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Which Essential Oils are Safe to Use Around Dogs?

Which Essential Oils are Safe to Use Around Dogs?

If you are anything like us, you probably love using essential oils around the house, right? Whether it's to make our homes smell amazing or use them for cleaning, they've become a staple. But have you ever wondered if they're safe for our four-legged friends? In this article you will find out whether our pets can enjoy the essential oil ‘party’ with us, and which essential oils could be toxic for your pets.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated liquids that contain volatile aroma compounds from plants. These compounds are extracted from various parts of the plant, such as the flowers, leaves, bark, stems, and roots. As you know, essential oils are often used for their aromatic properties, and they can be employed in various applications, including aromatherapy, massage, skincare, and even in household cleaning products.

The extraction process for essential oils involves methods like distillation, cold pressing, or solvent extraction. The resulting oils capture the distinctive fragrance and characteristics of the plant they are derived from.

Each essential oil has its own unique scent and potential therapeutic properties, and they are often used to promote well-being and address specific concerns, both physical and emotional. It's important to note that while essential oils can offer benefits, they should be used with caution and following proper guidelines due to their concentrated nature. Since essential oils are derived from plants, we tend to think they're all-natural and harmless. However, using them around our furry friends might not be as straightforward as we think. There’s more to essential oils and here’s why we need to be a bit cautious when our pets are in the mix.

Answering some of the frequently asked questions about essential oil safety around dogs:   

Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs? 

Dogs have an exceptional sense of smell. While a human has 6 million nose-nerves, a dog may have up to 100 million! As you can imagine, essential oils can feel extremely intense for our sensitive fur babies. 

Some essential oils can be okay for dogs in certain forms, while others can spell trouble. It's not just about the oil itself; how you use it matters too. For example your dog, with its curious sniffer, inhaling oils wafting from a potpourri – that is likely lead to some respiratory issues and toxin  poisoning. Or imagine your pup strolling over a floor cleaned with oil – it could irritate their skin or even cause tummy problems if they decide to lick their paws.

And then there's the adventurous dog who might just decide to snack on the oil and the whole bottle it came in! Now that's a recipe for potentially serious health issues. If you're keen on using essential oils around your furry friend, it's doable, but it requires a bit of homework. You gotta make sure the oils you use are safe and use them in a way that won't land your pup in trouble. So, before you turn your home into an essential oil haven, think it through for the sake of your four-legged buddy!


15 Essential Oils That are Dangerous to Dogs

Now, here's the serious part. If you're thinking of making your home an essential oil haven, you might want to steer clear of some troublemakers that could be bad for your dogs. 

While essential oils can offer various benefits, it's essential to exercise caution, especially when using them around pets. Some essential oils can be harmful to animals, and their effects can vary depending on the type of oil, the species of the pet, and the concentration used.


Generally speaking, the more concentrated the product, the more danger there is for your pet. 


Before using any essential oils around your pets or in your home, it's advisable to consult with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance on which oils are safe for your specific pets and suggest appropriate dilutions or alternative solutions. Keep in mind that animals may have different sensitivities and reactions to certain scents and substances, so it's crucial to prioritise their well-being.

Make sure that you always observe your pets for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions when using essential oils. If you notice any unusual behaviour or symptoms, it's best to discontinue use and seek advice from a veterinary professional.

These are the essential oils that are a big no-no for your furry friend, whether ingested or when it comes to contact with their skin:

    1. Cinnamon
    2. Citrus (d-limonene)
    3. Pennyroyal
    4. Peppermint
    5. Pine
    6. Sweet birch
    7. Tea tree (melaleuca)
    8. Wintergreen
    9. Ylang ylang
    10. Anise
    11. Clove
    12. Thyme
    13. Juniper
    14. Yarrow
    15. Garlic


The most dangerous essential oil for dogs is tea tree oil, which can cause toxicity of the central nervous system, drooling and other issues.

