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Is Frankincense Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? (Helps With Arthritis / Pain?)


Is Frankincense Essential Oil Safe for Dogs

As it turns out, dogs can potentially benefit from holistic treatments the way we do, namely from essential oils. However, not all essential oils are safe for dogs and it’s our mission to explore the ones that are, the ones that dog parents should avoid, and ones that lack understanding and research.

Today, we’re looking at frankincense oil, an earthy, piney, woody smell that is great for indoor spaces, but is it just as great for your dog?

Is Frankincense Essential Oil Safe for Dogs?

In short, yes, frankincense essential oil (EO) is safe for dogs – when it’s used properly and with caution. As with most things, this essential oil should be used in moderation. Before adding any EOs into your dog’s grooming routine, we’d strongly suggest consulting with your vet first.

Is Frankincense Essential Oil Safe for Dogs

Can Frankincense Be Used on Dogs?

As it is deemed one of the “safe” essential oils to use on dogs, Frankincense can bring benefits to your dog’s health. We’ll explore exactly what it does a little later, but let’s get into the application methods first.

One of the primary ways to apply frankincense oil on a dog is by doing it topically. In order to do so, pawrents would need to first dilute the EO in a safe carrier oil at a ratio of 1:50 (1 drop EO in 50 drops of carrier oil).

Before you apply it generously, we’d suggest conducting a patch test first where you put a tiny drop on your dog’s skin to monitor his reaction. 

Is Frankincense Safe to Diffuse Around Dogs?

The next method of application is through diffusion, adding the essential oil into a diffuser for aromatherapy. Like applying the oil topically, diffusing frankincense is also safe if done correctly. 

It’s no secret that canines have a strong sense of smell, so be sure to use minute amounts of frankincense and diffuse it in a well-ventilated space. Keep a watchful eye on your dog to make sure he isn’t showing any signs of discomfort or distress.

Is Frankincense Safe to Diffuse Around Dogs

Can Dogs Ingest Frankincense Oil?

No, we would never suggest letting dogs ingest any type of essential oil, safe or not. Although some oils like frankincense and lavender are widely considered safe for canines, essential oils are all highly concentrated products (which is why they come in such small amounts). 

When ingested, even a little bit of the formula could lead to toxicity and can cause severe reactions. Reach out to your vet if you suspect your dog has accidentally ingested essential oils and only apply them either topically or via diffusion.

What Are the Benefits of Frankincense Essential Oil for Dogs?

As promised, we’ll visit what exact advantages this particular EO can provide for your fur baby.

Calming Effects

Similar to other miracle oils like lavender and chamomile, frankincense also possesses potential calming effects on your dog. It’s great on the coat but through diffusion, frankincense could create a calming atmosphere that can prove to be very helpful during car rides, thunderstorms, and even during times of separation anxiety.



Tying into our first point, a calming environment can also lead to relaxation and overall better behavior. When your dog is relaxed and calm, he will be much more likely to listen to commands and exhibit improved behavior. But that’s not all, your pooch can also enjoy better quality sleep and lower stress levels.

Immune Boost

Frankincense also has the potential ability to provide immune system support for your fur baby. When your dog’s natural defenses are strengthened, he can better fight infections and illnesses to become more resilient.


Skin and Coat Health

Your dog’s health is often reflected in the state of his coat. Healthy dogs will have luscious and locks while ones that are unhealthy will have coats that lack shine. The same goes with the skin, if your dog has healthy skin thanks to frankincense’s antimicrobial properties that boost skin health, then you’ll see a soft and healthy coat.

Does Frankincense Help with Cancer in Dogs?

There is anecdotal reference and even some lab studies that suggest there may be a correlation between frankincense’s ability to disrupt the growth of cancer cells and its native properties, but we still lack hard evidence.

Studies supporting the probability that frankincense can help stave off cancer in humans are already limited let alone ones that involve canines. While the EO is claimed to have anti-inflammatory and even anti-tumor properties, again, we have no conclusive evidence that it is effective.

