Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Essential oils have a variety of uses and can be quite beneficial. And that’s not true for human use alone, as these natural oils found their way to the world of pets as well, and can be used to help eliminate a range of issues such as skin irritations, allergies, and fleas, and to boost the overall health of your dog’s coat. But, while there are plenty of pet products that contain essential oils, many owners are wondering: are essential oils really safe for dogs? It is a good question, so let’s try and find the right answer.

Essential Oils for Dogs: The Basics

While some essential oils can be safe for dogs, it's important to use them with caution. Dogs have a more sensitive sense of smell than humans, so strong scents can be overwhelming, even if they are of natural origin. Certain essential oils, like lavender and chamomile, are generally considered safe in small amounts and when properly diluted. That being said, it is important to know what you are buying and to find essential oils that are made for pets especially. These are likely to be properly diluted and formulated to be safe for dogs. 

Essential oils can have various effects on dogs, both positive and negative. Some oils, like the aforementioned lavender and chamomile, may help with relaxation and anxiety, and help your pet sleep easier. On the other side, specific oils such as tea tree, citrus, and peppermint can be harmful to dogs and should be avoided.

When using essential oils around dogs, it's crucial to dilute them properly. Always dilute essential oils before using them around your dog. Most experts recommend a ratio of 1:50, meaning one drop of essential oil to 50 drops of carrier oil. Of course, you should always observe your dog's reactions. Watch for signs of distress or discomfort in your dog when you introduce a new essential oil. If you notice any adverse reactions, stop using the oil immediately.

Ultimately, you should be wary of the application methods you are using. Avoid applying essential oils directly to your dog's skin. Instead, diffuse them in the air or use a diffuser. You can also add a few drops to your dog's collar or bedding if the goal is to deter parasites. 

Needless to say, it goes a long way to properly familiarize yourself with essential oils and how they are used in the dog world. You can go in-depth with  a book that specializes in this topic, and gain the ultimate knowledge about these helpful oils before utilizing these natural products for your pet’s well-being. 

Of course, it is crucial to always follow instructions and use the essential oils as the manufacturer instructed. So don’t skip on that fine print and read the proper diluting instructions. If you are not too keen on the idea of mixing and diluting your own essential oil mixes for pet use, you can always opt for premade. Personally, I love the  Thundershirt’s blend of calming essential oils for dogs, as it is effective and easy to use – it comes in a spritz bottle you can take with you on the go and make car rides stress-free and calm your pet at the vet’s office, for example. 

In the end, you should remember that in the realm of essential oils and dogs, a little caution goes a long way, especially when you’re concocting different mixes on your own. When used thoughtfully and under professional guidance, these oils can enhance your doggo's well-being, creating a harmonious environment for both of you, but if you don’t follow the official recommendations, essential oil use can end up being counterproductive.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

More by Angela Vuckovic