Are essential oils bad for dogs? which essentials oils are harmful to dogs?

Are essential oils bad for dogs? Well-established research has shown that essential oils can be poisonous to dogs. However, when used correctly are safe to use. Start reading to find out more.
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The application of essential oils has gradually become popular in recent years. But it seems like every day, there is a new horror story about essential oils and dogs. 

Naturally, a legitimate question arises, are essential oils bad for dogs?

Well-established research has shown that essential oils can be poisonous to dogs. Whether they are applied to the skin, taken internally, or just inhaled, exposure to some of these oils can cause serious health issues in dogs. However, when used correctly are healthy and safe to use.

We have researched and put together this guide on essential oils for dogs, so you can read and keep your furry companions happy and healthy. 

So, let’s get started.

What Are Essential Oils?

This article will take a closer look at everything you need to know about essential oils for dogs before choosing anyone for your dog use. 

Essential oils are extracted from very concentrated plant materials. These oils are popular in complementary and alternative medication, including home air fresheners. 

There are many types of essential oils, each with its own unique physical and chemical properties.

Not all vegetation produces these oils, but the oil can be derived from different plant sections for those that produce them. Such as the roots, stem, leaves, flowers, and fruit.

Are Essentials Oils Bad for Dogs?

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Unfortunately, the answer to whether essential oils are bad for dogs is more complex than saying “yes” or “no.” while they are 100 percent pure, essential oils can be hazardous for dogs. At the same time, many others are safe and healthy to use.

If your dog comes in contact with or ingests these oils, you may notice some of the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Drooling
  • Burns on the lips, gums, tongue, and skin
  • Muscle tremors
  • Low body temperature
  • Lethargy or weakness

You probably will notice diarrhea and vomiting only if your dog ingests the oils. Low body temperature is common in severe cases. But any combination of these symptoms should send warning signs that your dog has consumed essential oils.

Uses of Essential Oils 

Essential oils can be used on your dog in the same way that they are used on humans. 

When used correctly, these oils can benefit your dog’s health as they help reduce anxiety and improve overall health. 

For comfortable and easy application, rub the oils between your hands until the shine disappears, and then apply it by stroking your dog.

For easier application on hard-to-reach areas, mix essential oils and water in a spray bottle. 

Shake the bottle firmly before each use, as oil and water don’t mix. 

Once the water and oil are mixed-well together, the oil can be sprayed onto a cloth and rubbed on the dog’s fur or sprayed directly onto your dog.

Dogs can ingest essential oils, but you should follow some general rules before serving an oil-infused meal to your dogs. 

We advise that you consult a veterinarian before administering the oils internally to your dog. 

You should not attempt to mix essential oils with your dog food unless directed by your veterinarian.

What Are The Benefits of Essential Oils for Dogs?

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  1. Anxiety and Aggression – It can be a very difficult task to address anxiety and aggression problems in dogs. Fortunately, some great oils like chamomile, lavender, and sandalwood can help reduce these problems and calm your dog’s agitation.
  2. Older Pets: While we love our furry pals, getting old is not always easy. For dogs with arthritis pain, peppermint and ginger essential oils can help solve the problem.
  3. Allergies and irritated skin: These are pretty common in our furry companions, just like in humans. Lavender, cedarwood, and niaouli are great remedies for itchy and dry skin.
  4. Fleas and ticks: It is a constant battle in dogs to repel insects like ticks and fleas. So, instead of using harsh chemical drops that irritate your dog’s sensitive skin, use oils like cedarwood, geranium, and pine to keep these harmful pests away.

What Are The Risks of Essential Oils for Dogs?

Essential oils have been used for years because of their healing properties. The oils are fragrant because they evaporate quickly. 

However, the recent popularization of essential oil diffusers has raised concerns about dog’s safety. 

So, the following are some of the risk factors involved when using essential oils for dogs.

Topically application of Essential oils can irritate your dog’s skin. This is counterproductive in treating skin conditions and can make your dog more uncomfortable. Therefore, it is best to avoid using essential oils directly on your furry pals without proper professional direction.

