Many advocates of holistic and natural health push the use of essential oils for our pets as well as ourselves, but are they really safe?
Personally, I believe that modern medicine certainly has its benefits, but I also believe that natural medicine can bring other options to the table.
As a puppy mill puppy, Jet had a rather weak immune system. He was sick often and he didn’t always tolerate modern medicine as well as a healthier dog would. For this reason, I was always trying to balance modern and traditional medicine to ease his symptoms without adding new ones.
Are Essential Oils Safe For Dogs?
Essential oils play a considerable part in holistic and natural medicine, but much of the research on the use of essential oils targets human patients rather than dogs. Unfortunately, dogs don’t always mirror human tolerance when it comes to specific substances, so this can make things a little tricky. What is safe for you in terms of natural medicine, is not always safe for your dog.
So today, I want to do a quick run through of some of the most commonly used essential oils and talk about their safety for your dogs based on common opinion.
What To Know About Using Essential Oils Around Your Dog
First, let’s cover some basic things you need to know about using essential oils around your dog.
- ALWAYS dilute essential oils when exposing your dog to them (1% dilution for psychological applications, 2% for physical applications).
- DON’T use essential oils as preventative medicine for your dog.
- DON’T allow your dog to consume essential oils in any manner.
- DON’T use essential oils on puppies under 10-weeks old.
- ALWAYS store essential oils according to their instructions to prevent negative reactions in the oils themselves.
- Cats have DIFFERENT sensitivities compared to dogs, just because an essential oil is safe for your dog does not mean that it’s safe for your dog!
- Be aware of your dog’s size, small dogs require less exposure to scent than large dogs!
- Use only high quality, therapeutic grade essential oils with your dog.
- ALWAYS keep other household pets in mind when using essential oils, make sure oils are safe for exposure for ALL of your pets!
How to Dilute Essential Oils For Your Dog
Essential oils (we prefer Plant Therapy brand!) can be applied topically or used in inhalation aromatherapy. In both cases, it’s important to dilute the oils so that they are not overpowering for your dog.
To dilute essential oils to 1% add 6 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil.
To dilute essential oils to 2% add 12 drops of essential oil to 1 oz of carrier oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is a good carrier oil option.
Essential Oils For Dogs: Safe Vs Unsafe
The list of safe vs unsafe essential oils below has been compiled using a variety of reputable online sources HOWEVER please do your own research on safety based on your individual dog. There is a very good flyer on aromatherapy safety for pets from NAHA located here.
Essential Oils that are Safe For Dogs
- Angelica Root
- Carrot Seed
- Chamomile (both Roman and German)
- Clary Sage
- Sweet Orange
Essential Oils / Herbs that are NOT Safe For Dogs (Avoid Skin Exposure and Ingestion!)
- Bitter Almond
- Oil of cinnamon
- Crested Lavender
- Red or White Thyme
- Sweet birch
- Tea tree (Melaleuca)
- Ylang ylang
*Note – skin exposure and ingestion are dangerous, olfactory exposure can also cause irritation and should be avoided whenever possible.