Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Puppies in a field

Dogs are known as “man’s best friend”. If you feel that way about your dog, I am certain that you want your dog to have a long, healthy, and happy life! Using safe and natural products is one of the best ways to care for your dog.  The more natural you can make your home, the better it will be for your dog. Ridding your home of toxic chemicals such as those found in conventional disinfectants, cleaners, laundry products, and air fresheners of all kinds, can go a long way. Using essential oils that are safe for dogs is a great way to not only make your home smell fresh and clean without all the toxic fragrance ingredients. They are also a great way to support the well-being of your dog!

Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Yes; there are many essential oils that can be used safely for dogs. However, no matter how “safe” or “easy” an oil might be, you should always use caution. Additionally, you should never consume any essential oil not labeled for internal use. You need to always get your oils from a reliable source or retailer. Using an essential oil labeled for pets will help lower any chances of having a negative reaction from the essential oils. Several online posts have discussed the reactions of essential oils purchased from random internet sellers. Friends, please purchase your essential oils from a reliable company, and not a random seller on the internet. You have no idea where these oils came from or what is in them.

Regulation Of Essential Oils

When it comes to essential oils, the FDA does not regulate them like prescription drugs. Essentially, the FDA generally recognizes them as safe for intended use. This means they haven’t had the research required for FDA approval. Currently, no actual scientific studies have been conducted to determine which oils should or should not be used on dogs. This makes things somewhat challenging. Due to the lack of regulation of essential oils, you MUST be cautious where you buy them. Particularly if they are used on your dog. Dogs are more sensitive to toxins and heavy metals than humans.  Many essential oil companies market their products as “organic, natural, or even certified pure”. Companies can make these statements without any proof of purity because of the lack of regulation. Unfortunately, this can sometimes lead to adulterated essential oils being sold to people without them evening knowing it as found by the EPA.

Essential Oils Used For Dogs Must Be Pure

When choosing an essential oil for your dog, your main priority must be purity, no matter what the essential oil is. Here are some things to look for when seeking a high quality essential oil company:

1) It is important to choose an essential oil company that uses third-party independent testing on their product. Not only does this help prove that the essential oils do not contain impurities by giving unbiased results, but it also helps prevent the fudging of data.

2) It is important that the company who produces the essential oil product owns or controls the field where the product is grown. To have complete control of the essential oil process, from planting to bottling, can ensure that the plant itself is healthy and harvested at peak times. This helps eliminate unwanted pesticides in the essential oil that could be present if they purchased their product by a third party. The company can’t guarantee what is done to the product before it is harvested if they don’t own or control their own fields.

3) Essential oil companies should use ethical and sustainable farming practices. A well-managed farm ensures a high quality product. This also ensures that local ecosystems and communities are not endangered or disturbed.

What about reactions I read on the internet?

With any kind of product, there is always a chance that a reaction could develop. This is why in some cases a company will tell you to do a test area on the skin first, and observe the area for a few hours.  When I read about adverse reactions with essential oils in dogs, a few red flags came to mind.

  1. There was no mention of the brand of essential oil used. Was it a pure essential oil, or was it a cheap adulterated one with toxins in it? Toxins that either were never stripped completely out of the plant, or were left over from the manufacturing process. Did they get their oil online from a random seller, off the shelf at a big box store, or an actual essential oil company that manages their own fields? All of these things can make a huge difference.
  2. I noticed that the essential oils were used in too high of a dosage and not diluted. Essential oils are potent. They do not need to be used in large undiluted amounts. You should always start with 1-2 drops in a carrier oil, and work up if necessary. That’s essential oils 101. Even things that are safe and natural can be dangerous if dosages are wrong. Too much water can be dangerous if you ingest too much too quickly. We must use common sense when using these products, and never drop undiluted essential oils on a dog’s coat.

