7 Natural Essential Oils For Dogs
Essential oils are the concentrated liquid found in plants that contain the aromatic compounds. These oils are said to contain the “essence” of the plant and they can provide a number of health benefits. Essential oils play an important role in aromatherapy and other alternative medicine practices for humans, but they can also be used for dogs.
These natural remedies are a great solution for those that are looking to address minor health concerns ranging from skin conditions and arthritis to anxiety and depression. Some pet owners even use essential oils to create their own natural flea and tick prevention in place of the chemical-heavy options that are commercially available. While there isn’t a lot of scientific research available regarding the effectiveness of essential oils, their growing popularity has been fueled by the many positive experiences shared by those that have chosen to go this route.
If you are going to incorporate essential oils into your dog’s care, especially for the treatment of health conditions, it is recommended that you consult with a holistic veterinarian. These professionals are knowledgeable about the most up to date information available regarding the use of essential oils and how to use them effectively as part of a larger care plan.
The Risks of Essential Oils
Before moving onto to discuss which essential oils you should consider for your dog’s health and well-being, we should take a moment to discuss the potential risks and concerns. The term ‘natural’ does not necessarily mean that a product is safe. There are many oils that are dangerous and toxic for your dog. This includes some oils that are safe for human use but not for our pets.
Essential oils are extremely potent, meaning just a few drops can have a major impact. A high dosage could cause long-term health problems when metabolized by the liver, especially for older dogs, dogs with liver disease and young puppies.
Don’t forget that your dog has an incredibly strong sense of smell. This means that any essential oils being diffused will be significantly stronger for them. You may find the scent level to be tolerable, but that may not be your dog’s experience. If you use too much, it may even have the exact opposite effect on your pup. For example, a strong diffusion of an oil for stress or anxiety relief could cause your dog stress.
This isn’t to say that you can’t or shouldn’t use essential oils. However, it highlights the importance of gathering the necessary knowledge before you get started!
Signs of Oil Toxicity in Dogs
If you are going to use essential oils on or around your dog, you should familiarize yourself with the signs of oil toxicity (or essential oil poisoning) and how to react appropriately. Common signs of oil toxicity include excessive drooling, trouble walking (staggering or stumbling), weakness, difficulty breathing, vomiting, and skin irritation.
The moment that you notice any of these signs, you should remove exposure to the oil. For oils that have been applied topically, you should wash the area to remove as much as possible. If you have been diffusing an oil, turn off the diffuser and get your dog outside or to fresh air. Call your veterinarian and explain in detail your concerns including what oil(s) you were using and how you were using it. They will let you know how to best proceed.
Related: 6 Natural Flea Remedies For Dogs
Check Out These 7 Dog-Friendly Natural Essential Oils
Below you will find a list of seven essential oils that are safe for dogs as well as a brief description of their use.
There are two types of chamomile essential oil – German and Roman. German chamomile has anti-inflammatory benefits which can be good for your dog’s skin and coat – it may help to reduce allergic reactions. Roman chamomile helps to calm nerves and it may also reduce teething pain, cramps, and muscle pain.
Certified USDA organic, this therapeutic grade essential oil is one of the finest on the market. Made from 100 percent pure German chamomile, this is a pure oil- so you might want to dilute it in a carrier oil if you are worried about potency. You can put a few drops in your pet’s homemade shampoo or DIY flea repellent spray- as the soothing effect of this plant is great for irritated skin.
Our choice: Gya Labs Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
The gentle and soothing Roman Chamomile is a great anti-anxiety aid as the calming scent of this essential oil is certain to help your pooch unwind. This pure roman chamomile therapeutic grade essential oil is made from steam distilled plants sourced from Italy and it’s of the highest quality. Use in a diffuser when your pooch is restless!
This essential oil can be used in its natural form or you can dilute it with a carrier oil. Lavender essential oil can help to treat allergies, ulcers, burners, anxiety and car sickness. Another benefit of lavender essential oil is that it can help calm your dog’s nerves.
Our choice: Cliganic USDA Organic Lavender Essential Oil
With an organic certificate from USDA, this is one of the purest, best lavender oils there is. Non-diluted, free of chemicals, and made with highest-quality lavender, this therapeutic grade essential oil will be a welcome ingredient in natural insect repellents or as a holistic calming aid.
This essential oil is an anti-spasmodic – it also helps to stimulate circulation which can benefit your dog’s skin and coat. Peppermint essential oil can treat motion sickness, arthritis, and it can even repel insects.
Our choice: Artizen Peppermint Essential Oil
100 percent pure, undiluted, and therapeutic grade, this peppermint essential oil offers great value for money. Dilute it with a carrier oil or use as one of the ingredients in a homemade, natural insect repellent spray- in either case, a little of this oil goes a long way. Just a heads up – these bottles are pretty big in comparison to the rest (the smallest is 1oz) so if you’re looking to try it out, you might want something with less product.
This essential oil is a natural diuretic but it also has anti-bacterial benefits as well. Cardamom essential oil can help soothe nausea, treat cough, and normalize your dog’s appetite if he is eating less than usual.
Our choice: Edens Garden Cardamom Essential Oil
Made from natural, non-toxic ingredients and nothing else, the invigorating cardamom essential oil could be the perfect companion for your pet-friendly road trips. Pour a few drops of the oil on a piece of cloth and leave in your car near the seat your pooch is using- the invigorating scent could help him feel less nauseous from the drive.
In some cases, frankincense essential oil has been shown to improve immune system health and it has even been beneficial in some cases of cancer. This essential oil also helps to reduce ulcers and to increase blood supply to the brain.
Our choice: Handcraft Blends Frankincense Essential Oil
Easy to dose, this premium therapeutic grade frankincense oil comes in a glass bottle with a glass dropper. The quality of the oil is superb and it is bottled in an FDA approved facility so you can rest assured that the highest standards for quality and safety are being met.
This essential oil primarily helps to break up toxins and excess fluid in bodily tissues. Fennel essential oil also helps to balance the pineal, thyroid, and pituitary glands.
Our choice: Plant Therapy Fennel Essential Oil
Steam distilled from the seeds of the Fennel plant, this pure, undiluted therapeutic grade essential oil has many uses and even its scent can be beneficial enough to make it interesting to pet owners. The sweet and spice fragrance is said to have a calming and mood lifting effect. Always make sure to dilute with a carrier oil (coconut oil, olive oil, etc) as this is pure essential oil!
This essential oil has natural anti-bacterial properties and it may help to reduce bleeding. Helichrysum essential oil may help repair nerve cells as well as skin cells to speed healing.
Our choice: Essence-Lux Helichrysum Essential Oil
Natural, undiluted, and therapeutic grade, this healing helichrysum oil is made through the process of steam distillation. You can be sure that the best of the plant is preserved this way- and your pooch gets to reap those many benefits.
While essential oils can have a variety of benefits for your dog, you do need to be careful about how you use them. For one thing, you should only use therapeutic-grade oils that you purchase from a reputable source. It is also important to note that while many oils are safe for humans to use in their natural forms, dogs have a more sensitive sense of smell so diluting the oil with a carrier oil is typically recommended. Before you use any essential oils on your dog it is always a good idea to contact your veterinarian – this is especially true if your dog is taking medications as the oils may be contraindicated.
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Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.
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