Are essential oils safe for dogs? The use of essential oils in dogs to treat various pet illnesses has become an alternative treatment in place of conventional medicine.
Essential oils can be used topically or diffused in the air to alleviate certain health conditions or simply create a relaxing environment. But not all essential oil used by us are safe for dogs. Before you take this holistic approach, find out which essential oils are safe to use for dogs and which ones must be strictly avoided.
Are diffusing essential oils safe for dogs?
Our furry companions have a sharper sense of smell than we do. Diffusing essential oils without first knowing their effects on our dogs may result in health problems and behavioural issues.
It may also negatively affect their respiratory and nervous systems. Here are some tips that you can follow to ensure the safety of our dogs and cats when using an essential oil diffuser:
- Choose therapeutic-grade essential oils that are specially formulated for dogs. Make sure that it comes from a reputable manufacturer.
- Avoid using essential oils that have a hot or spicy aroma, such as oregano and eucalyptus. These are respiratory irritants, which can cause breathing problems in dogs.
- Introduce an essential oil to your pet topically or through diffusion in small amounts. Observe him for 24 hours to see the effects.
- Make sure to properly dilute the oil and diffuse the oils in a well-ventilated area. Avoid using the diffuser in an enclosed room since the scent may easily get trapped and become too strong for your dog’s nose.
- To prevent accidents, store an essential oil diffuser in a place that your dog cannot easily reach. Make sure to inform family members about the importance of properly storing essential oils as well.
- Avoid using the diffuser for extended periods. It is advised to run it for only 10 minutes if it is used as a pet aid. After that, let the air clear for 30 minutes.
- If you apply essential oils topically on your dog, cover the area securely after application. This will prevent him from accidentally licking it off and ingesting it. You could also apply the oil just before setting off for a walk, so your pup’s attention will be on the walk instead.
Which essential oils are safe for dogs?
Some essential oils work wonders on dogs. They can help soothe discomforting pains and aches caused by sickness. However, some essential oils should be avoided as they can cause more harm than good.
Is fennel essential oil safe for dogs?
Fennel essential oil helps in naturally detoxifying your dog’s body and getting rid of toxins. It also balances the hormones by supporting the endocrine system.
This can be used topically on inflamed areas and even post-operative wounds. But dilute it with a carrier oil first before applying it to your dog’s skin. It has a sweet scent that is similar to licorice, making it a good choice for aromatherapy.
Is helichrysum essential oil safe for dogs?
Helichrysum is known as everlasting or immortelle. Although helichrysum is pungent, it offers a handful of benefits to dogs. Its antibacterial properties help speed up the healing of injuries.
Diluted helichrysum oil is often used to treat wounds and skin problems by applying it to the affected area.
For medium to large dog breeds, dilute 1 drop of the oil in 10 drops of carrier oil. Meanwhile, the dilution ratio for small dogs is 1 drop of the essential oil to 25 drops of carrier oil. Helichrysum may also help in improving a dog’s cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Is spearmint essential oil safe for dogs?
Spearmint essential oil is safe for dogs in small amounts. Be sure to dilute it first. Spearmint is known to aid in weight loss and balance metabolism.
If your dog is suffering from colic, diarrhoea, and nausea, consider giving him spearmint. But use it in a short time period as it can have side effects such as gastrointestinal upset.
Is frankincense essential oil safe for dogs?
Yes, it is okay for dogs. Its diluted form can be safely applied directly on the skin or used in a diffuser.
Frankincense essential oil can help boost a dog’s immunity. It also encourages smooth metabolism. Its calming scent helps a dog to relax.
If you plan to diffuse it, add only 1–2 drops of essential oil to the diffuser. Frankincense has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which are great for healing injuries.
For topical use for your dog, the ratio is 1 drop of essential oil to 10 drops of carrier oil for large breeds, whilst 1 drop of essential oil to 25 drops of carrier oil for small breeds.
Is ginger essential oil safe for dogs?
If properly diluted, ginger oil is safe for dogs to use sparingly and in small amounts. It is beneficial for pooches with motion sickness and indigestion.
Applying oils (1–2 drops) on your dog’s paw or stomach can help relieve his discomfort. Ginger oil can soothe joint pains and reduce inflammation.
This makes it a good natural pain reliever for dogs suffering from sprains, arthritis, or dysplasia. This essential oil can also ease breathing difficulties in dogs. Avoid using it more than once a week as it can build up on your dog’s skin and cause irritation.
Is myrrh essential oil safe for dogs?
Yes, this essential oil has many benefits for dogs. Myrrh is an ancient resin with an antiseptic quality, which clears up inflamed patches of skin. It is often applied to areas affected with rashes and other skin irritations.
Use this on our furry friends to help repel ticks. Alleviating teething problems and boosting the immune system are other health benefits myrrh offers to dogs.
