9 Essential Oils That Are Safe For Dogs
Alex Vicente • Updated on October 6, 2021 • 19 minute read
When it comes to dog owners, and pet owners in general, there isn’t much that someone would not do for their beloved pet(s). Essential oils have been becoming more popular and widely used from direct contact on the skin to diffusers, being able to provide a variety of benefits to not just humans, but pets and dogs as well.
Not all essential oils are ok for dogs, so you will want to consult with your vet first, and be sure you follow the guidelines on which ones are safe, and how to best apply them to your furry little friend. So if you’re wanting to find more ways to help your pet’s overall health and maybe even treat them a little extra, continue reading to find out how you might be able to help your pet with these 6 essential oils.
Essential Oils Safe for Your Dog
If you’re into essential oils and wonder if their benefits can be transferred to dogs, you’re in luck. These 9 essential oils are very beneficial for dogs in a variety of ways. As long as they are diluted properly and there are precautions when using them for the first time on your pet, essential oils can help your dog with inflammation, anxiety, fungus, virus, and much more.
Anymore, people are searching for the most natural yet still effective way to improve overall health for themselves. However, if you are a dog owner, then we all know you will do just about anything for your dog. Essential oils have been shown to help in many ways from mood to productivity, but can they have similar effects on dogs?
Throughout a decent amount of research, essential oils for dogs are a highly sought-out hot topic. Some believe essential oils should not be used on dogs at all, but even more with consistent lists of essential oils that are safe for man’s best friend. Although you must be careful to only use certain oils after consulting with your vet, the answer is yes you can use essential oils on your dog.
Lavender oil is a very popular one amongst humans and has been known to help offer a calming effect. The same can be used for your dogs, as lavender is a safe essential oil for pets. This is also a nice and easy oil that can be a good starting point for introducing oils to your dog for the first time.
Lavender oil could be utilized best before a stressful time for your dog, like going to the vet, or even at night time to help your dog settle down a bit if they’re in the mood to do a late-night playtime. Humans will tend to reach for lavender before most of the other oils because of its main role and what it is known for more is its calming effect. Since it is safe for dogs, might as well give it a shot whenever they might be in a stressful state.
Frankincense has been used for ages, including since the time of the ancient Egyptians. And no, this is not to be as potent as the kind that we get in church. Your dog might run for its life if it gets too heavy of a whiff of the good stuff!
Seen as an oil of holistic healing, frankincense oil has been used in a little bit of everything. From lifting spirits after mummification to improving behavior as well as bacterial healing, frankincense is a little less potent essential oil that can be greatly beneficial for your dog.
Cedar oil, also known as cedarwood oil, has a few different benefits for dogs. It can help calm and soothe your pet, but because of its aromatic properties and nature, cedar oil is also great at helping fend off pests and insects. When combined with water, it can also support healthy skin, and might even make your dog a little sleepy.
Although he or she is unable to actually speak, your dog would thank you for using cedar oil if you both find yourselves being outside quite a bit. Whether that is laying on the back patio or going on long walks or hikes, it seems pesky bugs like flies tend to love to annoy dogs. With a little cedar oil around, you can help relieve some of that nuisance so your dog can get back to nap time.
Ginger has become more and more popular lately as people have noticed lots of positive outcomes by using it regularly. If your dog happens to be experiencing digestive and stomach problems, then ginger oil may help reduce their discomfort and clear up their issues. It could even help with any joint pain they may have, and some research has suggested that ginger oil could assist in their breathing. From humans to pets, ginger has proven to be a very helpful aid.
Feels like it’s been around since the beginning of time, but it seems we use peppermint for a little bit of everything. From upset stomachs in middle school to cooling effects, peppermint is a reliable source that we continue to go back to. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?
In terms of the benefits peppermint oil can have on your dog, its primary role is the cooling effect it can bring to an overheated dog. Maybe that long hike just made them a bit too warm, so that would be a perfect time to use peppermint oil because it will cool down your dog and get them back to equilibrium. It can also help with any acute injuries that may arise with your furry friend. Having an English Mastiff and English Bulldog, I think this might become a new staple in my house!
Aside from my bias of loving all things related to the scent and taste of lemon, lemongrass oil has some crucial properties that help make life a little more enjoyable for your dog. Apart from the great, refreshing smell of citrus, lemongrass oil can deter fleas and ticks, giving your dog relief from that pesky nuisance and in turn helping improve your dog’s skin health.
As you might have picked up, the benefits that essential oils can have on humans can easily have the same positive effects on your beloved feline friend. Similarly, with other things that dogs can utilize that humans do, you need to be careful about which oils you incorporate into your dog’s regimen, as not all essential oils are going to be helpful to your dog. Some may even have serious negative side effects.
