Essential oils for dogs can come from a wide variety of sources including flowers, stems, roots, bark, and seeds. You can use them for multiple purposes, for example, to relieve stress and anxiety, combat flea infestations, boost energy, treat inflammation and help with skin problems.
In this article, you are going to learn all about essential oils for dogs, and how to use them to boost the overall health and wellbeing of your pet!
What Are Essential Oils for Dogs?
Essential oils are aromatic compounds that occur naturally in different parts of the plant:
The compounds are extracted from plants, capturing the flavor and scent of the plant in the process. The most commonly used methods include cold pressing and distillation because they allow retaining the essence of the plant, something that chemical methods cannot achieve.
Essential oils have been used for centuries due to their medicinal, insecticidal, fungicidal, virucidal and antiparasitic properties, and according to the latest research and evidence, these benefits emerge from the pro-oxidant effects on the cellular level.
However, the difference between essential oils for dogs and humans is that certain oils can be toxic and harmful to our pets. Therefore, you must be extra careful, but worry not, because this guide will allow you to know which essential oils you should use and which ones you should avoid.
Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?
They are safe as long as you use the correct ones. Below you will find a list of oils that are suitable for dogs, as well as a list of oils that you must avoid because they can cause health complications. Therefore, before using the essential oils that you may use for yourself, give this list a careful read to learn more about the benefits and the consequence of toxic oils.
Safe essential oils for dogs
The following oils are safe to use with your pet and they offer a wide myriad of benefits:
- Lavender. Anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties. Great for treating skin problems such as bug bites, burns, and bruises. Excellent for controlling hyperactivity.
- Copaiba. Great for healthy joints, especially for dogs with arthritis or any kind of joint discomfort. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory, restorative and antibacterial properties.
- Petitgrain. It supports a healthy nervous system and has helpful calming and sedative properties. It also boosts the mood, increases energy and supports a healthy cardiovascular system.
- Peppermint. Powerful insect repellent and works very well for killing fleas, ticks, and many other pests. That is why it is widely used by many government agencies as a pest control agent. It is also helpful for treating infections caused by microbes, fungi, and yeast.
- Frankincense. Immune boosting and anti-neoplastic properties. According to this study, thanks to the presence of boswellic acid, it induces apoptosis in cancer cells without affecting healthy ones.
Toxic essential oils for dogs
Avoid the following oils at all costs, because they are harmful and can have life-threatening consequences. The liver is the organ responsible for metabolizing these substances, and as you are going to see, the main issue is liver damage.
- Cinnamon. Not fatal but it can have unpleasant side effects such as skin and digestive irritation, which will make your dog feel uncomfortable.
- Citrus. Citrus oils can be dangerous for your pet because they are known for causing diarrhea, collapse, depression, tremors, light sensitivity, and rashes. In some extreme cases, they can cause liver failure.
- Sweet Birch. This oil contains methyl salicylate, which is very toxic for dogs and can even cause death. It can cause all sort of life-threatening issues such as liver damage, ulcers, and chronic gastrointestinal distress
- Ylang Ylang. This oil is toxic for dogs, and as the liver is in charge of metabolizing it, it can cause serious liver damage when used in big amounts. Nonetheless, in minima quantities, and when combined with other essential oils, it can be helpful
- Wintergreen. This oil contains a big concentration of methyl salicylates, which can cause all sorts of problems ranging from liver and renal failure to gastrointestinal issues and serious ulcers.
- Tea Tree. In small quantities, it does not cause a problem, but when concentrated, such as in essential oil, it is toxic and causes paralysis, depression, ataxia, dermal irritation, vomiting, and sudden hypothermia.
- Pennyroyal. It is highly toxic for dogs because it causes hepatic necrosis, which can manifest in the form of bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Keep your dog away from it.
5 Best Essential Oils for Dogs
Now that you have in your hands a proper background about the topic, it is time to review the best essential oils for dogs in the market. We have picked an oil for treating specific problems such as dog anxiety, flea infestations, sleep issues, and infections.
1. Zen Doggie
Zen Doggie is fabricated by Sit Stay Zen LLC, a holistic and alternative health company from Pennsylvania, USA. It contains a blend of lavender, cardamom, Roman chamomile, frankincense, jojoba, almond, Benzoin and Ylang Ylang.
It is ideal for treating dog anxiety, controlling hyperactivity and dealing with sibling rivalry. It helps to control the emotions and to improve the mood of your dog.
To apply it, you need to put a bandana or collar around the neck of your dog. Then, depending on the weight of your pet, you will have to place a fixed number of drops on the bandana or collar:
- Below 35 pounds: 1 drop
- 35 to 75 pounds: 2 drops
- Beyond 75 pounds: 2-3 drops
According to dog owners, the effects are immediate because it deals with separation anxiety and puts the emotions and mood of your dog under control. Nonetheless, a small number of users did not see noticeable results. However, remember that because essential oils are chemical compounds, not all dogs will react the same to them.
