Can Essential Oils Be Used On Dogs: A How-To Guide For The Safe And Effective Use Essential Oils On Dogs
Just as essential oils can benefit people both physically and psychologically, their benefits can easily be extended to your favorite pet such as your dog. In fact, these natural and aromatic oils (i.e. essential oils) have gained huge popularity among the veterinarians throughout the world as a natural and safe treatment method for curing almost any health issue in dogs.
While there are many essential oils that can be considered safe for dogs, you need not buy all of them. Some of them can be considered as “must have’s” while there are others that are “good to have”, depending on the type of care your dog needs.
Just remember that essential oils should be used in very small quantities on dogs and most importantly, dilute, dilute and dilute them in a carrier oil every single time. The reason is that your pup has an extraordinary keen sense of smell which is complex and amazing, and 000’s of times more powerful than yours.
With that in mind, here is a list of few safe essential oils for dogs, along with a brief description of their properties and use for your quick reference.
10 Safe Essential Oils For Use On Dogs
1. The essential oil of cedar
Apart from killing pests in dogs, Cedar oil when used in right proportions provides a calming effect on dogs and supports healthy skin. You can use this oil in a diffuser to keep your dog calm. If the dog feels sleepy after the application of cedar oil, it is due to the slight analgesic effect of the cedar oil.
2. Lavender essential oil
If you need to have only one essential oil at home for your dog, then Lavender is the one to have, i.e. it is a ‘must-have’. Lavender is a full-spectrum oil with antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. If you do not know what problem your dog is experiencing, but want to make your dog feel better, just rub 2 drops of Lavender oil diluted in 2 tsp of coconut oil on the area he/she is scratching.
3. Chamomile essential oil
German chamomile has anti-inflammatory benefits, which may be good for the skin and hair of the dog. In addition, it can help reduce the reactions caused due to allergies. Roman chamomile can help calm the nerves and reduce cramps, teething pain and muscle aches. It is the second ‘must-have’ essential oil for dogs.
4. Lemongrass essential oil
Even when used in small amounts, Lemongrass will easily get rid of fleas and ticks and can improve the overall skin condition of your dog.
5. Niaouli essential oil
This replacement of tea tree oil, yet less likely to cause irritation compared to tea tree, is the third ‘must-have’ for dogs. It has anti-bacterial and anti-histamine properties, and can help eliminate skin issues caused due to allergies.
6. Peppermint essential oil
This essential oil is an antispasmodic that helps to stimulate circulation, ultimately benefiting the skin and hair of the dog. Peppermint is also known to treat arthritis and motion sickness in dogs. However, it should not be used in small dogs and pregnant dogs.
7. Frankincense essential oils
Frankincense oil is a safer and frequently used in many aspects of pet care from antibacterial healing to behavior improvement to wound care.
8. Cardamom essential oil
Cardamom is a natural diuretic that has anti-bacterial benefits as well. It can help relieve nausea, treat cough, and normalize the appetite of your dog, if he is eating less than usual.
9. Sweet Marjoram essential oil
Sweet Marjoram is the only variety of Marjoram group of essential oils that can be used on dogs. In addition to being a potent antibacterial, marjoram is also a muscle relaxant. Vets also use this oil to treat bacterial infections of the skin and the wounds.
10. Helichrysum essential oil
This oil is ideal for skin diseases (such as eczema) and irritation in dogs. While being a potent pain-relieving agent that has analgesic properties, it is also the best oil to use for skin cell regeneration.
What Essential Oils Dilution Rate Should I Use For Dogs?
The best way to dilute essential oils prior to using on dogs is to base the calculation on the dog’s weight. A smaller dog that weighs less than 20 pounds should be treated with a dose that is 80-90 percent diluted. Use 1 drop of essential oil in 1 tsp of carrier oil.
For larger dogs, you can use 2-3 drops of essential oils diluted in 1 tsp of carrier oil. Paws are an ideal spot to apply essential oils. If you are applying the oils to your dog’s skin, rub it onto your hands and gently stroke the dog’s fur. Keep in mind, as we do with humans, it is always better to start using a lesser amount of essential oils.
The following sections describe essential oils for different ailments in dogs.
How To Use Essential Oils To Get Rid Of Ticks And Fleas In Dogs?
Using essential oils to kill ticks and keep fleas away is easy with dogs. Just rub the essential oil on their collar or the bandanna around their neck for the desired results. Alternatively, rub the oils onto your hands and rub all over their fur. Here are some of the essential oils I use on my dogs to get rid of ticks and fleas:
*One of my guests has expressed concern that tea tea oil should not be used on dogs or cats.
Recipe 1 – Essential oils flea collar
- 2 tablespoons of the essential oil of Almond
- 2 drops of essential oils such as rosemary, cinnamon, cedar, geranium, lavender, clove that are known to repel fleas. If you use a combination of oils such as cinnamon and rosemary, for example, then add 1 drop of cinnamon to 1 drop of rosemary.
