Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs?

by Bella Martinez March 24, 2021

Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs?

We at EG, are receiving more questions than ever about which essential oils are safe for pets. Keeping our families safe (pets included) while integrating healing essential oils into our lives is something we all strive for. So we decided to compile a list of some of the best essential oils for dogs, so you can know exactly which oils can help your pups live their best lives. 

To ensure your pet’s safety, be sure to check with your dog’s vet or a holistic veterinarian before using essential oils.

Essential Oils To Avoid With Dogs

Animals, including dogs, metabolize essential oils differently than humans. Certain essential oils are not safe for use around dogs, because they’ve been shown to produce negative side effects. These essential oils include, but are not limited to:

  • Birch Oil

  • Cajeput Oil

  • Camphor Oil

  • Cassia Oil

  • Celery Seed Oil

  • Cinnamon Oil (All)

  • Citronella Oil

  • Clove Bud Oil

  • Eucalyptus Oil (All)

  • Fir Needle Oil

  • Juniper Berry Oil

  • Nerolina Oil

  • Niaouli Oil

  • Oregano Oil

  • Peppermint Oil

  • Pine Oil

  • Rosalina Oil

  • Rosemary Oil (All)

  • Sage Oil

  • Spearmint Oil

  • Spike Lavender Oil

  • Spruce Oil

  • Tea Tree Oil

  • Thyme Oil (All)

  • Wintergreen Oil

Safety Considerations

From the outside, it’s clear that animals and humans have different exteriors. But as it turns out, our insides aren’t quite similar either. As previously mentioned, dogs have unique physiology, and cannot metabolize most essential oils like we can and it’s why we must be careful with how we use essential oils around dogs. 

And just as essential oil blends for humans aren’t always one-size-fits-all, essential oil blends for dogs should often be tailored to their individual needs and concerns. For example, if you find a blend for dogs online, does it specify what size dog the blend was made for? Or perhaps, offers adjustments to the blend based on your dog’s weight? If not, how are you to know if the blend will benefit both a Great Dane and a Chihuahua? 

Therefore, when choosing which oils to use with your pup, keep the following in mind.

Your dog’s:

  • Age

  • Size

  • Medical history

  • Allergies

  • Needs

Safe Essential Oils For Dogs

Fear not! There are still so many essential oils that can be enjoyed around your dog, including:

Essential Oils Your Dog Will Love

We all need a little more goodness in our lives–pups included. Here are some of our favorite essential oils we use to help soothe these common, doggone problems. 

Copaiba

If you could only own two dog-friendly oils, they should be Lavender and Copaiba. Highly regarded in Veterinary Aromatic Medicine for its ability to ease joint discomfort and reduce inflammation, Copaiba is a great topical oil for your pup. A 3-5% dilution is recommended for achy joints. 

Copaiba essential oil has a subtle, pleasant aroma for sensitive dogs. It’s also a skin-loving oil and can be used added to a salve of soy wax and a carrier oil for cuts and wounds, or diluted and added to their bath to help resolve dry or stinky skin. 

 

Clary Sage

Cooling and herbal, Clary Sage can be paired with Geranium and applied topically for relief on hot days. This oil is immensely calming and sedative, much like Lavender. It’s pleasant, herbal aroma is enjoyed by humans and pooches alike. Dilute Clary Sage to .5%, transfer to a spray bottle and apply to your dog’s fur. 

 

Geranium

Floral and sweet, Geranium is antifungal and cooling. A good oil for topical application when the temperatures are skyrocketing. Anecdotally, it’s also said to deter ticks. Dilute Geranium to .5% in Neem oil, transfer to a spray bottle and apply to your dog’s coat. 

 

Lavender

Just as Lavender essential oil has a gamut of purposes for humans, this all-purpose oil is great for dogs too. Calming, sedative, anti-itch and wound healing, diluted Lavender oil should be in everyone’s arsenal – dog owner or not. 

 

Rose

Have an anxious or skittish dog? Then choose Rose. Calming and skin-soothing, Rose is a treat to the senses (both yours and your dog’s). Try applying a diluted drop to your dog’s collar. 

 

Sweet Orange

Citrusy and uplifting, Sweet Orange is a good choice when your dog is in the care of others and possibly missing you. Sweet Orange is also emotionally supportive when your dog is down in the dumps or fearful.

How To Use Essential Oils With Dogs

After choosing oils to use around your four-legged friend, follow these safety tips to ensure the wellbeing of everyone in your home. 

The most important thing we want to stress is that your pets do not have a voice and cannot tell you when something is hurting them. A major sign to watch out for would be behavioral differences, such as whining, scratching or acting loopy. These types of signs are a red flag and a prime reason to stop using EOs around them.

With that said, here are some of our top dog-safe essential oil tips. 

