As a society we love our dogs and continue to say no to drugs and want to explore holistic healing opportunities of using essential oils for dogs. Instead of using an anti-anxiety drug on Fido, what if a little lavender could go a long way?
Before you begin, it’s important to ask yourself what essential oils are safe for dogs. Their sense of smell is astronomically stronger than ours, so scents (even natural ones) can have an adverse effect on them. We have highlighted eight (8) essential oils that have been known consistently to make the safe cut for use with dogs plus show various benefits. We’ve also outlined the major offenders, and included a simple summary of how to administer essential oils.
In the same way we look for holistic aids, our beloved companions may also boost their immunity and soothe aches and pains in a natural way.
The eight (8) essential oils featured in this blog article are now available in a specially priced set. Order yours today here.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Most pet aromatherapy products use lavender more than any other essential oil.
One of the nicest ways to apply this essential oil is by applying it to your pup’s ear fur. Gently massage during application and always dilute before with a carrier oil.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha). warm sweet balsam amber spicy scent is anti-inflammatory, antiviral.
Though myrrh works as an excellent anti-inflammatory, it is not safe to be ingested, so it is critical it only be applied to areas your dog can’t lick.
Ginger Root (Zingiber officinale). Smells warm, woody and spicy, our ginger essential oil is of therapeutic quality which is highly recommended for use with your dog. Do not use a low grade ginger essential oil that may have a musty or stale odor.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii). Balsamic, woody, typical olibanum scent.
It is a safe oil to use and most dogs respond positively to it. Frankincense covers all the aspects of pet care, right from wound care and behavior improvement to antibacterial healing.
Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens). Sweet, floral, fresh, calming scent. Geranium essential oil is safe and gentle for dogs.
Despite its powerful calming and healing properties, geranium oil is gentle and safe for dogs to use. As with all essential oils, it’s necessary to dilute the oils so that you are using them at the appropriate strength for your dog’s size.
Carrot Seed (Daucus carota). A woody-earthy, slightly spicy, strong, fruity, warm, herbaceous and musky aroma.
(NOTE: This oil should NOT be used with pregnant dogs.)
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Valerian essential oil has a warm, woody, musky aroma.
Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum marjorana). The aroma of sweet marjoram essential oil is warm, spicy, strong, sweet, herbal.
The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends – to use essential oils with your dogs, there is an easy way to do it safely: First talk to your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will let you know which oils are potentially harmful and can also provide you with information about the best carrier oils to properly dilute essential oils for dogs, as well as appropriate dosages. Essential oils must be used as directed and not all can be used topically on pets. Please consult a veterinarian and/or a holistic veterinarian before using any new essential oils with your pet. When choosing to use any essential oils for your dog further research on each individual oil is always highly recommended.
Do not try to save money and buy cheap “essential oils” that may contain synthetic substances. These oils will not have the therapeutic effects and, even worse, the synthetic substances and chemicals may do harm to your dog. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of using 100% pure essential oils when treating your dog.
There are many techniques for using oils on dogs and other animals.
Balms can be made from blends of a couple drops of oil, carrier oils, and thicker additions such as cocoa or shea butter, and beeswax. These are good for spot treatments on the skin and paw or hoof issues.
Gels are made from silica or aloe vera with a couple drops of oil added and are used for the skin.
Water-based sprays (Hydrosols)
These are great for skin applications, bedding areas, as room sprays, or for calming the animal during travel. For extremely sensitive dogs and small dogs hydrosols are good alternatives to the more potent essential oils. A hydrosol is a water-based substance which is a by-product obtained during the steam distillation process of an essential oil.
Carrier oils can have a couple essential oil drops added, tinctures, hydrosols, and more. These blends can further be added to gels, balms, ointments, or even just applied as is to problem areas. Carrier oils consider safe to use on your dog are: Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sunflower Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Grapeseed Oil.
Whenever you are making a blend to use on a dog, please remember that less is more. A good general guideline is to keep the dilution around 0.5 – 1%. This would be about 2 – 4 drops total of essential oils to each tablespoon of a carrier oil.
We will spend a little more time in the area of dilution ratio for essential oils for dogs. Again – always start with therapeutic grade essential oils, and double-check that you aren’t using an essential oil unsafe for dogs. We emphasize – if any of the oils listed above seem like they can help your pet – please spend extra time researching the specific oil (s) before using on your pet.
Before topical application to a pet’s skin, all essential oils should always be diluted (some oils may say otherwise but always play it safe). A safe ratio is 1 drop of essential oil for 1.5 tablespoon (approx. 445 drops) of carrier oil. This equates to a dilution of approximately 0.25%, which is considered to be be mild and likely agreeable for pets.
A patch test can be done by applying a dime-size amount of the diluted essential oil to an insensitive part of the pet’s body, which depends on the pet. If diffusing an essential oil, ensure that a test-run is conducted by diffusing 1-2 drops of an oil that is vet-approved to be pet-friendly for only 10-15 minutes.
Safety tests should be performed in a large, open space or a large, airy room. During your tests, watch your pet for any irritation, discomfort, or reactions, which may take up to 24 hours to occur and could potentially appear in the form of:
In the absence of a reaction, it is said to be safe to proceed with normal application of the diluted essential oils. Essential oils should be handled in the same manner as other products that can pose potential dangers if mistreated. They should be stored in in an area that is cool, dark, and out of the reach of pets, and they should be used in accordance with their instructions and expiration dates.
When diluting, keep in mind that the pet’s size is a significant factor to take into consideration; a safe dilution for a large dog will not necessarily be safe for a smaller dog, and the same applies to other species. The amount of oil that is recommended to be given to animals that are feeble, old, pregnant, or unwell will not be same amount recommended for healthy animals of the same size.
Based on research, remember this about using essential oils with your pets: LESS IS MORE.
This list is not an all inclusive list of essential oils unsafe for dogs. We continue to emphasize – do your research before using any essential oil considered safe or not on your dog. These essential oils are often reputed to cause skin irritation, breathing difficulties, uncomfortable cooling effects, changes in alertness, weakness or fatigue, stumbling, vomiting, and paralysis, among various other potential effects. This list is not exhaustive:
Aromatherapy refers to the therapeutic use of 100% pure essential oils and hydrosols for holistic treatments of physical and behavioral problems in dogs.
Customer comment in regards to FREE charts available for download.
“My own patients ask me these questions often – so I plan to hang these charts in my office! They also ask about oils for other animals, as this is a heavy farming area. Thank you for offering them!” – HM
*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA or AKC and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease.
Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease. The information provided on this website is for informational purposes. Information is not intended as a substitute for advice from a qualified health care professional that you trust, and should not be construed as individual medical advice. If you are under a doctor’s care, please consult with her/him prior to use of these products. If a condition persists, please contact a qualified health care professional for advice.