With this particular essential oil, the name really does speak for itself and help with exactly what you think it can help with. Much like the candles that are essential if you are going to be hanging outside in the evenings during the summertime, this special oil helps repel ticks and fleas from your dog. There are companies now that even make shampoo infused with citronella for this exact added benefit.
Ever seen in a commercial or an over-stereotyped romantic comedy where a person is on the couch wrapped up in a cozy blanket sipping chamomile tea? Well, the hype is real and chamomile can have an extremely calming effect on your dog in similar and not so similar ways.
Chamomile oil can help calm down dogs, so if you happily agreed to dog sit your friend’s brand new puppy with all the puppy brains and want it to settle down, some chamomile might just do the trick. If you suspect your loyal sidekick is having a bit of a stomach ache, then chamomile oil can help with that as well.
The one that surprised me was that it (chamomile oil) can actually improve the social skills of your dog. Let’s be honest, not all dogs are outgoing and exactly eager to mingle with other dogs and humans. For those that might be a little on the shy side, chamomile can aid in your dog’s social skills down at your local dog park.
Peace and Calming
This special blend is actually a mixture of 5 different essential oils: Ylang Ylang, Tangerine, Blue Tansy, Orange, and Patchouli Oil Blend. The mix was used recently by a dog owner on her chihuahua because it was hyperactive and would get overly excited with the most basic everyday activities.
The peace and calming oil blend is actually similar to lavender in its calming nature and can be used in any stressful environment, but it will also improve your dog’s confidence. This particular blend seems to work the best if it is diffused or placed on something that will be close to your dogs like a collar or blanket.
Hopefully, this list of essential oils helps you narrow down your selection to make things a bit easier. There is a lot of information out there and you want to make sure you take the necessary steps to keep your dog healthy and not skip a beat.
Could Your Dog Benefit with Essential Oils?
If you tend to continuously find ways to help improve your dog’s overall health and happiness, you might be wondering if he or she could benefit from something like essential oils. It is a very hot (and rightfully so) trend right now to find things that are more natural and deemed safer than things made with harsh chemicals and agents that have the potential to be extremely harmful to your or your dog.
Finding a healthier way to treat not only ourselves but our dogs as well will help them live a longer and happier life. Below is a list of common signs that might steer you in the direction of investigating if essential oils might be beneficial for your dog:
- Bad breath
- Aggressive behavior
- Recent separation
- Joint problems
There is an abundance of different types of essential oils, all varying in ranges of their own unique properties and benefits. Depending on the types of symptoms that your dog is giving off, it may be worth the time and investment to try a new approach with your pet.
Essential Oils That Are Toxic to Dogs
As mentioned before, as great as essential oils seem to be, not all are going to be safe for your dog. Thus, it’s extremely important that you double-check which ones your dog can be around, how to properly apply them, as well as making sure that your vet has approved any new at-home remedies you might be wanting to try.
Below is a list of essential oils that are toxic for dogs and should not be applied topically or even diffused too close around your dog:
- Pennyroyal oil
- Pine oil
- Tea tree oil (melaleuca)
- Wintergreen oil
- Cinnamon oil
- Citrus oil
- Sweet birch oil
- Ylang ylang
- Anise oil
- Clove oil
- Juniper oil
- Yarrow oil
From essential oils to scraps off your dinner plate, it is important to know exactly what your dog can and cannot consume whether that’s orally, topically, or aromatically. The last thing you want is to do something for your pet thinking it will positively help him or her, and then end up having to rush them to the vet due to a bad reaction.
Signs of Essential Oil Poisoning
If you think your dog is having a problem that seems more serious and may have come from essential oil poisoning, then you must get your dog to the vet immediately. Be sure to take the essential oil that you administered and how you applied it so the vet can act accordingly.
Common symptoms of essential oil poisoning:
- Watery eyes
- Excessive water around the nose
- Low body temperature
- Low heart rate
- Unsteady, wobbly, off-balance
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing or excessive panting
Some of these may be a little tougher to decide if they are truly problematic symptoms, but hopefully, you will have been around your dog long enough to know when he or she is just not acting right. If your dog does seem to be acting strange, particularly if you are introducing something new to them (like essential oils), then you will want to keep a watchful eye on how they are progressing. However, if things do not seem to improve or even worsen, then take your pet to the vet immediately.
Applying Essential Oils to Your Dog
Even though essential oils may seem “safe” and “natural,” that does not mean that they are going to necessarily be healthy. As outlined above, there is an extensive list of oils that would be a bad idea to administer to your dog. Even with the oils that are deemed acceptable to use on pets, the way you apply them should still be done with caution and care. Be sure to consult with a vet before administering essential oils to your dog.
With topical application of essential oils on dogs, there are some mixed reviews on if you can apply an essential oil directly to your pet or if it must be diluted first. Unless you have been using essential oils on your dog and know its tolerance and how it reacts to the oils, it is probably wise to start with a diluted version with carrier oils just to play it on the safe side.