Here's a golden rule: never put any essential oil or oil-based products directly on your dog's fur. Even those fancy pet-marketed flea products might not be as dog-friendly as you'd think. Your furry pal could be sensitive to what's in there, so better safe than sorry, right?

As a rule of thumb, we advise against using any essential doing on your dog (or allow them to ingest it), but you absolutely insist using this natural remedy, do ensure that it is of a non-toxic variety , use minimal diluted quantity and make sure to get guidance from the vet about what would be the safest way to introduce them to your pet. 

Essential Oils That are Good for dogs 

Now, onto the good stuff – essential oils that get the furry seal of approval. A note of caution, every pet is different, and what's tolerated by one dog, might not sit well with another. If in doubt - always seek help from a professional. 

These are the essential oils that generally fall into the pet-safe zone:

1. Lavender

2. Chamomile

3. Myrrh

4. Turmeric

5. Rosemary

6. Bergamot

7. Frankincense

A recent study of canine smell preferences among a small group of dogs found that they were “more likely to interact with the scents of blueberry, blackberry, mint, rose, lavender and linalol, so it can be assumed that these smells were not unpleasant or avoidable for them”.

Remember, even with the safe ones, less is more. A drop or two can go a long way, and moderation is the key to keeping tails wagging and noses happy. 

What Are the Symptoms of Essential Oil Poisoning in Dogs?

Essential oil poisoning in dogs can manifest in various symptoms, and the severity of the reaction can depend on factors such as the type of essential oil, the amount ingested or inhaled, and the species of the pet. Here are some common symptoms of essential oil poisoning in pets:

1. Gastrointestinal Issues:

   - Vomiting

   - Diarrhea

   - Drooling or salivation

2. Respiratory Distress:

   - Coughing

   - Wheezing

   - Difficulty breathing

3. Skin Irritation:

   - Redness

   - Rash

   - Swelling

4. Neurological Symptoms:

   - Lethargy

   - Weakness

   - Tremors or seizures

5. Behavioural Changes:

   - Agitation

   - Depression

   - Disorientation

6. Other Signs:

   - Changes in heart rate

   - Low body temperature

   - Liver or kidney failure (in severe cases)


It's crucial to note that different essential oils have varying levels of toxicity for pets, and some oils are more dangerous than others. Citrus oils, tea tree oil, pine oil, and certain oils containing phenols can be particularly problematic for our four-legged friends.

If you suspect your pooch has been exposed to or ingested essential oils and is displaying any of these symptoms, seek immediate veterinary attention. Quick action is essential to minimise the potential harm to your dog’s health. Always store essential oils out of reach of pets and follow your veterinarian's advice regarding their use in your home.

Can I use essential oil diffuser near my dog?

Can I Diffuse Essential Oils Around Dogs?

Essential oils are heavily concentrated versions of plants, which makes them very potent.


Dr. Grewal, in his interview with the The Dodo, says, "Essential oils and pets don't mix well." They can mess with your pet's breathing, play tricks on their nerves, and even throw their liver off balance if you're not careful, whether you're rubbing it on or letting your pet get a whiff.

Dogs have far more sensitive sensitive sense of smell than humans . What seems like a nice lavender smell to you might be like a intense perfume for your pup, stressing them out or making it tough to catch their breath.

Thinking of using an essential oil diffuser? Not the best plan for your furball. Diffusers shoot out tiny bits of essential oil into the air, and your dog can breathe them in or get them on their fur, causing some serious skin irritation. Be mindful, that your pet might even end up licking the stuff!

Candles with essential oils? Also a big no-no. They have the same effect as diffusers, so to protect your dog, you would be best to consider either odourless candles or lightly fragranced ones.  


While essential oils can smell great and be calming for us, there are some that are dangerous and potentially toxic for dogs (wether inhaled or ingested). So if you want to use them, double-check that the ones you’re using are safe for dogs, and talk to your vet about it first.

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