For us humans, essential oils have helped us deal with anxiety and stress, and even soothe physical issues like inflammation and skin problems. Could these plant extracts help our furkids as well? The use of essential oils for our dogs can be quite confusing. Just because they’re plant-based and all natural, it doesn’t mean that they’re gentle enough to use on pets. Some are actually toxic for them! In this post, let’s take a quick look at what these concentrated plant extracts can do for your furkids.

Are Essential Oils Safe to Use With Dogs?

According to aromatherapist and educator Charlynn Avery, essential oils are highly concentrated, volatile plant extracts that are obtained through a host of extraction methods from plant parts that are the most aromatic. For example, rose oil and citrus oil are extracted from rose petals and citrus rinds respectively. But it’s not as simple as that. The reason why essential oils are expensive is because of the big quantities of plants involved and the amount of care that goes into one small bottle. Rover.com revealed that seven pounds of lavender oil are extracted from 220 pounds of lavender!

Being natural isn’t always regarded as safe. Because of their high concentration, essential oils are very powerful and best used for aromatherapy only when it comes to your furkids. That means using them topically is not recommended, and if there is a need to do so, the essential oils should be diluted in carrier oil first. Just to be safe, it’s best to call your vet and ask about the use of these products.

Why Are Essential Oils Good For Dogs?

Just as oils are useful in healing humans, our furry pals can benefit from their therapeutic properties as well. From physical ailments to anxiety disorders, essential oils can be used with a water diffuser at home to target your dogs’ specific illnesses. Spearmint, for example, is wonderful in helping you manage your pet’s weight effectively.

Some vets who used essential oils themselves have integrated their love for these oils with their practice. Try sitting in their clinic’s waiting room with your dog and you’ll suddenly get a whiff of lavender! Essential oils that are safe for dogs are also used to get rid of harmful bacteria, nasty odor, car sickness, and much more.

List of Safest Essential Oils to Use

High quality essential oils have powerful healing effects to help your dogs fight illnesses. But it’s important to choose only those that are safe for your dogs. To help ease your pet’s suffering, here’s the list of safe essential oils you should be keeping on hand:

  • Lemon – Uplifting scents like lemon oil is perfect for dogs who have moved from one home to another. The poor dogs lose confidence in themselves in the process of home hopping. Lemon acts as a clarifying stimulant that clears mental confusion and increases confidence and trust in dogs.
  • Frankincense – Although it comes with the warning that it can cause hypertension, this essential oil is one of the most popular among dog lovers. There have been cases in which frankincense has helped with cancer. It works best for the immune system and has helped in reducing tumors and external ulcers.
  • Lavender – This all-around gentle oil is soothing and acts as a mild sedative, aids in healing wounds, keeps anxiety and stress at bay, reduces hyperactivity and targets hotspots and fungal infections.
  • Cedarwood – Best known for its woody scent, this calming oil is perfect for repelling pests and fleas. Using cedarwood oil with a diffuser can be used as a decongestant and an expectorant for kennel cough.
  • Helichrysum – The powerful properties of this oil are known to reduce inflammation, heal animal bites, clear lungs and aid in soothing anger.
  • Chamomile – This essential oil is one of the best non-toxic solutions for skin irritations and allergic reactions.
  • Cardamom – If you prefer a more natural approach to healing your pet’s peeing problem, this diuretic and anti-bacterial can greatly ease his suffering.
  • Spearmint – Is your dog a bit on the heavy side? Not a problem! Use spearmint oil to help reduce his weight. Colicky furkids and those experiencing nausea and diarrhea can benefit from this plant extract.

Watch Out For These Dangerous Essential Oils

Not everything that’s natural is good for our furkids. Some of these essential oils are toxic to our pets, and should not be used in your home at all. The following are essential oils that are dangerous for dogs:

  • Wintergreen
  • Melaleuca (Tea Tree)
  • Birch
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Cassia
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Pine

How to Use Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

When it comes to using essential oils for your dogs at home, their safety should always come first. The rule of thumb is to always use therapeutic grade essential oils. Here’s a quick guide to using them:

  1. Less is more when it comes to essential oils. The recommended ratio would be 3 to 6 drops of essential oil to 1 oz or 30ml of carrier oil.
  2. Make sure to dilute if you plan to use it for topical use.
  3. Always consult your vet before using any of the essential oils even if they are on the safe list.
  4. Proceed with caution when using on pregnant or nursing dogs, puppies, and senior dogs.
  5. Watch out for skin irritation such as itching and red blotches, excessive salivation, vomiting, weakness, muscle tremors, and low body temperature. These are symptoms of essential oil poisoning in dogs. Call the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) or veterinarian ASAP.
  6. When using a diffuser for aromatherapy, make sure your pet is able to roam freely with the door open to another room.
  7. Avoid using on the genital area, eyes, ears, and nose.
  8. When using oils for the first time, start out with more diluted essential oils.
  9. Know your pet well. Every dog is different and yours might be slightly more sensitive than his buddies.
  10. Never add these oils to your dog’s food and drinking water.

Final Thoughts

Because our dogs are more sensitive to essential oils compared to us, it’s of utmost importance to ask the vet first before using aromatherapy and therapeutic grade oils on your dogs. Are you well-versed on using these products on your dogs? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.