Have you ever used essential oils? Maybe the scent of lavender on your pillow has helped you drift off to sleep at night, or using peppermint oil in an air diffuser has settled down your nausea. Whether or not you’ve personally benefited from aromatherapy, you might be wondering if essential oils are safe for dogs.

Your canine friend is a valued member of your family. You thoroughly enjoy the happiness that comes from spending time with them, and you already do everything you can to for them.

From a search for the best pet food on the market to trips to the veterinarian for regular check-ups to giving them opportunities for exercise and fun, you do you best. You want to make sure that they live a long and fulfilling life, and will be by your side for years to come.

So, it’s understandable that you’re curious about how essential oils for dogs can be part of your care routine. Furthermore, maybe your dog is struggling with a health issue and you’ve read an article about how aromatherapy might assist in soothing their discomfort.

When it comes to using essential oils for dogs, there’s definitely a lot to know! That’s where we come in. Read below to see what our research on the subject has uncovered.

What are the Benefits of Essential Oils?

Essential oils are usually marketed as a natural alternative to main stream medical treatment. These oils occur naturally in the plants from which they take their name. Rather than being real oils in the true sense of the word, they’re made from specific compounds within a plant.

Their essence, or fragrance, is quite potent. And, since they’re sold in a highly concentrated form, they do need to be used with some caution.

Having said that, essential oils can have many benefits for pets. They can be a helpful part of a holistic approach to treating a range of illnesses.

Certain essential oils have shown success in soothing damaged skin while others demonstrate an ability to promote calmness and reduce separation anxiety. Still others show promise in supporting flea and tick prevention.

Although their main reputation is for alleviating certain symptoms and bringing more comfort, they’re also thought to have immunity-boosting properties as well. There are veterinarians who believe so strongly in the positive attributes of essential oils that they search for ways to incorporate them into the treatment regimen for their canine patients.

While you won’t find these products in your pet’s food, you may find essential oils in various pet care products, such as sprays to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitos. Besides that, they may be listed as ingredients in household cleaners that will be kinder to your pets.

It’s necessary to keep in mind that the research conducted to date into the benefits of essential oils is still preliminary, but this shouldn’t dissuade you from using them. The key is getting an education about how to use them properly, and proceeding cautiously.  

What Essential Oils are Safe for Dogs?

This is a great question to begin with! It won’t shock you to hear that particular oils are safe for dogs and others are not. Just because essential oil compounds are fine for their pet owners to use, it doesn’t mean they’re okay for dogs or cats. After all, this is the same case for different types of food – is a prime example!

Remember that your dog’s sense of smell is incredibly powerful, so even a small quantity of safe essential oils can be more harmful than helpful. With that in mind, search for the following safe essential plant oils. Some of these are safe for cats as well, but check them out first.

Chamomile

You may know chamomile for it’s calming affects if you’ve ever enjoyed it in a cup of herbal tea. People often like it just before bedtime to help them unwind at the end of a long and hectic day.

Chamomile can also help settle down an anxious dog. It could be that your pooch has had a particularly stressful vet visit or the sound of thunder has them hiding under the bed.

Whether Gus or Gertie is generally on the fearful side or just upset in the moment, this essential oil can soothe them. It has a reputation for settling down tummy troubles as well.

Frankincense

Frankincense supports the immune system and general cell health. It can also be used to support the health of your dog’s digestive tract; therefore, it can provide a measure of good all-round preventative care.

Ginger

Here’s another substance that you’re probably already familiar with for its health benefits. Whether you cook with ginger or ingest it in herbal tea, you’ll know that it can do everything from alleviating cold symptoms and clearing sinus passages to soothing upset stomachs.

Ginger can benefit your dog in the same ways. In addition, it might offer a little comfort for their pain.

Lavender

People respect lavender oil for its ability to help induce a state of calm, in both humans and animals. If your dog is prone to motion sickness when traveling in the car, see if lavender oil can assist. It can also be beneficial for wound care.

Myrrh

Here’s an oil that might not immediately come to mind. Myrrh has both antiseptic and astringent attributes. This makes it an essential oil to contemplate for various skin conditions.

Peppermint

Do you drink peppermint tea? This oil is a potential remedy to aid your pup’s breathing and support the health of their respiratory system. Additionally, peppermint can be useful for addressing your canine’s achy or painful joints.

What Essential Oils are Unsafe for Dogs?

Essential oils and pets sometimes don’t mix. The ingestion some oils, or their application to an animal’s skin, can be toxic. Plus, even using them in a diffuser around pets might cause harm. Read below for information about the main ones to avoid.

Citrus

Citrus may cause your furry friend to have more than an upset stomach! Your dog may , become extremely fatigued and, heaven forbid, have a .

Pine

Vomiting and/or diarrhea can be an unwelcome side effect of this oil. Pine can irritate their skin as well. By far the worst issue is that it can damage your dog’s liver and central nervous system.

