Essential Oils for Pets

Essential oils are a popular choice for many people who want to treat their pets. Many different types of oils can be used, but some may not be safe for your pet. This article will explore the best and worst essential oils to use on your pet, as well as how you should use them.


Essential oils are volatile fragrant chemicals that naturally exist in plants’ seeds, bark, stems, flowers, and roots. If you’ve used essential oils previously, you’re probably well aware of how powerful, aromatic, and helpful they can be to your health, but have you ever tried them on your pets?

“Preliminary research indicates that these powerful oils may have some health advantages for dogs and humans,” according to the American Kennel Club, and “many holistic veterinarians integrate essential oils into their practices.” As a result, essential oils are being used by many pet owners today for a range of health concerns in their dogs, including flea and tick prevention, skin disorders, and behavioral issues such as nervousness.

While there are proven advantages to using essential oils for dogs, it’s necessary to know which oils are safe to use, how to use them, and to keep in mind that, like humans, each animal is unique and may respond differently to a specific essential oil. When using essential oils with dogs, remember that a little goes a long way, just as it does with children.

Is it Safe to Use Essential Oils on Pets?

If you’re wondering if essential oils are safe for dogs, the answer is that certain essential oils are deemed safe. In addition, several essential oils are both safe and beneficial to pet health. There are, however, numerous essential oils that are harmful to dogs and cats (and other animals in general), as I shall discuss later in this post. But first, are you ready to discover all there is to know about the most refined essential oils for dogs and cats?

Essential Oils for Dogs:

The following is a brief list of essential oils that are safe to use on dogs, according to experts:

1. Lavender Essential Oil

Because lavender oil is a popular option among humans, you may already have this excellent essential oil on hand for your pet. If you’re searching for essential oils for dog odor, lavender is a popular choice among pet owners. Lavender’s remarkable beneficial benefits for instances of PTSD as well as its anti-anxiety capacity have been shown in tests, so it will undoubtedly soothe both you and your cat.

The soothing properties of lavender essential oil for dogs may assist with anxiety (typically brought on by vet appointments or vehicle trips), car sickness, and sleep issues. In a 2006 clinical study, 32 dogs with a history of travel-induced enthusiasm in their owners’ vehicles were given lavender essential oil. What did they discover? The canines exposed to the smell of lavender oil spent more time resting and reclining and less time roaming and vocalizing. “Traditional therapies for travel-induced excitement in dogs may be time-consuming, costly, or linked with side effects,” the researchers conclude. Aromatherapy in the form of diffused lavender odor may be a proper alternative treatment for this species’ travel-induced excitement.”

Lavender oil is an excellent topical treatment for allergies and burns in dogs. It’s also a popular option for essential oils for dog wounds and essential oils for dog itching.

2. Peppermint Essential Oil

This famous, pleasant essential oil may already be known to you. But is peppermint oil terrible for dogs? Peppermint is one of the most popular essential oils for removing fleas from dogs. Peppermint is one of the most frequently used essential oils for dog flea repellants nowadays, and it’s available at pet stores and online.

“Peppermint essential oil may be used to calm aching muscles, invigorate weary animals, and ease upset stomachs,” says Dr. Janet Roark, owner of Hill Country Mobile Veterinary Service in Austin, Texas. When diffused, it refreshes the air, and when taken internally, it may renew the breath. This oil may help to clear the airways and maintain a healthy respiratory system, as well as relieve hurting joints.”

It may also be an excellent mood enhancer for animals as a refreshing oil. Peppermint oil should be used topically on dogs, according to Roark, who is also known as the “Essential Oil Vet.”

The American Kennel Club offers a fantastic essential oil dog shampoo recipe that contains peppermint as one of the vital oils for flea control. It’s called Flea-Repellent Dog Shampoo with Essential Oils, and it’s made using basic materials you probably already have on hand. But, of course, the best method to utilize essential oils to kill fleas on dogs is to use shampoo like this regularly.

3. Chamomile Essential Oil

When it comes to skin irritation, burns, wounds, ulcers, or eczema, Roman chamomile oil is a well-known anti-inflammatory that may help both people and dogs. In addition, this is a mild essential oil that may also assist an anxious dog in relaxing.