We will never stop hoping that this is true for humans and dogs alike, but we would still suggest prioritizing evidence-based treatment before putting all your faith in frankincense essential oil.

Does Frankincense Help with Cancer in Dogs

Does Frankincense Help with Pain in Dogs?

As mentioned, frankincense can possess anti-inflammatory properties that not only help fight off infections but also offer pain relief. This is another question that doesn’t have sufficient research to provide a concrete answer. Some have used frankincense as a complementary treatment with other methods of pain management for their dogs.

If your pooch is experiencing pain of any kind, we would still suggest asking the vet’s advice. If you’re keen on giving frankincense a try, don’t forget to check with the vet first just to be sure.

Does Frankincense Help with Pain in Dogs

Does Frankincense Help with Arthritis in Dogs?

Since there are anti-inflammatory properties in frankincense and they usually help with pain management, it’s a safe assumption to think that frankincense can help with arthritis in dogs. Frankincense is considered more “natural” compared to prescription medicine, and anecdotal evidence has suggested that it could relieve some pain and improve mobility. 

We will remind pet parents again that scientific research on frankincense and other essential oils and their benefits on dogs is very limited, so trusting your vet’s advice is still the best route.

Are All Types of Frankincense Safe for Dogs?

We’ve established that frankincense can provide benefits for dogs, but not all are safe. While common types of frankincense are sourced from the same place, there are different types that have distinct chemical compounds and potential effects.

Can Dogs Have Boswellia?

Some frankincense come from Boswellia trees, however, there are various types of Boswellia trees with the more common ones being Boswellia carterii, Boswellia sacra and Boswellia serrata. 

Boswellia is also known as Indian frankincense and is one of the ones that’s considered safe for dogs. It has been used to help with joint health, and arthritis and contains anti-inflammatory properties. 

Are All Types of Frankincense Safe for Dogs

Potential Side Effects of Frankincense Oil on Dogs

Skin Issues

Undiluted or improperly diluted frankincense oil can cause skin irritations on your dog. You could see redness, rashes, and sensitivity on the application spot. Always remember to conduct a patch test first!


Respiratory Problems

Breathing irritation more commonly happens with frankincense oil diffusion. If concentrated frankincense oil is diffused or if it’s done in an unventilated space, you could be irritating your dog’s respiratory system. 

Allergic Reactions

Some dogs can be allergic to essential oils, including frankincense. Symptoms of allergic reactions include sneezing, excessive scratching, watery eyes, and sniffling.


Behavioral Changes

If your dog is irritated by frankincense essential oil in any way, there is a chance he will exhibit strange behavior. Some dogs may become agitated, fussy, and even anxious due to the discomfort. So, if your dog suddenly acts differently, cease using the EO right away.


Serious Side Effects

Then there are the more serious repercussions of using frankincense essential oils. Adverse effects of prolonged exposure or essential oil poisoning include kidney or liver damage, gastrointestinal upset, and even seizures.

If you suspect your dog is experiencing these more serious symptoms due to essential oil exposure, we suggest heading to your vet right away.

Other Types of Frankincense Essential Oil

We mentioned the more common and well-known types of frankincense which are Boswellia carterii, Boswellia sacra and Boswellia serrata. What other types of frankincense are out there on the market?

8 Types of Frankincense Essential Oils

What are Some Other Dog-Safe Essential Oils?

When it comes to essential oils and their use on dogs, there are really less than a handful that are considered safe. And even then, there is still some debate. Lavender and chamomile are known to be the safest, but frankincense and others are also gaining more approval.

list of dog-safe essential oils for diffusers:


We’re on a never-ending quest for answers when it comes to essential oils and their potential effects (good or bad) on dogs. There aren’t a lot of studies and research done in this department but we do know that safe use and cautious application are critical.

Not only does it depend on the essential oil you use, but also on your dog as well. Your beloved pooch may not tolerate something as well as another. Always get vet approval before introducing anything new into your dog’s healthcare routine and make sure to monitor your dog closely after administration.

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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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