2. Handcraft Peppermint Essential Oil
This product is fabricated by Handcraft Blends, a company from Austin, Texas dedicated to creating aromatherapy and bath & body products. It contains 100% pure and therapeutic-grade peppermint oil. It comes in an amber glass bottle to protect the oil from UV rays, to preserve its structure and effectiveness.
Its main use is to kill fleas, ticks, and mites. Furthermore, it also helps to relieve the pain and itching of bug bites. As we have seen before, peppermint oil when in its purest state, is a powerful insect repellent. Furthermore, it also serves as a stimulant, which is great for boosting the mood of your pet.
You should use it topically, and depending on the size of your pet, the dosage will vary:
- Small breeds: 3-5 drops, preferably diluted in agents like jojoba oil and olive oil
- Big breeds: 5-7 drops, no dilution necessary.
It is one of the most sold products in the category, and according to many buyers, it lives up to its promises. They vouch for the purity and pest-repelling properties of the product. Nonetheless, a small number of reviews point out that the oil is diluted, but no proofs are provided.
3. DoTERRA Lavender Essential Oil
This essential oil is fabricated by DoTERRA, a multi-level marketing company from Utah dedicated to selling essential oils. It features a pure concentration of Lavandula angustifolia, which is known as True Lavender. There are many types of lavender, but this one is the best.
Lavender is widely known for calming down dogs, as well as helping with sleep issues. Therefore, it is great for dogs under tension and stress. It will relieve their mood, to make them feel a lot calmer. In addition, it can be used topically to treat skin rashes and irritation.
The best way to use it is as a spray, and you only need to add 2 drops of DoTERRA Lavender Essential Oil to 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle.
According to reviews, it is effectively True Lavender because it smells like it, and therefore, it offers all the benefits. Nonetheless, it is more expensive than other similar products.
4. Organic Frankincense Essential Oil
This product is fabricated by Cliganic, a company from Walnut, California dedicated to selling skincare products and essential oils. It contains 100% pure and certified organic Frankincense oil (Boswellia Serrata). Free of additives.
Known for its powerful anti–inflammatory and bactericidal properties. You can use it to treat wounds, scars, burns, bug bites, cuts, injuries, contusions and more.
Only use it externally. Add 3-4 drops of Organic Frankincense Essential Oil to 8 ounces of water in a spray bottle and then proceed to apply it topically. Thanks to the German dropper cap that it has, you can control the dosage effectively.
According to reviews, it is clean and pure, and therefore, it complies with its promises. Although, it is worth noting that it has an earthy smell, but it is not much of a concern, because its purity is certified.
5. Artizen Petitgrain Essential Oil
It is fabricated by Artizen, a company from Denver, Colorado dedicated to selling all sorts of essential oils. It features a 100% pure concentration of Petitgrain essential oil. Furthermore, its glass bottle contains a special coating to protect it from UV rays, to preserve its purity.
Thanks to being 100% pure, it will allow your dog to enjoy its sedative, anti-stress and anti-anxiety benefits. It is excellent for treating separation anxiety.
To use it, you should get a bandana or dog collar, apply a few drops on it and then have your dog wear it. Similar to Zen Doggie, you should limit it to 1 drop for small breeds and play around with 2-3 for larger dogs.
According to owners, they can vouch for the purity of the product, which is great news, because it will allow your dog to relieve its separation anxiety and promote the healthy functioning of its nervous system. Nonetheless, the cap can be improved, because it is hard to pen.
What are the advantages of using essential oils for dogs?
You already know that essential oils have excellent properties, and they offer a wide myriad of advantages that will improve the health, mood, and wellbeing of your dog. Furthermore, they can be very helpful for treating certain conditions such as infections and during certain stages like the heat cycle. Therefore, if you want to improve the quality of life of your four-legged friend, then keep reading!
Essential oils like Frankincense and lavender have a high concentration of antioxidants that will help to boost the health of your pet. They will help your dog to slow down the natural aging process and to enjoy great health during all of its life.
As we have seen, oils like copaiba and Petitgrain have important anti-inflammatory qualities, which can help to treat a wide myriad of health issues such as arthritis and infections. If your dog experiences a lot of pain due to autoimmune diseases, then you can use these oils to alleviate its pain.
Help with Bad Smelling Dogs
If your dog has problems with odor, then thanks to odor-suppressing chemicals found in essential oils such as peppermint and lavender you can apply them topically to remove the bad smell. However, you should accompany it with proper grooming and hygiene.
Copaiba and peppermint essential oils have powerful antimicrobial properties. Therefore, they are useful for treating all sort of infections. You should already know that infections are very dangerous because they can evolve into life-threatening issues rapidly.
Help with Breathing Problems
Peppermint oil is excellent for easing up breathing problems, especially in brachycephalic dogs like pugs, boxers, and bulldogs, because they tend to experience issues in their airways. Thanks to peppermint, you can improve their respiratory health considerably.
Help with Dog Anxiety
Petitgrain and lavender are excellent choices for treating dog anxiety thanks to their sedative and mood-improving properties. In this study, they experimented with olfactory stimulation by diffusing peppermint and rosemary, which helped to boost the mood of the dogs in the rescue shelter. It works even in high-stress environments.