If you’re searching for chamomile oil recipes for dogs, try this extremely simple Calming Spray Recipe, which also contains lavender oil.

4. Frankincense Essential Oil

Is it possible to use frankincense oil on dogs? The answer is “yes!” for the majority of dogs. In fact, according to Dr. Richard Palmquist, head of integrative health services at Centinela Animal Hospital in Inglewood, Calif., frankincense oil may be highly beneficial in certain instances of cancer and tumors. The use of frankincense oil in the treatment of pet cancer isn’t unexpected, given that studies have shown that it can help fight certain types of human cancer, including bladder cancer.

Frankincense oil is renowned for its antibacterial properties, making it an excellent option for combating germs and improving immunity. In addition, animal studies (mice) have also shown that this ancient oil has potent anti-depressive properties.

5. Cedarwood Essential Oil

According to Dogs Naturally Magazine, cedarwood oil (Cedrus Atlantica or Cedrus deodara) is a great natural insect repellant. In addition, when used in dogs, cedarwood essential oil can be used as an antiseptic for the lungs, an expectorant for coughs (such as kennel cough), a circulation stimulator (helpful for bodily pains and arthritis), a hair growth booster, and dandruff reducer, a diuretic, and a general calming agent that can help with behavior issues such as shyness or nervous aggression.

Essential Oils for Cats

The following oils, according to Palmquist, may be used safely with cats (and dogs) on a short-term basis:

1. Spearmint Essential Oil

Spearmint oil is similar to peppermint oil in terms of smell and usage, and it may be beneficial to cats for a variety of issues, including nausea and diarrhea. Some veterinarians use spearmint oil to balance the metabolism of overweight cats, and the oil may also be used to alleviate unpleasant symptoms in felines with gastrointestinal issues. Spearmint oil, like other essential oils, should be diluted before use.

2. Frankincense Essential Oil

According to Palmquist, frankincense essential oil has been proven to be beneficial in treating cancer in certain instances. He’s also seen it decrease cancers and ulcers on the outside of the body. In addition, frankincense oil may help increase blood flow to the brain, but it can also worsen high blood pressure, so use it with caution. Consult your veterinarian, but if your cat has a history of hypertension, you should probably avoid using this oil.

3. Cardamom Essential Oil

Cardamom oil is an excellent digestive aid for dogs, just like it is for people. It may aid in the relief of heartburn while also promoting a healthy appetite. It also has antibacterial qualities and may be used to treat coughs.

4. Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum essential oil contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal qualities, making it beneficial to dogs. It’s excellent for reducing bleeding from accidents in dogs, as well as overall skin regeneration. Helichrysum oil is also utilized to improve heart function and assist the neurological system.

5. Fennel Oil

Fennel essential oil has a sweet, licorice-like aroma and is frequently used to treat digestive problems in people. It may be able to assist cats’ pituitary, thyroid, and pineal glands balance. If your cat’s tissues have accumulated fluid and toxins, a topical application of diluted fennel may help break up the harmful accumulation and restore normalcy.

How to Use Them

Unless otherwise instructed by your veterinarian, you should always use 100 percent pure essential oils on your dogs, and you should always dilute them before applying them. So what is the proper amount of oil to use? If you’re uncertain, see your veterinarian, but an excellent place to start is with a single drop of essential oil in 50 drops of carrier oil, such as coconut, olive, or almond oil. After that, use three to six drops of essential oil(s) per ounce of carrier oil, according to another suggestion.

Of course, the number of oils you use should be adjusted according to the size and age of your pet. Smaller dogs and cats and puppies, kittens, and elderly pets should use less diluted oil.

Put one to two drops of essential oil in a diffuser and let the fragrance penetrate the living area for 10 to 15 minutes to allow your pet to benefit from the smell.

When using essential oils with cats or dogs, keep the following in mind:

  • Be aware of your pet’s health state and consult your veterinarian to ensure that no essential oils are contraindicated for your pet owing to its breed or a medical condition.
  • Keep an eye on your pet’s response to essential oils and cease using them if you see any adverse effects.
  • Never put essential oils on your pet’s sensitive regions, such as their eyes, ears, nose, or genitals.
  • Unless your veterinarian instructs you otherwise, do not add essential oils to your pet’s food or drinking water.
  • Essential oils should not be used on pups under the age of ten weeks.
  • Oils should not be used on epileptic or seizure-prone dogs.
  • If your pet is pregnant or nursing, consult your veterinarian before using essential oils. Be particularly cautious when first exposing her to them (that includes your use in her vicinity).