  1. Don’t use essential oils on or around puppies under 6 months old.

  2. Don’t use essential oils on or around small dogs, such as Chihuahuas, Boston Terriers and Dachshunds, frequently.

  3. Don’t use essential oils on or around pregnant or nursing dogs.

  4. Start with low dilutions when topically applying oils that are new-to-your-dog, such as 1 drop in 30 ml of coconut oil should do the trick.

  5. Don’t apply essential oils to sensitive areas such as the nose, mouth, snout, ears, privates, etc. 

  6. Don’t use essential oils undiluted.

  7. Don’t administer essential oils via oral route.

And with a sense of smell 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than human’s, animals are more affected by essential oil diffusion than one might think. What this means is that diffusing 10-15 drops of essential oil in your Ultrasonic Diffusers is like diffusing 100,000 drops of essential oil or more to your pets.

When diffusing around your dog, follow these guidelines:

  1. Keep your oil diffuser out of your dog’s reach.

  2. Diffuse in a well-ventilated area.

  3. Ensure your dog has the ability to remove itself from the area of diffusion (leave doors opened).

  4. If an adverse reaction occurs, discontinue use and seek medical attention from a veterinarian.

  5. Diffuse for 10-15 minutes intermittently.

  6. Opt for a passive diffuser, such as the Reed Diffuser.

When In Doubt

You can still enjoy aromatherapy to the fullest if you’re feeling iffy about using essential oils around your pup. Apply your essential oils topically, diffuse in an area your dog isn’t present, or reach for a personal pocket inhaler filled with your favorite blend. Use these aromatherapy techniques and you’ll soon find you can have the best of both worlds. 

Sources:

  1. Holland Azzaro, Kelly Holland Azzaro. “Animal Aromatherapy Essential Oil Safety.” Essential Oil Safety, 2016, pp. 1–11, cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0380/8537/files/Animal_Aromatherapy_Safety_Update_2016.pdf?v=1613539044.

  2. Shelton, Melissa Dvm. “Copaiba — Essential Oil for Canine Joint Discomfort.” Animal Wellness Magazine, 7 Sept. 2018, animalwellnessmagazine.com/copaiba-essential-oil-canine-joint-discomfort.  

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13 comments

Edens Garden

May 3, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Hi Melanie! You can learn more about using essential oils safely with cats here: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0380/8537/files/Animal_Aromatherapy_Safety_Update_2016.pdf?v=1613539044

Melanie Mitchell

May 3, 2021 at 2:21 pm

What About Cats? Are there any differences between those that can be used for cats vs. dogs?

Edens Garden

April 21, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Hi Serena! I would check with your dog’s vet on this before trying it.

Serena Maughan

April 21, 2021 at 4:13 pm

Great article. I have a dog that has seizures. He is on 2 rx medications and still has 2 seizures a month. I have him take a quick smell of lavender
at night and when he is anxious. I’ve heard about Cbd oil for seizures. Would hemp be ok for him to take a quick sniff of before he sleeps? Most of his seizures happen during the night. Thanks in advance.

Stephanie Correnti

March 24, 2021 at 1:39 pm

I have heard that Copaiba is not safe for dogs. Do you have a reference you could share that says differently? Thanks kindly.

Candis J Lipe

March 24, 2021 at 11:25 am

Great article. Can you write one for cats too?

Meg

March 24, 2021 at 11:25 am

I’ve been looking for a comprehensive guide for EOs with dogs! Until now, it’s just been trial and error. For instance, I’ve discovered that diffusing Birch gives my dog severe hay fever/allergies. On the other hand, whenever I diffuse Rose, she comes running into the room, settles down in her favorite nap spot, points her nose at the diffuser, and just snoozes and snoozes.

Sherrie

March 24, 2021 at 8:03 am

I received a link to this article today in an email & the timing could not have been more perfect! We recently adopted an 11 mo GSD (& we have a 7 yo one as well). I’d been thinking about how EO’s could be benefiting or harming them. I printed this out for future reference! Thank you SO very much!

Cinthyia

March 24, 2021 at 8:03 am

Cats???

Chelsea

March 24, 2021 at 8:03 am

So the oils marked unsafe for pups, are they unsafe in all applications? I know topically would be a big no-no, but what about when diffusing? Or can they be diffused in very small amounts?

Amanda Alexander

March 24, 2021 at 8:03 am

That doggie in the photo looks just like my doggie 🥰

Annette Stallings

March 24, 2021 at 8:03 am

Thank you, thank you for compiling this information. So many users don’t realize the detrimental effects diffusing just any oil can have on their pets.

Dominique Lasnier

March 24, 2021 at 8:04 am

Ces huiles essentielles sont -ils juste pour les chiens ou ont peu les utilisés sur les chats?Merci!