These oils need to be mixed and applied to the collar of the dog. Allow the collar to dry before putting it on your dog.
Recipe 2 – Natural insect repellent to prevent fleas or ticks
In order to prevent fleas and ticks, mix one drop each of the following essential oils: sandalwood, lemon, sweet orange, cedarwood, citronella, eucalyptus, bergamot, peppermint.
Mix all the ingredients well and store in a glass bottle. In order to kill the tick, just drop one drop of this blend directly over the body of the tick. After the removal of the tick, use 1 drops of lavender diluted in 1 tsp of almond oil over the affected area 2 times a day.
How To Use Essential Oils To Get Rid Of Itching In Dogs?
Recipe 1 – Essential Oil Recipe for Itching in Dogs
Pour the following essential oils in a 10 ml bottle filled with calendula oil and apply to the affected areas:
- 4 drops Lavender
- 3 drops Roman Chamomile
- 5 drops Geranium
Recipe 2 – Essential Oil Recipe for Itching in Dogs
- 8 ml of carrier oil such as Jojoba oil or Olive oil
- 3 drops of Vitamin E
- 5 drops of Lavender essential oil
- 5 drops of Chamomile
- 2 drops of Tea tree oil (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a 10ml bottle with a glass dropper and apply 2-4 drops to the skin of the dog. I often use this recipe to cure my dog’s dry skin patches.
How To Use Essential Oils For Relief In Arthritis In Dogs?
Just like humans, dogs experience all kinds of pains in their bodies as they grow old. In addition to the natural therapies and dog care medications recommended by your veterinarian, you can try the following essential oil blend for quick pain relief. Massage the painful joints of your dog with the following blends of essential oils up to two times a day for quick relief.
Recipe 1 – Essential Oil Recipe for Arthritis In Dogs
- 4 drops Rosemary
- 6 drops Juniper
- 7 drops Birch
Pour the essential oils into a 10ml bottle. Add a carrier oil to fill the bottle up to the brim. I recommend almond oil. Massage the painful areas with this blend. Do not use this blend in the night otherwise your dog may have difficulty sleeping.
Recipe 2 – Joint and muscle support
Mix the essential oils of wintergreen, eucalyptus, camphor, peppermint, clove, german chamomile and sage in equal proportions, 2 drops each. Take 3 drops of this blend and dilute it with 1 tsp of coconut oil. Apply along the spine or other problem areas for a soothing comfort. Other essential oils that can be used for this purpose include blue tansy, helichrysum, vetiver, ginger and rosemary.
You can also try l’orpur for pain relief (and it contains most of the above essential oils), however please dilute 8 drops in olive oil prior to applying on your dog. In addition and as recommended by experts, dogs suffering from arthritis must have a soft and cozy bed to sleep.
How To Use Essential Oils To Relieve Anxiety And Fear In Dogs?
Recipe 1 – Simple essential oil recipe to relieve anxiety and fear in dogs
- 3 drops Peppermint
- 6 drops Rosemary
- 5 drops Lavender
Pour the essential oils into a 10ml bottle. Add a carrier oil such as Jojoba oil to fill the bottle up to the brim. Massage the spine of the dog gently using this blend. Use this blend once per day only.
Recipe 2 – Essential oil blend for anxiety in dogs
This essential oil recipe is wonderful when it comes to calming dogs that have noise anxiety, separation anxiety or fear of new things, people or places.
- 2-3 drops of Marjoram
- 2-3 drops of Sage
- 3-4 drops of Lavender
- 4-5 drops of Valerian
- 2 Oz of Carrier oil (almond, olive, coconut)
Use this mixture topically on your dog. Rub 2 or 3 drops of this blend on your hands and apply on the dog’s ears (not inside), between the paws and around the neck.
Recipe 3 – Calming blend for anxiety problems
Lavender is useful for dogs that are stressed and have anxiety problems. Baking soda, corn or rice flour can be used to dilute the essential oils, thus making them safe to dogs.
Use 8 to 10 drops of this blend for one cup of baking soda, corn or rice flour. Mix well before use.
Take a handful of the blend and apply topically on your dog’s ears, toes and around the neck. You can also sprinkle the blend inside the dog’s kennel. The calming effects of the mixture will help your dog relax.
How To Use Essential Oils To Control Pet Odor?
Before using these blends, ask your veterinarian to diagnose the real cause of the odor and suggest a treatment. Use the following essential oil blend to supplement the treatment suggested by the doctor.
Recipe 1 – Essential Oil Recipe for Dog Odor Treatment
Add the above-mentioned essential oils in a 1 fl. oz. spray bottle. Spray directly onto the dog from a distance of 10 inches avoiding the head and the eyes. Shake well before each use.
