What Essential oils are safe for dogs?

July 6, 2022
What Essential oils are safe for dogs?

Two thousand years ago, the Chinese people would take a group of men to go into the wild and watch the wildlife. They would observe the animals self-selecting their food. They would watch animals’ behavior and notice when animals fell sick. Observing the different plants, the sick animal would select for self-medication would be of great interest. In this instance, the plants selected for sick animals are on the more bitter side taste-wise. The sick animal’s taste seemed to adjust to the bitterness of the plant they selected while the healthy animal would not eat the bitter plant.  With time and research self-selection with animals played a big role in the evolution of plant medicines and aromatherapy.  This self-selection theory is the basis of animal aromatherapy but what essential oils can be safety use with our dogs?

Are essential oils safe to use around dogs?  

When using essential oils or any aromatic product with dogs, you want to make sure you have some knowledge of when or when not to use these powerful plant oils. Here are some good safety tips. Essential oils are a beautiful way to help you and your animal emotionally, physically, and energetically. We encourage you to embrace each oil you learn about and get to the point of feeling confident about using them safely. Some key safety tips are below.

  • Do not apply to any mucus membrane. This would include eyes, nose, and genitals.
  • Do not apply on newborns puppies or any animal one year old and under.
  • Never force an essential oil on a dog, unless you are a doctor or you are an advanced clinical aromatherapist that specializes in animal practice.
  • It only takes one drop of essential oil to start working in the system. Less is Best.
  • Always dilute your essential oils. Water is not a dilution method. Just like the example of oil and vinegar, they do not mix. Find an appropriate carrier or base oil to dilute your essential oils.
  • Do not leave bottles around where the dog can grab them and get one in their mouth.
  • When offering a self-selection application, always hold onto that bottle as if your life depended on it. The dog may sometimes grab and run with the bottle. 
  • Respect essential oils as if you are using medications. They are powerful plant science.
  • Veterinary diagnoses for an animal are strongly recommended. If you are working on resolving or treating health issues when using essential oils or aromatic products, you will have not only a base reference from the doctor, but you will also know the contraindications of essential oils not to use.
  • High doses of essential oils taken internally could result in toxic poisoning. 
  • Essential oils could cause skin reactions and other issues when used incorrectly.
  • If a dog starts to show signs of a bad reaction, stop use right away. Keep an eye on their body language so you know when or if to call your veterinarian.
  • Keep track of the bottles you are selecting and using around a dog. Take time to make notes on oils used. Keeping track on an index card is good record-keeping.
  • Always keep a window and door open so your dog can leave the room if needed when using essential oils, even if you are using them on yourself or diffusing them in your home.
  • When using hydrolats in a water dish, make sure the animal has a separate dish to drink from so they have a choice to select from during the day.
  • Never spray a dog in the face with aromatic liquids of any kind.

Top Essential oils safe to use with dogs

Angelica root 


Carrot seed


German chamomile 



Juniper berry 









Sweet orange



3 ways of using essential oils with dogs

Inhalation is the number one method. It is extremely powerful and very effective when the animal smells the essential oil. No matter what type of application you use to apply your essential oils with dogs, you should pay close attention to their body language. Unlike people, who can speak up and tell you if they feel safe, dogs communicate with signs like leaving the room, turning their heads far away, going into a corner, or wanting a door to the open air. These behaviors would be considered negative, stressful, and a big NO!

Topical application means you are going to put the essential oil on the dog’s body. Areas to apply for relaxation and calming include ear tips, between the shoulder blades right below the neck, middle of the chest, or sternum. When using essential oils topically, you always want to dilute the essential oil with the base or carrier you have chosen. Take for example that you notice a hot spot on your dog’s tummy and the dog is very itchy. You can make a calming remedy using one ounce of aloe vera gel in a glass bowl. Then you would apply two drops of peppermint and four drops of lavender into the aloe vera gel and mix. The peppermint stops the itching and cools the area, and the lavender calms the area down and has cell-regenerating properties. The aloe vera gel cools and decreases swelling while soaking deep into the skin and carrying the essential oils with it.

Diffusers can be used in your home but you need to make sure that the dog can leave the room at any time. You can also leave a window open so that the aroma does not become overwhelming. Because of the receptors in a dog’s nose and the sensitivity they have to scents, they can become overloaded with aromas. This can cause them to gravitate to a corner or get as far away as they can from the aroma. So never lock them in a room with a diffuser on. Simple as that! 

3 essential oil recipes that are safe for dogs

Tick / Bite recipe                                 

15 ml calendula oil

8 drops lavender

4 drops lemongrass

Mix in a 30 ml bottle and apply one drop to the bite site. Always shake well.

Joint pain recipe                              

30 ml aloe vera gel

30 ml peppermint hydrosol

3 drops yarrow essential oil

3 drops German chamomile essential oil

2 drops juniper berry essential oil

I would get a 4 oz glass-tinted bottle to give you room. I also use a disc cap so you can pop it up when in use for easy application. I add the essential oils first. This gives you the option of adding any other essential oil. I add the aloe vera gel next and mix well. The last to mix is the hydrosol and it’s best to shake it at this stage. Keep in the refrigerator.

Immune support recipe

2 drops angelica root essential oil

3 drops lemon essential oil

2 drops German chamomile essential oil

3 drops bergamot essential oil

30 ml hemp seed oil

Place in a 30 ml bottle, shake well with each use. Refer to your dog region chart for application. Inhalation is also recommended.

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