In terms of actual application, it is recommended that you start with a small test area on your dog’s fur and wait about 15 minutes to see if your dog has any negative reactions to it. If everything seems to be normal, then you can slowly start administering more to your pet. Continue to keep an eye on it and do not apply too much too quickly.
To dilute an essential oil, people use what is known as carrier oils, which act as carriers of the oil and help deliver it into the body through the skin. Some of the most common carrier oils used in dilution agents are actually very common household products, but others are going to take a bit more searching:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Argan oil
- Jojoba oil
- Avocado oil
- Sweet almond oil
These oils play a great role as carriers because they are absorbed better by the skin and some are even natural moisturizers or massage oils.
If you’re going to make your own solution, then you will want to make sure you make a very light solution that won’t be too potent for your pet at the start of trying something new. You will want to go for .25% dilution, which is the equivalent of 1 drop of essential oil for every one and a half tablespoons of the chosen carrier oil.
It may seem like an awful lot to try something (that is considered healthy) on your dog, but not everything good for people is good for dogs, let alone most pets. However, you much rather be safe than sorry when it comes to our canine friends that add endless amounts of goodness to peoples’ lives.
Luckily, diffusers are a bit safer for dogs than direct application onto the fur and skin. Many of us who have diffusers likely put some drops of our desired essential oil into the water base and let it run until it’s out of the water (guilty as charged). When it comes to using it specifically for your dog, you have to use just a bit more caution.
When using a diffuser for your dog, it is recommended that you leave the diffuser running for only 10 minutes before you turn it off. You should then wait 30 minutes to let the room clear out before using it again. And although we all want to believe our dogs to be perfect, they are not. Be sure to have your diffuser on a taller surface so it is less likely to get knocked over or drunk out of.
Especially if your dog is newer to essential oils, it might not be a bad idea to take longer breaks in between each session just to be safe.
It is possible to give your dog essential oils orally, but this is probably the riskiest application of them all. If essential oils can irritate your dog topically, then having them ingest something foreign for the first time is always a risky move. For any desire to give your dog essential oils orally, it is even more imperative to speak with your vet before doing so.
Starting anything new with your pet is always going to have some level of risk, but essential oils are a prime example that just because most people do just fine around most oils does not mean that our pets, and dogs specifically will too.
Safe Alternatives to Essential Oils for Dogs
Throughout this article, it has been shown that a wide range of essential oils seem to be quite safe for dogs, while others have the potential to be much more problematic. With the reliability of specific essential oils, it can never hurt to have a backup plan just in case your dog does not respond well to the more traditional essential oils.
Hydrosols are what are also known as “flower waters” and are an effective alternative to essential oils. What makes these hydrosols a safer option is the fact that they are essentially the remains from steam distilling fruits, herbs, and flowers in water. Although they may seem almost identical to essential oils, hydrosols tend to have more subtle aromas that will not irritate your dog’s nose as much.
With these being advised as a safer alternative to essential oils, it is still a good idea to do your own homework and research to make sure you have all the info on what you are getting you and your furry friend into. It may also be worth a visit or call at least your vet to inquire about using this type of aromatherapy on your dog. I am sure they have heard and answered this question plenty of times and will be able to best advise you.
What Are Essential Oils?
Well now that we’ve talked about them enough, what are essential oils? They seem to be growing in popularity and almost everyone tends to have at least that or a salt lamp somewhere in the house.
In short, essential oils come from concentrated plant materials, which give them their “natural” characteristics and title. From being an air freshener to providing aromatherapy and even being used directly on to the skin, essential oils have become a staple in some cultures and alternative medicine practices. With each essential oil having a very specific set of qualities and properties to it, there is also a very specific benefit that each one can provide. There is definitely some overlap between multiple essential oils, but each one still tends to have at least one characteristic of its own that the others do not.
If you are interested in the more natural and holistic remedies to issues like stress, stomach issues, respiratory issues, or even sleep, then essential oils should be your next stop. Along with the benefits of your body being around and absorbing the oil, there is typically a great smelling aroma to go with it which adds nicely to the overall ambiance.
The fact of the matter is that all of us dog owners want what is best for our favorite little furry friends and will do just about anything to accomplish that. With that being said, it can be easy to get a little overzealous and jump into something that we have heard or read about that is allegedly safe for our dogs without doing the proper research first. Even with plenty of positive testimonials using essential oils and hydrosols with dogs, it is essential to know all the ins and outs, pros and cons.
Essential oils can be used on dogs and we outline 9 various types of oils that are not only safe but effective with dogs. Throughout all of the research, it seems to be quite the debate on essential oils and dogs. The overall census is that there are safe essential oils, but you want to understand what they are and what they do.
Be sure to do your research, ask some other dog-owning friends of yours, and definitely consult with your vet before you start lathering your dog in essential oil. From there, you will be able to get the proper guidance on how to create the best life possible for your dog!