Recipe 2 – Essential Oil Deodorant for Dogs
- 7 ounces of Distilled water
- 3 drops of Eucalyptus
- 6 drops of Peppermint
- 6 drops of Sweet orange
- 10 drops of Lavender
Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and shake well. Cover the face and eyes of your dog and sprinkle the blend onto his coat. As per my personal experience, this amazing blend removes any kind of foul smell in the dog, especially during rainy days.
How To Use Essential Oils To Cure Ear Infections In Dogs?
For any kind of ear infections in dogs, the best essential oil you can use is peppermint. Apply the essential oil of peppermint along the ear line and outside of the ear. Do not use peppermint inside the ear as the oil can burn the tender tissues of the ear canal. Here is a simple essential oil remedy I would recommend for quick relief in ear infections in dogs:
Recipe 1 – Essential Oils for Dog Ear Infection
In a spray bottle (2 ounce), blend the following essential oils:
- 8 drops Cedarwood or Sandalwood
- 10 drops Basil
- 10 drops Frankincense
- 8 drops Geranium
- 12 drops Lavender
Fill the remainder of the bottle with fractionated coconut oil. Shake the bottle well before every use. Put 8-10 drops of the blend in a dish, soak a Q-Tip into the mix and clean out the deposit inside the dog’s ear. Repeat this two times a day for a week.
Recipe 2 – Essential Oils for Dog Ear Infection
- 6 drops of Geranium
- 6 drops of Tea Tree
- 6 drops of Lavender
Mix all the ingredients in 2 tsp of coconut oil. After cleaning your dog’s ear with a natural cleanser (Apple Cider Vinegar or similar), use a Q-Tip or cotton ball to rub the blend of essential oils in his ear, making sure not to dig too deep – do this twice a day for 7-10 days.
Some Other Essential Oil Blends For Better Overall Health Of Your Dog
1. Essential Oil Recipe For Digestive Support In Dogs
Mix 2-3 drops of the essential oils of anise, coriander, caraway, fennel, tarragon, mint and ginger; dilute in 2 tsp of coconut oil and rub the blend on the stomach of the dog.
2. Essential Oi Shampoo Recipe For Dogs
This shampoo can be used to promote healthy skin and hair in dogs.
- 1 cup Water
- ¼ cup Aloe vera (optional)
- 2 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 2 drops Lime or Lemon essential oil
- 2 drops Chamomile essential oil
- 5 drops Lavender essential oil
- 4 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of Castile soap
If you don’t have all the above essential oils, simply add the ones you have. Mix everything in a glass jar. The blend should be watery enough to be used as shampoo. The biggest advantage of using this essential oil shampoo is that your dog will smell amazing for days.
3. Essential Oil Soothing Mist Recipe for Dogs
- 7 drops of essential oil of Chamomile
- 9 drops of essential oil of Lavender
- 250 ml of Water
- Spray bottle (glass)
Add the above essential oils with the water in a spray bottle and shake well before spraying. Spray a light mist over the dog during periods when he needs help settling.
4. Anti-Aging Treatment For Dogs Using Essential Oils
- 2 drops Rose
- 2 drops of Myrrh
- 3 drops of Peppermint oil
- 3 drops of Lavender
- 3 tablespoons of Coconut oil or any other carrier oil
Mix all the ingredients, make into an ointment and rub it underneath the dog’s paws for faster absorption.
5. Essential Oil Recipe For Dry Patches & Promote Healthy Cell Growth In Dog
Apply two drops of Frankincense diluted in 1tsp of almond oil over the affected areas, two times in a day.
6. Essential Oil Recipe For Mood Swings In Dogs
This earthy blend consists of the essential oils of cypress, sandalwood, frankincense and chamomile. Add 3-4 drops of the above essential oils to 2 tsp of sweet almond oil in a spray bottle. You can diffuse in a room, spray on your dog’s bedding or simply rub on its paws whenever you need to uplift your dog’s mood.
Precautions To Be Taken When Using Essential Oils On Dogs
While essential oils may have a variety of benefits for the dog, one must be careful about the way these essential oils are used. First, always use therapeutic grade oils purchased from a reliable source. It is also important to note that while many oils may be safe for human use in their natural forms, dogs have a far more advanced sense of smell. For that reason, please use a higher dilution factor before using them on dogs; olive, almond or coconut oil are great carrier oils for dilution.
Before using any of the essential oils, it is always a good idea to contact your vet – this is especially true if the dog is on medication, which is likely to interfere with the essential oil being used.
Watch your dog closely for signs indicating his dislike towards the essential oil being used. Stop using the oil immediately if the dog isn’t comfortable with it. In order to reduce the chances of toxicity and sensitivity in dogs, do not use any essential oil for more than two weeks.
For a lot more in-depth information on dogs and issues related to ticks, fleas, infections, worms, etc., you can refer to this excellent website, which is my favorite source of information for my own dogs (www.doggytips.com).