The chemicals in these oils are quickly absorbed into the system, either orally or through the skin, and are metabolized by the liver. So, essential oils can be problematic for puppies, elderly dogs, and dogs with liver disease.

If your dog accidentally licks Essential oils, it could upset her digestive system. Don’t leave essential oils where your dog can get them. If your dog ingests essential oils, make sure you contact your veterinarian or poison control center immediately.

Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs?

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Essential oils have all kinds of benefits for both dogs and humans. They are formulated with positive aromatherapy benefits for pets and people. 

Though there are many different oils on the market to help you make the right choice, the following are some essential oil products for dogs that can do wonders for their health. 

#1 Lavender Oil (Lavandula Angustifolia)

This is a very popular oil for both dogs and humans. Its usages are broad and can be very effective in its application. One of the primary usages of this essential oil is its anti-anxiety effects. 

Lavender oil is an important oil for pups that are new to essential oils. It is considered one of the best essential oils, providing a calming effect and creating a sense of peace and harmony for dogs.

#2 Cedarwood Oil (Cedrus Atlantica)

This oil is particularly useful if your dog has a cough. It is an expectorant, which means that it helps loosen mucus and is especially good for kennel cough. It can as well be used in massage oil, as it improves blood circulation to aching muscles, functions as a calming agent, and promote hair growth.

#3 Frankincense Oil (Hemani Olibanum)

This oil has anti-bacterial properties. It encourages a sense of calm and confidence in your dog. In addition, Frankincense oil supports the digestive system and helps to deal with an upset stomach. The most important is its potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral properties. It also helps to strengthen your dog’s immune system.

#4 Chamomile Oil (Anthemis Nobilis)

In addition to its pleasant smell, chamomile oil helps relieve psychological and mental stress in dogs. It also relieves an upset stomach. If you have a fearful or shy dog, a little chamomile oil can help your furry pal learn to socialize better at the local dog park.

Which Essential Oils Are Bad for Dogs?

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Which Essentials oils are harmful to dogs? Let’s find out.

Some essential oils are absolute toxins for our dogs. These oils can cause shortness of breath, skin irritation, tiredness, vomiting, stumbling, and even paralysis. The following are some of the essential oils that are bad for dogs.

#1 Pine Oil

People usually use this as a natural cleaner, sanitizer, and treatment for painful muscles. It is advisable to keep it away from your dogs as much as possible

#2 Wintergreen

Wintergreen oil contains salicylate, a component used to treat pain and muscle aches. Some pet owners have used wintergreen oil on their dogs’ arthritic joints in hopes of easing their dog’s pain. But scientists say this oil is not suitable for dogs.

#3 Citrus Oils

Many dog owners believe that citrus oil is good for dogs since they are found in different kind of shampoos, conditioners, and sprays intended to repel fleas. Puppies, smaller dogs, and senior dogs are sensitive to D-limonene present in citrus oils. 

#4 Pennyroyal

This oil is commonly used as an ingredient in lotions meant to treat flea infestations. When they are exposed to dogs, they can quickly begin to show signs of toxicity such as hepatic necrosis, vomiting blood, liver necrosis, and worse – death.

What Are The Symptoms of Poisoning in Pets?

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Dog owners should watch their pets for the following symptoms of essential oil poisoning. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek veterinary treatment immediately. Prompt treatment is the key to prevent severe and long-lasting problems.

#1 Gastrointestinal Upset

The Symptoms to watch for are vomiting, drooling, diarrhea.

#2 Dermatologic Irritation

Symptoms can include watery eyes, running nose, red skin, drooling, red lip or gum, and pawing at the face.

#3 Central Nervous System Problem 

Symptoms of this problem include wobbliness or difficulty standing, depression or lethargy, behavior changes, muscle weakness, or tremors. 

Severe cases can lead to collapse, paralysis of the hind limbs, seizures, hypothermia, bradycardia, and hypotension.

#4 Liver Damage

Symptoms include increased urination, thirst, vomiting, bruising, yellowing of the skin, eyes, and gums. Severe cases can lead to hepatic necrosis or liver failure.