Essential Oils To Avoid With Dogs

In general, veterinarians and aromatherapists recommend high phenol essential oils be avoided for use on or around dogs. At the very least extreme caution should be used with these essential oils. High phenol essential oils are very strong and can cause irritation. If used unsafely, these essential oils could be toxic to dogs. The Pet Poison Helpline states that not understanding or being educated on appropriate use is what tends to cause the concerns they see with dogs. They claim Melaleuca oil, or tea tree oil, is the most common essential oil offender in toxicities to dogs. Tea Tree is a high phenol essential oil, and has many wonderful uses. It is one of my first go to essential oil for so many things. However, Tea Tree will burn if used undiluted. This is the case on humans, and is worse for dogs. This is one oil you MUST use carefully. Tea Tree is also an essential oil that should never be used internally. Some other examples of high phenol oils are: Camphor, Tea Tree, Cassia, Clove, Mountain Savory, Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, or Wintergreen. Pennyroyal is another essential oil that you should avoid with your dog, as it can cause liver failure.

Gentle Essential Oils For Dogs

Some essential oils are gentler than others. Frankincense, Copaiba, Cedarwood, Lemongrass, Geranium, Lavender, Rosemary, and Chamomile are all fairly gentle oils you can use around your dog. In my own home, I have used cedarwood and lemongrass around my baseboards because bugs don’t like those oils. I have never had any bad reactions from using it, just less bugs 😊. Lavender and Chamomile can be a great way to support your dog’s overall skin and coat. Remember, with essential oils moderation is the key. You would never want to lock your dog in a room with a diffuser going, that’s just common sense. 

Essential Oils We Use At Home

When it comes to essential oils and purity, I can only recommend Young Living essential oils to be used around your dog. We use Young Living Essential oils every day at our house for cats, kids, and adults. We only use Young Living essential oils because their manufacturing process guarantees that the essential oils produced are of the highest standards. They check all the boxes for us. Young Living uses third-party testing, they have their own fields where they grow, manufacture their own product, and more. Young Living essential oils, when used correctly, are safe for your dog when used around or on him. They make it very simple and take most of the guess work out of which essential oils can be used for pets with their Animal Scents Line.

Young Living Animal Scents Essential Oils

Here’s an easy option (as well as a little peace of mind) for using essential oils on your dog. Young Living offers an entire line of pet-safe essential oils called: Animal Scents! And they are great! There’s even a wonderfully clean, natural shampoo and ointment! Here are some a few products in the Animal Scents line:

T-Away: Does your pup get jumpy or get a case of nerves? This blend promotes a calming and peaceful environment for your dog. It can be used topically or diffused to promote feelings of relaxation and emotional balance for your dog.

ParaGize: Tummy troubles? This relaxing and quieting blend can be applied directly to your dog’s abdomen. ParaGize can also be diffused to support your dog’s feelings with its comforting and grounding aroma. This blend supports your dog’s natural cleansing system.

Puriclean: This prediluted essential oil blend helps refresh and prepare your dog’s skin by cleansing and moisturizing dry, flakey, or irritated skin.

Infectaway: This prediluted essential oil blend helps guard against harmful contaminants while supporting your pet’s irritated coat or skin.

Mendwell: This prediluted, premium essential oil blend supports your pet’s natural healing process by soothing and moisturizing dry, sensitive, and distressed skin. Wonderful for supporting your dog’s wellbeing and natural defense system: a healthy coat! The aroma also creates an uplifting environment and promotes feelings of health and wellness for your pet.

Conclusion:

Essential oils can be one of many tools in the toolbox we can use for our pets. However, these “tools” must be used with common sense and caution. Consulting with your veterinarian before administering essential oils to your dog is advised. Even if your dog is healthy, it is important to ensure there are no underlying issues. At the very least, do your research and know how to use essential oils properly. Use only pure, tested, and verified essential oils, even ones labeled for pet usage. Anytime you use an essential oil that does not have a pet label, remember you are using it at your own risk. If your vet suggests other methods of treatment, you should always defer to those recommendations.

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Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links.   The information on this page is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or cure any disease or illness in humans or pets.  Statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

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