July 09, 2019

As essential oils have gained popularity, almost every household has some. They are useful for so many things such as making natural cleaners, freshening the air, making lotions, and unlimited other things. With such a wide range of beneficial uses, the question becomes: which essential oils are safe for dogs? Please remember that if you have a dog or other pet, if you diffuse essential oils to relax or energize, your pets are smelling it too. There are some EOs that are entirely safe to use around dogs and a few that are not. There are also some general guidelines for using your oils safely around your canine family member.

Are essential oils safe for dogs?

Remember that essential oils are a natural product, but “natural” doesn’t necessarily mean “safe.” They are safe for humans most of the time, but because of their potency, they can pose a risk for dogs, especially if they are not used properly. You have most likely already learned that some oils irritate the skin when used topically. This is also true for your canine. There are some products in the marketplace that incorporate essential oils and are formulated specifically for safe use with dogs.

In general, elderly dogs, those with liver disease, or puppies can have problems with EOs since they are metabolized by the liver. A curious puppy that licks an essential oil bottle inappropriately placed can have gastrointestinal upset. If your dog ingests oils, contact your vet and poison control immediately.

A dog’s nose is more powerful than humans. You may be able to put a couple of drops of lavender essential oil on your pillowcase and sleep like a baby. But a dog’s system is much smaller than yours, placing a few drops on their bed might help calm them down. On the other hand, it might cause them more stress. Oils are capable of changing behaviors, affect the central nervous system and the respiratory system. These can be serious for your dog.

Which EOs are dangerous for dogs?

Although it’s important to use caution with essential oils around dogs, some of them can be toxic to them. These oils need to be avoided altogether. Some oils are okay when used in small doses and under the supervision of a veterinary professional. But in general, avoid the use of these oils around your canine friends:

  • Citrus Essential Oils: This includes lemon, tangerine, orange
  • Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
  • Cinnamon Essential Oil
  • Pennyroyal Essential Oil
  • Pine Essential Oil
  • Sweet Birch Essential Oil
  • Wintergreen Essential Oil

Tips for Using Essential Oils with Dogs

There are some tips for using oils safely around your dog. Follow these simple guidelines:

  • Always dilute essential oils when you are using them around your dog. Use any of the carrier oils like coconut oil or olive oil to dilute the oil. If you cannot dilute the EO, use an ultra-small dose for a very short time.
  • Think about your pet’s size.Think about how small or large your dog is before using any oils around them. Smaller dogs may demonstrate harmful side effects and be more vulnerable than larger dogs. If you are mixing oils or diluting the mixture, think about your dog’s size.
  • Watch out for sensitive areas. Even if you have an essential oil mixture that is safe to use on your dog, be careful to avoid areas like the eyes, nose, genital and anal areas. There is never a reason for applying oil in those areas and it could cause your dog discomfort.
  • Consider their age. Puppies less than 10 weeks old should not be exposed to potent essential oils.
  • Sick or pregnant. If your dog is prone to seizures, or if they have epilepsy, don’t use essential oils on them. Check with a vet before using any EOs on a pregnant dog.
  • No ingesting.Don’t put oils in your dog’s food or water. Dogs should never ingest oils.

Essential Oils that are Safe for Dogs

Most experts agree there are some essential oils that are safe to use around dogs. Some of the most common EOs and their uses for canine friends include:

  • Lavender EO:Help your pet relax, heal burns, cuts, and bruises, and fight inflammation.
  • Chamomile EO (German & Roman): These EOs are gentle, non-toxic anti-inflammatories. Good to use for allergic reactions, skin irritation, or nausea.
  • Thyme EO: Great to use for arthritis, rheumatism, and for pain relief in general. It’s also a good choice for skin issues and infections.
  • Spearmint EO: Can be beneficial if your dog has diarrhea or suffers from nausea.
  • Peppermint EO: Use this oil for treating sprains, strains, and arthritis.
  • Cardamom EO: This anti-bacterial essential oil helps with heartburn and nausea. It’s also useful for normalizing the appetite and can help with weight loss.
  • Cedar EO: A great option for controlling fleas.
  • Lemongrass EO: Helps improve skin condition and repels ticks and fleas.
  • Eucalyptus EO: Soothing relief for insect bites or rashes and can help control parasites and fleas.
  • Frankincense EO: Use this essential oil for treating wounds, for anti-bacterial healing, and improvements in behavior.
  • Clary Sage EO: Use it to help calm a dog’s nerves.

Using Essential Oils with Your Dog Safely

It’s always a good idea to talk to your veterinarian before using essential oils with your dogs. They will be aware of which EOs could be potentially harmful. They can also help you know which carrier oil is best and who to dilute oils properly for dogs. Talk to them about the frequency you can use EOs with dogs too.


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