Tea Tree

Symptoms of tea tree oil toxicity in your canine friend range from minor skin irritation and a bout of vomiting, to paralysis in their hind legs and a slide into depression.

Ylang Ylang

Ylang Ylang may make Samson or Sally feel generally weak, have difficulty breathing and start to vomit – not nice side effects at all!

So, that’s the short list. Here are the others to steer clear away from:

  • Anise

  • Cinnamon

  • Clove

  • Garlic

  • Juniper

  • Pennyroyal

  • Sweet birch

  • Thyme

  • Wintergreen

  • Yarrow

How to Administer Essential Oils

Basically, there are two ways to administer essential oils. You can use a diffuser to spread the molecules through the air, or you can rub the oils directly on the skin as a topical. No matter what method you use, be mindful that it doesn’t take very much at all to have an impact.

Think about what amount you would use for yourself, then dial it back a bit in recognition of your canine’s more sensitive sense of smell. For your dog, less is always more as the saying goes! Below is what to know about administering essential oils topically, and in a diffuser.

Topically

Bonding with your pet during a nice or gentle ear rub feels good for both of you. Try making some massage oils for application to their skin or ear flaps. Take care to dilute the oil first since applying it full strength can irritate your fur baby’s skin.

A great method is to dissolve the essential oil you want to use in what’s called a ‘carrier’ oil such as almond, coconut, avocado, aloe vera or sunflower oil. These oils are milder and can effectively ‘carry’ the essential oil in a mixture that will be much safer for your pup.

The standard dilution is one and a half tablespoons of carrier oil to one drop of essential oil. It’s a good idea to test the mixture out first on a small area of your dog’s skin, and wait about 15 minutes before proceeding to see if there’s an adverse reaction.

Diffuser

If you’ve used a diffuser before, you’ll be aware of what they do. In short, they spread the essential oil through the air. This is sometimes visible as a fine mist, or you may simply smell the fragrances floating by on air currents.

There are several different types of diffusers, but probably the most common one is water-based. To use one of these, fill the compartment with water and add a few drops of essential oil. After running the diffuser for about 10 minutes, give the air in the room about 30 minutes to clear before you start it again.

How do You Know if Your Dog has Been Poisoned?

Since there’s a chance that improper use of essential oils could be detrimental to your dog, it’s important to say something here about how to make sure that your dog hasn’t been poisoned. Even if you’ve used an essential oil that’s considered safe, you need to be very careful with this highly concentrated product.

If you’re concerned that you pup may have been inadvertently exposed to a toxic substance, don’t fret. Most likely, your friend will be fine. For sure, take note of any behavioral changes and watch for the signs below that medical attention may be needed:

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Diarrhea

  • Extreme fatigue

  • Excessive

  • Muscle tremors

  • Unsteady or difficulty walking

  • Vomiting

  • Weakness

If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, seek emergency care right away!

How To Keep Your Pet Safe

Just as you would keep other potentially harmful items away from your pooch, make sure that the essential oils are out of reach. You never know what animals will decide to get into when your back is turned!

When you use essential oils for pets, be sure to use them properly. This means being thoughtful about how much essential oil you put in the diffuser and how often you’re spreading the substance through the air in your home.

Dog’s noses are very sensitive to smell so what may not bother us, can quickly seem overwhelming to your dog’s snout.

The same degree of caution should be taken with the application of essential oils topically to your canine friend’s skin. Watch that your dog doesn’t try to the oil off, since ingesting it could result in an upset tummy. If you have a dog cone handy, it might be a good move to put it on them during your treatment.

The other thing is to think before you administer any insect repellant or natural and tick prevention remedies that use essential oils. These products may not be very well-regulated, and their efficacy has not been studied extensively.

The same goes for using your own concoction of diluted essential oils to clean around your house. Although you may love the scent of citrus or pine, it’s best to purchase a cleaner from the store that’s known to be pet-friendly.

Finally, don’t forget that your veterinarian is there to help. Reach out to them for advice and put your mind at ease that your use of essential oils is safe for pets.

Essential Oil for Dogs: Our Final Thoughts

Certain essential oils are safe for dogs as well as for their pet owners. Once you understand which ones are beneficial for your fur baby’s well being and know how to use them safely, search for how to make them part of your pup’s regular care. If we’ve piqued your interest, then go ahead and try a few out.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which essential oils are safe for dogs?

Chamomile, frankincense, ginger, peppermint, myrrh, and lavender are the group of oils that won’t cause harm.

Can I diffuse essential oils around my dog?

Yes. You can diffuse essential oils safely around your dog.

Is tea tree essential oil safe for dogs?

No. Tee tree can be harmful.

Can I use essential oils topically on my dog?

You can, but you must dilute them first.