Never use oils on pets

If you want to be safe, consult your veterinarian before using essential oils on your pets. For example, critical oil responses are hazardous for cats. When using essential oils with your dogs, be sure they’re 100 percent pure, therapeutic-grade, and USDA-certified organic essential oils that are devoid of pollutants and contaminants.

Essential oils should only be used in tiny quantities and diluted with a carrier oil since cats and dogs have highly acute senses of smell. It’s also necessary to consider which oils you can and can’t use in an oil diffuser near your pet. If you’re using aromatherapy equipment like a diffuser, make sure your dog or cat has a way out so they don’t feel confined. It’s also not a good idea to push your pet to use oils if they don’t enjoy them.

The list of essential oils that are harmful to cats and dogs differs. It’s also crucial to note that each pet reacts differently to essential oils, and even if the oils aren’t on our list, they may cause a poor response. The following two lists are not comprehensive, but they contain several essential oils that have been documented as harmful to dogs and cats.

  • Cassia
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Spruce
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme

Some pet owners may want to explore essential oils with their other furry companions, so here is handy critical oils advice for animals in general.

Animal-Unsafe Oils:

  • Anise
  • Birch
  • Sour almonds
  • Boldo
  • Calamus
  • Camphor
  • Cassia
  • Chenopodium
  • Clove
  • Garlic
  • Goosefoot
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. except Decumbens)
  • Juniper (Juniperus sp. except for Juniper Berry)
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Thyme, red or white
  • Rue
  • Santolina
  • Sassafras
  • Savory
  • Tansy
  • Tea Tree
  • Terebinth
  • Thuja
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood
  • Yarrow

What is the best way to apply essential oils to dogs and cats? Coconut oil, according to Dog Oiler, is the most refined carrier oil to use with essential oils for your dogs. Not only can using a carrier oil like coconut decrease the risk of skin irritation, but it also helps to nourish your pet’s skin and has antifungal qualities, according to studies.

Palmquist says, “We usually utilize an oil for no more than two weeks and then give a rest interval to minimize the possibilities of sensitivity and organ toxicity.” We will utilize oils for extended lengths of time in some situations, such as the treatment of cancer, but this is something best left to people who have been educated in the use of oils.”

Essential oil toxicity in dogs may cause the following signs and symptoms:

  • Breathing problems
  • Drooling
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Tremors in the muscles
  • Grasping the mouth or the face
  • Lips, gums, tongue, or skin redness or burns
  • Walking difficulties or an uncoordinated gait
  • Vomiting

Keep essential oils out of reach of dogs and children at all times. If you think essential oils have poisoned your pet, call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (855-764-7661). Bring the offending essential oil to the veterinarian in a sealed bottle. In most cases, seeking treatment as soon as possible can result in a better prognosis for your cat. Inducing vomiting or administering activated charcoal to your pet if you suspect they have ingested the oil is not advised since it may aggravate the problem.

Final Thoughts

  • Certain essential oils for pets may be used safely to improve their physical and mental well-being, while others should not be used with dogs and cats or animals in general.
  • What are the best essential oils for dogs? Lavender, chamomile, frankincense, and cedarwood are also popular options. Peppermint is also a popular essential oil for fleas in dogs.
  • Which essential oils are suitable for cats? Spearmint, frankincense, cardamom, helichrysum, and fennel are all good oils for cats.
  • It’s critical to use 100% pure, therapeutic-grade, and USDA-certified organic essential oils for your dogs.
  • There are many vital precautions to be aware of when using essential oils for dogs, and it’s also critical to consult with your veterinarian about your options, mainly if your pet is exceptionally young, elderly, or has a chronic health condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are essential oils suitable for pets?

A: Some essential oils are suitable for pets, such as lavender and lemon.

What oils should you not diffuse around pets?

A: Oils like lavender and tea tree oil are safe to diffuse around pets. However, oils like peppermint and eucalyptus should be avoided.

What are essential oils suitable for pet odor?

A: The essential oils that are best for pet odor are lavender, peppermint, and lemon.

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