#5  Respiratory Irritation

These are the symptoms to watch out for coughing, sneezing, wheezing. And serious cases can lead to aspiration pneumonia and shortness of breath.

What Should I Do if My Pet Shows These Symptoms?

Like poisoning in humans, the key to responding to poisoning in your pet is to act quickly. If your dog has accidentally ingested an essential oil, don’t delay in contacting a professional. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the diagnosis and outcome for your dog. Make sure you take the following action.

  1. Contact your veterinarian or the pet helpline immediately.
  2. If the oil is on your pet’s skin or fur, wash it off immediately.
  3. Do not give your dog any treatment without your veterinarian’s approval.
  4. Do not give your dog activated charcoal or induce vomiting. This can make your dog’s condition worse.
  5. Take the oil pack with you to the vet, so he knows what he is dealing with.

More Essential Oil Safety Tips

  • Keep the oils out of reach of other pets and children.
  • To ensure safety, place all essential oils in a lockable box and keep them in a cabinet out of reach. Alternatively, you can store it in a tall cabinet and add a lock
  • Always wash your hands after using essential oils
  • To avoid mistaken contact with your eyes and ears, always wash your hand after using essential oil. Essential oils should not come into contact with the eyes and ears.
  • Keep essential oils away from flames: these oils are highly flammable. It should not be used or stored close to gas stoves, candles, lighted cigarettes, or open stoves.
  • Do not give essential oil orally to dogs
  • Don’t let your dog ingest essential oils or be fed with them. Oral ingestion can cause an upset stomach, organ failure, tissue damage, and general toxicity, including other frightening side effects.
  • Always discuss with a veterinarian before incorporating essential oils into your dog grooming routine. 
  • Particularly, ask if the essential oil you have picked is right for your pup, how it can benefit your dog, including dosage and application recommendation.

What Are The Other Factors to Consider Before Buying Essential Oils?

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Now, let’s take a look at what other factors you need to consider before getting your essential oil for your furry pals. There are many key factors to consider before making your purchase.

#1 Price

The prices of essential oils are costly. The reason is they are extracted as highly concentrated versions of their original ingredient. This is why they are strong and have such good results.

#2 Pure Essential Oils

Many of these oils are classified as “pure,” but there is no industry standard to prove their purity. So, buying pure essential oil does not mean that it was not mixed during production. To ensure that you are buying genuinely pure oil, it is best to do so from a trusted oil supplier specializing in high volume sales.

#3 Labeling

In summary, the label indicates that the company cares about the quality of its products. When buying essential, check the label first. It should have the Latin name of the product, so you know exactly what you are getting. The label must also come with the country of origin of the plants used to produce the oil.

#4 Look at The Bottle

This is because essential oils deteriorate quickly when exposed to sunlight. Essential oils in white plastic bottles also deteriorate quickly and indicate a seller’s lack of interest in storing high-quality oils.

FAQs About Essential Oils for Dogs

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How Do I Administer Essential Oils to My Dog?

When introducing essential oils to your dog, make sure you approach it slowly. Start with a small amount of diluted essential oil. Observe your dog’s behavior. If the response is neutral, but you are not getting the desired therapeutic effect, you can always add more Essential oil or raise the frequency of application. Use essential oils with caution when handling pregnant dogs, puppies, and very old dogs

How Can Essential Oils and Aromatherapy Help Dogs?

Essential oils can help relax dogs that are anxious, agitated, angry, or depressed. It is also used to help dogs relax during thunderstorms, fireworks, grooming, training and competition, adoption, holidays, bath time, separation, and hospital visits. And aromatherapy can also help maintain preventive health, especially keeping your dog’s liver, immune system, and digestive system healthy.

Can I Diffuse Oils Around My Dog?

In their concentrated form, these oils can be an absolute danger for dogs. Pets that walked through oils had oils placed directly on them or gotten some on their coat may develop health problems. Diffusing essential oils should be done with caution; it can be dangerous to dogs in certain conditions.

How Do I Apply Essential Oils to My Dog?

If you use essential oils particularly for your dogs and apply them to their skin, you should use a carrier oil (olive oil or liquid coconut oil works well) to dilute and slow the absorption of the oil.

