin reddening
  • Pawing at skin
  • Teary eyes due to the stinging camphor in vaposteam
  • Licking the skin to soothe it


Excess Vicks vaposteam poisoning can have adverse effects on a cat.

It can cause instant seizures and depression if not taken care of early.

Keep your cat away from camphor oil.




Excess camphor oil can cause deadly seizures that result in the death of a cat.



How can you treat camphor poisoning in pets?

How to treat camphor poisoning in pets

If you suspect your cat has camphor poisoning, rush them to the vet immediately.

Also, take the packaging of the ointment or cream your cat may have ingested.

This helps your vet in making a proper diagnosis.


Diagnosis can help show if your cat;

  1. Is experiencing breathing issues from camphor poisoning
  2. Has inflamed mucus membrane from the burning effect of camphor
  3. Has damaged internal organs from camphor poisoning

In the case of mild camphor poisoning, like vomiting and diarrhea, the vet provides supportive treatment and let the symptoms die down within hours.

A bland diet may also be suggested to help heal the mucus membranes of the cat.

As long as no vital organs are severely damaged, your pet will be discharged to recuperate at home.


Treatment options for camphor poisoning in cats include;

  • Gastric lavage
  • Active charcoal treatment
  • Medication
  • Monitoring


Gastric lavage

This is a process of flushing out poisonous contents in the stomach in both pets and humans.

Your vet may suggest a gastric lavage if inducing vomiting will cause more harm to the cat.


Active charcoal treatment

Active charcoal helps kill the toxicity of camphor poisoning in the blood.

Chemicals in Vicks vaposteam like camphor bind to the charcoal and get flashed out of the dog’s body.



Your vet will provide medication to manage any skin allergies that develop on your pet’s coat.

Also, there are advanced medical drugs that control seizures caused by camphor oil poisoning.


Is Vicks vaposteam safe for pets to inhale?

Dog with mask

So far we have established that camphor is harmful to your cat and dog when ingested or comes into contact with the skin.

What about inhaling the steam from a Vicks vaposteam?

Is Vicks vaporizer safe for cats?


There has been a lot of debate on whether your cat should inhale vaposteam.

Some people believe that Vicks vaporizer is safe for cats when inhaled but not ingested.

But some pet parents have reported that their cats developed side effects from inhaling vaposteam.


Monitor your cat’s reaction whenever you are using a Vicks vaporizer or Vicks humidifier.

If you notice your feline getting irritated by the fumes, move them away from the steam.

Alternatively, always use your Vicks vaporizer or humidifier in a separate room away from your cat.


Are Vaporizers Safe for Dogs?

dog on smoky background


How about vaporizers? Are they safe for dogs?


Vaporizers are excellent workarounds to combat atmospheric dryness that can cause congestion, dry nose, and skin dryness in humans.


These machines release water vapor into the air in the form of fumes that can be very helpful for humans.


But how about our pets? Are vaporizers safe for dogs?


The truth about dogs and vaporizers

“Are vaporizers safe for dogs and/or cats?”


This is a question we typically receive from pet owners who also have sensitive skins and physiology to aerial drought and we’re here to clarify:

Any vaporizer or humidifier is unsafe for dogs.


Despite the benefits of these fume-releasing machinery on humans, it’s is non-advisable to use them when Fido is around.


What makes vaporizers unsafe?

Menthol and nutmeg oil are the two primary elements unsafe for dogs. Whether these come in contact with their skin or are inhaled, they may result in toxicity.


Physical manifestations may be:

  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Heavy panting
  • Seizures
  • Comatose
  • Cardiac arrests
  • Given the adverse effects above, asking “are vaporizers safe for dogs” is already out of the question.


If you’re in dire need of using these devices, here’s what you can do:

  • Take Fido out of the area while you use the vaporizer (these vapors can stay long so keeping them away would be ideal)
  • Ensure proper room ventilation, if you can release the air out of the house via an exhaust, well and good
  • Keep Fido out in the open air and return them once vapor has dissipated



Vicks vaposteam is harmful to your cat whether ingested or applied on the skin.

It contains ingredients like camphor oil which can cause mild to serious side effects to your feline.

If you want to use essential oils on your cat, ensure they are pet-approved.


See Also

Frequently Asked Questions

Consult a vet to help you determine the best medication for decongesting your cat. Common ones include diphenhydramine, pseudoephedrine, and dimenhydrinate.

Basil, tea tree, oregano, and clove are all safe for your cat. Other essential oils safe for pets include mountain savory, cinnamon bark, Laurus nobilis, and lavender.

Humidifiers are safe for cats. It prevents the coat from becoming dry and itchy in winter. Avoid using camphor oil, nutmeg oil, eucalyptus, or menthol in your humidifier. These oils are unsafe for pets.

Camphor in ointments, creams, or balm, is unsafe for your cats. Other harmful ingredients used in topical products like Vicks include:

  • Alcohol
  • Nutmeg oil
  • Poloxamer 124
  • Silicone
  • Laureth-7
  • Cedar leaf oil
  • Eucalyptus oil


A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.