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How to Use Essential Oils for Dogs (Safely) 


How to Use Essential Oils for Dogs

Essential oils have been used throughout history to promote health and wellness among humans, but now these benefits can extend to your darling fur babies – but only some are safe.

Knowledge about which ones are safe to use on dogs and how to apply them can open doors to a happier and healthier pup. Aside from essential oils themselves, there are also other products that contain essential oils that can also have an effect on your pooch.

Let’s get to know more about how to incorporate essential oils into your dog’s health routine. 

How Essential Oils are Used on Dogs 

From alleviating anxiety to promoting healthier skin and coats, essential oils seem to be a miracle concoction. While they could be for certain issues, it’s important that you know how to use them and they have to be applied cautiously.

There are two primary ways to use essential oils on your pup – topically or via aromatic diffusion.

Topical Application

Topical Application

Topical application means applying the oil directly onto your dog’s skin or coat – the method varies depending on the oil. One thing that stays consistent is the importance of dilution. The essential oil needs to be diluted with a carrier oil, or base oil. 

The base oil is typically a vegetable oil safe for dogs that most of us have around the house such as olive, coconut, and sunflower oils. Just to be on the safe side, we would suggest looking for organic options. The typical ratio is 1:50, which is one drop of essential oil to 50 drops of carrier oil.


Aromatic Application (Diffusers)

Aromatic Application (Diffusers)

Breathe in and breathe out, turns out your dog can also enjoy the healing properties of essential oils through aromatic diffusion. This method is better for dogs dealing with emotional and psychological stress and respiratory issues. 

What Essential Oils Are Safe to Use?

Unfortunately, there are more essential oils that are harmful than safe for dogs. Some to definitely avoid are tea tree oil, peppermint, and ylang ylang (a really nice-smelling flower, by the way) to name a few – especially if undiluted. Some unsafe oils may just cause irritation, but others can lead to more serious health issues.

We have created a comprehensive list (with studies!) that outline which essential oils are safe, which lack enough research to reach a concrete answer, and which are definitely dangerous.

Essential Oils Proven To Be Safe For Dogs

Benefits of Essential Oils 

Essential oils, though many are harmful, can be used with traditional treatments for numerous canine health benefits. We often refer to lavender and chamomile as “miracle oils”, because of their calming and anti-inflammatory properties. 

They can be used to relax your pooch and also soothe skin irritations. These essential oils aren’t the only ones that can work miracles, check out our previous article about the myriad of health benefits these oils can provide.

Benefits of essential oils for dogs

How to Apply Essential Oils to Dogs

The best place to apply the essential oil solution is where absorption happens quickly, typically along your dog’s spine, behind his ears, and the paws. The essential oil mixture should be introduced gradually over a 7-day period at the very least.

Do Dogs Need Essential Oils

Once applied, you should keep a watchful eye on your dog just to make sure there isn’t a negative reaction. Topical application is best used for dogs with external issues such as skin, coat, and tick problems.

Applying essential oils aromatically is easy, all you need to do is purchase a good diffuser specially made for essential oils and place it in a space your dog frequents. It needs to be in a well-ventilated area and kept at a safe distance from your dog so he can’t get into it.

Make sure your dog has access in and out of the room just in case the scent becomes too overwhelming. Never leave the diffuser on for long hours because it could cause overexposure. 

Always dilute the essential oil before using it on your dog. This applies to both topical and aromatic use.

Are Essential Oil Candles and Accessories Safe for Dogs?

Essential oils are also sought-after ingredients for many items we can find around the house such as candles, so where do these products stand on the safe scale?

Candles and wax melts

While candles and similar products can create calming environments for us and our dogs, it’s important to make sure they are safe. Similar to using diffusers, you need to place the candles in a well-ventilated room with an exit for your dog. 

Any overwhelming scent can be difficult for dogs to handle, so we suggest going with the smells that are generally regarded as safe for them such as chamomile, lavender, and frankincense. Steer clear from strong citrus scents as research shows dogs are not fans.



Yes, the jewelry you wear can also be infused with essential oils. In fact, some dog collars can be as well. We would suggest avoiding accessories that contain these oils because if chewed or ingested by your pooch, the intake could be dangerous.

Cleaning products

Cleaning products are among the most common scented items in our houses aside from soaps and shampoos. After all, who doesn’t like a fresh-smelling home? People use essential oils for their antimicrobial properties but some may be toxic to dogs.

It’s vital to choose cleaning products carefully because dogs like to lick everything! It’s how they explore the world. Always make sure the cleaning supplies you use are safe for pets, and keep your dog away from places you’ve just cleaned until they’re completely dry and any remaining cleaner has been wiped away.


Soaps and shampoos

You have to smell fresh coming out of the shower, or else, did you even wash yourself? But a lot of these products can be harmful to our fur babies if human soaps and shampoos come into contact with their skin. 

Make sure to keep your stuff out of your pooch’s reach and to only use washes meant for dogs when bathing him.


Laundry products

Nothing beats the smell of fresh laundry – but your pet’s health. Some laundry products contain essential oils and can be irritating for your dog to breathe in over a long period. We suggest using pet-friendly or free and clear detergents and steer clear of softeners.


Lotions and balms

Like many other human products we talked about, lotions and balms we use that have essential oils can also be toxic to dogs. Make sure to keep these items out of your dog’s reach and to keep them from licking distance until the products are dry after applying.


Reed and car diffusers

Diffusers come in a few different types. There are ones that diffuse essential oils in the form of steam, but there are also ones that evaporate, like your car diffusers and reed diffusers. 

The concentration of oils for reed diffusers is very strong, so avoid using them in a small or enclosed space. The same goes for car diffusers. Pick ones that are not too strong for your dog, made with dog-safe essential oils, and choose steam diffusers if given the choice.


Pillows and bed linens

Manufacturers now also embed essential oils into pillows and bed linens to make things smell nice and to help you relax at night. Lavender is a common scent used, which is safe for your dog if it’s not too strong. Keep away from essential oils that are harmful and monitor your canine for potential side effects.

Conclusion – How To Use Essential Oils With Pets

For a dog’s health and well-being, it is necessary to know how to use essential oils and to pick the right ones. When utilized properly, these natural therapies can help with many things from skincare to stress reduction. 

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Written by

Jessica Lin
Jessica is the definition of a dog lover if there ever was one. She is sure fellow dog lovers will agree that a bond between us and our best friend is indescribable, so we only want the best for our pups!
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