Which Essential Oils Are Safe for Dogs to Breathe?

Consult your vet about the types of oils that are safe to use. Not all essential oils are safe for your dog. Lavender is maybe the safest due to its soothing properties. Peppermint oil is another good one that can stimulate blood circulation and repel annoying insects. If you have a dog with respiratory problems, avoid using a diffuser anywhere in your house.

Are Essential Oils Harmful to Dogs’ Breath?

Many essential oils, like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, citrus fruits, cinnamon, pine, wintergreen, sweet birch, and ylang-ylang, are toxic to dogs. These oils are harmful to dogs whether used in diffusers or applied to the skin.

What Essential Oils Are Harmful to Dogs in a Diffuser?

If you use a diffuser in your home, the best option is to use it in an area that your pet cannot reach. Many essential oils, like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, citrus, cinnamon, pine, ylang-ylang, and wintergreen, are toxic to pets even when used in diffusers.

Where to Get Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

One of the best places to get essential oils is to shop on Amazon. The good news is that you have so many options. Searching for essential oils on the huge site will return over 10,000 results. But this also means a wide variety of quality, especially since the way these oils are made really affects their purity and potency.

Is Wintergreen Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Wintergreen essential oil is not useful in aromatherapy for dogs. It could be harmful. Peppermint can be a good alternative, and it is safe for both you and your furry companion.

Is Thyme Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Thyme essential oil is considered harmful to dogs because it contains phenols, and thyme oils can irritate the skin and mucous membranes and cause allergy problems. You need to consider whether the risk is worth it for your pup’s unique needs.

Is Eucalyptus Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Eucalyptus essential oil is toxic to dogs. If you smell it on your dog’s skin or breath, contact a vet immediately. Never use concentrated eucalyptus oil on your dog, and never use eucalyptus oil, even diluted, on young dogs and puppies.

Is Orange Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Orange essential oil is not only safe but also beneficial for dogs when used moderately and safely. For example, the oil can energize, cleanses, and detoxifies your dog’s skin

Is Peppermint Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

If your dog suffers from allergies, adding peppermint oil to her treatment with honey can help reduce the effects on your dog. Another benefit of this oil is its antiseptic properties.

Is Lemon Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Lemon essential oils can be beneficial in improving your dog’s health but only use a diluted version instead of a concentrated one. Also, be sure to use all-natural essential oils made from only organic ingredients. This is because pesticides are often used on citrus fruits.

Is Lavender Essential Oil Bad for Dogs?

Lavender essential oil is harmless for dogs; it has a calming effect on their skin, minds, anxiety, and fungal infections. Just make sure you don’t apply it directly and lightly diffuse it during the day.

Is Lemongrass Essential Oil Bad for Dogs

Lemongrass essential oils are occasionally recommended as a natural insect repellent for dogs. Still, because of the risk of gastrointestinal upset and topical irritation, it is not recommended to use it on your dog to avoid licking it up.

Is Tea Tree Essential Oil in Diffuser Bad for Dogs?

While products with low concentrations of this oil are not likely to be harmful to dogs, applying undiluted tea tree oil directly to your dog’s skin can be very dangerous on your dog and is not recommended.


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As you can see, essential oils work wonders, and they have many benefits for dogs. It’s critical to do your research and not go overboard with essential oils.

You can overdose your dog on essential oils, and that won’t be good for your furry friends.

It is recommended that you consult a veterinarian when in doubt, and most importantly, pay attention to your dog, watch for signs that he does not like the oil, and monitor his behavior.

That being said, there is nothing left but to thank you for your attention up to this point.

I hope I have been helpful, and I wish you many moments of joy and satisfaction in the company of your beloved dog.

Until next time!

A big hug.

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Housam Ayouni
Housam Ayouni

I am a professional in the field of canine behavior and care with many years of experience. Through my dog blog, which has reached over one million dog owners, I offer practical tips and guidance to support dog owners in creating strong, positive relationships with their pets and promoting the well-being and happiness of all dogs. My goal is to help dog owners create a harmonious and fulfilling life with their furry companions.

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