Peppermint is ideal for controlling fleas, especially if your dog has a severe case of infestation. Not in vain several flea control products, as well as other pest control solutions use it. You can use it topically to repel fleas and ticks.
Help with Skin Problems
Lavender is wonderful for treating different types of skin problems ranging from rashes to allergies. You can apply it topically to relieve itching and pain. Another alternative would be chamomile because it helps to alleviate skin problems.
What Are The Disadvantages of Using Essential Oils on Dogs?
With so many benefits, it is easy to think that essential oils are perfect, but unfortunately, they have certain cons that you must be aware of. They can cause adverse effects such as allergic reactions, and in special circumstances, they can do more harm than good. Therefore, before using any essential oil, make sure to read their downsides below.
They're chemical compounds
Although many studies vouch for the effectiveness of lavender, peppermint, frankincense, copaiba, and Petitgrain, as well as their safety, you never know how your dog is going to react. They are chemical compounds in the end, and therefore, you should take it easy and apply it in small doses, to supervise how your dog reacts.
The most typical side effect of essential oils are allergic reactions, mainly in the skin. Therefore, you should follow our advice on applying it in small doses to monitor how your dog reacts. If you notice that your pet begins to scratch, then you should suspend the use of the oil, because it is generating an allergic reaction.
Needs to be used with caution on puppies, elderly dogs, and pregnant dogs
Not all dogs are equal, especially when they are vulnerable like puppies, senior dogs, and pregnant dogs. Before using any essential oil on them, you should consult your veterinarian. For example, you should never use stimulating essential oils such as peppermint on pregnant dogs, because they can generate adverse reactions.
As stated before, the highest-quality essential oils are obtained through distilling and cold pressing, and such processes make the product more expensive. Therefore, it is an important investment, especially if you are going to use it internally because you need to get only the best quality for your pet.
Why Are Dog Owners Using Oils on their Dogs?
Dog owners use essential oils due to their properties for treating multiple ailments and conditions such as stress, anxiety, infections, chronic pain, and autoimmune diseases. They are an ideal complement, but before using any of them, especially for delicate health issues, you should consult your vet beforehand.
Furthermore, with essential oils less is more, because only a few drops will do the trick. Applying too much can generate adverse effects. Therefore, it is wiser to remain within the limits, especially if you are using them for the first time. In that case, you must be extra careful.
Dog Essential Oils by Plant Therapy
Using natural health cures such as essential oils can be hugely beneficial to dogs, but we have to make sure these are tested and are safe for our pets. One brand that puts our pet’s health first is PlantTherapy.com. They have recently published a new line of essential oils perfect for your dog, they can even be used on horses too. Let us introduce you to Pup’n’Pony!
Confident K9 is an ideal product to help soothe your dogs who struggle with anxiety. This can not only help your pooch feel better through firework night and separation anxiety but everyday life. This can minimize destructive and negative behaviors such as chewing or scratching up furniture and also decrease barking and howling. This product is perfect to calm your anxious dog and can be used on stressed horses too, to prevent behaviors such as cribbing.
Traveling can be a stressful time for our animals, which is why Plant Therapy created Happy Trails. Motion sickness and anxiety can plague our pets during trips, leading to panting, upset stomachs and unhappy animals. This mix can reduce nausea and stomach-churning along with minimizing stress.
Show Ready is the blend perfect for maintaining a high immune system before, during, and after a show. Preparation and traveling for shows can be stressful and cause your pets to be susceptible to illness. This is where Show Ready comes in to help your animals stay happy and healthy with natural ingredients.
Paw Balm was formulated to moisturize dry, damaged paws and to offer protection from the elements. Paws that are dried out can be extremely uncomfortable for our dogs. We created our Pup & Pony Paw Balm to help soothe, nourish, and comfort irritated and lack-luster paws. This blend of protective beeswax, hydrating carrier oils, and soothing essential oils creates a moisturizing barrier and helps to restore skin health.
Whether it is due to heat, cold weather or long-distance walks, out dog’s paws can become dried out. This can be uncomfortable and even painful for them. Pup & Pony created Paw Balm to soothe irritated skin, aid with healing and give your dog soft paws. This balm contains beeswax, carrier, and essential oils to shield their paws, relieve pain and encourages the skin to mend. How are these essential oils given to your dog in a non-stressful and effective method? Well, plant therapy has designed a collar connected diffuser called Paw Pal. This pendant is crafted with surgical-grade silver stainless steel and is only 30mm, making it easy to attach to your dog’s collar using a lobster clasp. It comes with five multi-color felt pads, to add a splash of color to the accessory. This method is ideal if your dog has sensitive skin. You simply add one diluted drop of your chosen Pup & Pony blend to the pad and your pet will receive beneficial and non-intrusive aromatherapy.
Now you know it all about essential oils for dogs. You know their pros and cons, as well as the best choices in the market and their best uses. Like we said before, always talk with your vet beforehand, to avoid health complications, because after all, they are chemical compounds and they can generate distinct reactions on your dog.