Is lavender essential oil safe for dogs?
Dogs should not ingest lavender oil since it contains harmful compounds called linalool and linalyl acetate. These ingredients can be toxic for dogs if consumed in large amounts.
On the other hand, using lavender oil topically or for aromatherapy can be beneficial for dogs. It is known to relieve insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Be sure to dilute lavender oil with a carrier oil before using it on your pooch.
Applying it topically only uses a small amount on the affected area to prevent adverse side effects.
The topical dilution ratio is 10 drops of lavender essential oil to half an ounce of carrier oil. The same ratio can be used for aromatherapy if your dog is experiencing motion sickness.
Is tea tree essential oil safe for dogs?
Tea tree has antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that soothe itchiness and skin irritations in dogs. It is known for repelling pesky fleas and other parasites too.
It is not advisable for dogs to ingest undiluted tea tree oil nor apply it topically in pure form. Side effects of consuming tea tree oil in dogs include vomiting and skin irritations. In severe cases, it can lead to depression or even hind leg paralysis.
It is therefore advised to dilute the oil first before using it on dogs. The recommended safest concentration of tea tree oil is 0.1–1%. For instance, dilute 6 drops of tea tree oil in 30 ml or one ounce of carrier oil.
Is peppermint essential oil safe for dogs?
It is still widely debated if peppermint essential oil is safe for dogs. Some vets discourage pet owners from using it as it can cause toxicity in dogs. They believe that using it in a diffuser or applying it topically is equally harmful to dogs.
Others believe that it is okay to use peppermint essential oil in small amounts when diluted. It is best to stay on the safer side and not use it at all.
Is ylang-ylang essential oil safe for dogs?
Ylang-ylang is dangerous for dogs. Do not be deceived by its sweet scent. It can cause breathing difficulties, weakness, and vomiting in dogs.
Is pine essential oil safe for dogs?
No, pine oil is bad for dogs since it’s a stomach and skin irritant. Dogs may suffer from vomiting and diarrhoea from inhaling or ingesting pine oil. In severe cases, it might cause central nervous system damage and liver damage in dogs.
What are other essential oils safe for dogs?
Below is a list of good and beneficial essential oils for pets:
- Cardamom essential oil
Cardamom has antibacterial properties and serves as a natural diuretic for dogs.
- Cedarwood essential oil
This essential oil is a natural flea repellent and a good remedy for skin problems. For topical use, dilute 1 drop of the oil in 30 drops of carrier oil. By mixing 20 drops of cedarwood oil with 16 ounces of distilled water, you will create an insect repellent spray.
- Clary sage essential oil
Clary sage helps calm down anxious, hyperactive, and nervous dogs.
- Copaiba essential oil
Copaiba helps improve the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular, and nervous system health in dogs. Its topical dilution ratio is 1 drop of copaiba in 30–50 drops of carrier oil. You may also mix this essential oil with your dog’s food. Put 1 drop into his kibble mixed with wet food per 8–12 hours.
- Rosehip seed essential oil
Rosehip seed has healing properties on damaged tissues in dogs. It can be applied to wounds, scars, and abrasions. Repairing and strengthening damaged coat is another benefit this essential oil offers. Keep your dog’s fur shiny and healthy by applying diluted rosehip seed oil on it.
- Sweet marjoram essential oil
Sweet marjoram helps relieves symptoms of nerve pain, diabetes, and depression in dogs.
- Sweet orange essential oil
Sweet orange is a great deodoriser for pooches. It can also be used as a flea repellent.
- Valerian essential oil
Valerian is good for dogs that have trouble sleeping and are suffering from skin conditions.
What carrier oils are safe for dogs?
Carrier oils are used to dilute essential oils. These can either be unscented or scented and don’t interfere with the essential oils’ therapeutic properties. The following carrier oils are safe for our furry pals:
- Coconut oil
- Jojoba oil
- Rosehip oil
- Sunflower oil
- Sweet almond oil
- Kukui nut oil
What are other essential oils dangerous for dogs?
Here are the essential oils that should not be used on your pooch at all costs. They can cause a wide range of health issues in dogs, from skin irritations to essential oil poisoning.
- Citrus essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Lemongrass essential oil
- Anise essential oil
- Basil essential oil
- Sweet birch essential oil
- Yarrow essential oil
- Wintergreen essential oil
- Thyme essential oil
- Clove essential oil
- Citronella essential oil
- Garlic essential oil
- Juniper essential oil
- Pennyroyal essential oil
- Oregano essential oil
- Nutmeg essential oil
- Grapefruit essential oil
- Lemon essential oil
- Lime essential oil
- Myrtle essential oil
Beware of Essential Oil Toxicity
If your dog is vomiting, drooling, lethargic, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, and difficulty walking, these are signs of essential oil toxicity. Bring him to the vet immediately for medical attention.