What Essential Oils Are Safe For Dogs?

A dog sleeping on a couch.

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Essential oils are in almost everything. Some people diffuse them, while others apply them topically for various issues. However, just because humans like essential oils doesn’t mean that animals do. What essential oils are safe for dogs? Fewer than you might think. Make sure you know how to diffuse oils responsibly so you can keep your entire household safe.

What Is Essential Oil?

Essential oils come straight from plants. They retain the scent of the plant you’re familiar with, which is why citrus essential oil might remind you of the fruit you have in a bowl in your kitchen. Simply put, they’re concentrated plant extracts — which sounds all-natural and great, but certain essential oils are not safe for dogs, just like how the plants themselves may not be dog-friendly.

An essential oil diffuser turns water into mist, which can smell differently depending on the type of essential oil you use. Though the diffuser dilutes the oil, it can still affect your pup — and it could be more negative than you think. Almost anything can be toxic if you use enough of it. Dogs have more sensitive systems you need to watch out for. Consider your pup before you make any huge decisions.

Signs of Essential Oil Poisoning in Pups

Not every essential oil is safe for dogs. They’re definitely not safe for your pup to ingest, and sometimes, applying them topically can cause more harm than good. In that case, if you want to use essential oil around your dogs, you should try a diffuser first. Your dog’s nose is sensitive. Their olfactory sense is strong enough to detect diseases and emotional shifts in humans, so they can definitely smell whatever you’ve put in your diffuser.

It’s risky to apply essential oil to a pet topically, as you may not have a way to tell how much you should use or how it will affect your dog. If anything, you may want to diffuse the oil to release the scent into the air. If you want to apply oils topically, talk to your veterinarian — they’ll be able to guide you in how much to use and how to test it on your pet’s skin.

Remember, just because a dog isn’t allergic to the ingredient doesn’t mean the essential oil is harmless. For example, dogs can eat cinnamon spice in small doses, like in a baked treat, once in a while. However, cinnamon essential oil is toxic to them and can result in tragedy. Many essential oils can cause toxicosis in pets, so you must research what you’re using, or else your dog might experience detrimental symptoms of essential oil poisoning.

Watch out for many physical symptoms, including the following:

  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Excessive drooling
  • Noticeable weakness
  • Trouble breathing

This list isn’t exhaustive, meaning you should keep an eye on your dog all the time to see if they’re behaving differently. You should always research before adding a new scent to your home, and you should also test them out around your pup. 

Run the diffuser for no more than a few minutes the first time you try out a scent. That way, you can keep track of their reactions. When you’re unsure, err on the side of caution and opt not to diffuse. Call a vet immediately once you notice something different.

Best Essential Oils That Are Safe For Dogs

Only some essential oils are safe for dogs. You have to be immensely careful when diffusing in your home, as something that might be generally safe for dogs could affect your individual dog differently. It’s just like how allergens affect people differently.

Before you use a diffuser, make sure there are places your dog can go without the scent. Ensure there’s enough ventilation so neither you nor your dog feel choked by the aroma. Above all else, consult a vet before using something. They’ll let you know anything else that can make the process easier as you test out these essential oils that are safe for dogs.

1. Lavender

Stressed-out pet parents, rejoice! Your calming lavender essential oil doesn’t have to disappear just because you have pets. Diffusing lavender oil is a great way to fill your space with the calm, luxurious scent — and it might even help your pup relax. While you shouldn’t leave your diffuser running when you’re out of the house, having lavender fill your home while you’re present with your dog could help you both enjoy your downtime after a fun-filled day.

Lavender essential oil: $9.99 on Amazon

2. Frankincense

Dog groomers may be familiar with frankincense oil, as it has great properties they can use in their work. Frankincense oil works well as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent, which can promote health throughout a salon full of dogs. Even in your home, you may feel a difference in the energy when using frankincense oil. It’s an easy way to keep your house feeling clean without worrying about how it’ll affect your pet.

Frankincense essential oil: $9.99 on Amazon

3. Myrrh

When applied to the skin, myrrh essential oil can help cure infections. However, when you diffuse it, this oil is similar to frankincense oil in that it has an antiviral and antimicrobial effect. It could come in handy if you have several pets in the home, and it also smells pleasant and could eliminate any stale air you feel in your household.

Myrrh essential oil: $7.99 on Amazon

4. Rosemary

Rosemary essential oil does great things for humans. People might use rosemary oil on their scalp for hair growth or to cleanse a room since rosemary fights bacteria, and because it’s dog-friendly, you may be able to enjoy it in your household, too. Plus, it smells nice — and your dog might think so, too.

Rosemary essential oil: $14.99 on Amazon

Knowing What Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs Can Prevent Injury

Only some essential oils are safe for dogs. You shouldn’t pick something up and assume it’ll be all right because it’s all-natural. In any case, research and consult a vet before diffusing a new essential oil. Take a step further if you plan to introduce essential oils topically to your pet. You want the best life possible for you and your best friend, which may involve sacrificing certain scents for your home. Still, you can use one of the essential oils dogs can tolerate and create a comfortable, inviting atmosphere in your home.

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