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Is Vanilla Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? (Topical / Aromatized)


Is Vanilla Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? (Topical / Aromatized)

Natural remedies such as the use of essential oils (EOs) are a welcome alternative to traditional medicine. However, is it safe for dogs? 

Two specific oils often pop up for their myriad benefits for humans and dogs alike – lavender and chamomile. But how about the delicious-smelling scent of vanilla? There could be potential benefits but the important part is to understand the risks first.

Like with any holistic treatment, vanilla oil is definitely dangerous in large amounts, but is there more to it?

Can You Apply Diluted Vanilla Essential Oil on Your Dog?

As of yet, there is still no conclusive research on whether or not vanilla oil is definitively safe or harmful to your pet. It is one of those EOs that are classified as “undetermined”. 

You may find websites stating that it is safe, and while we do believe that it largely is, it is still a safer bet to stay away from it until there is more viable proof.

That being said, you should definitely only apply diluted essential oils on your dog. If we apply the same logic as diluting a widely acknowledged safe EO, lavender oil, then the formula should be 1:50. You should dilute 1 drop of essential oil into 50 drops of carrier oil (base oil).

The cautious approach of careful dilution is designed to reduce potential risks of essential oil poisoning, which is more likely to happen with direct application.

The research into EOs and their effects on our beloved pets is ongoing. It’s crucial to keep in mind that each dog is different and some may have natural allergies or aversions to certain scents. 

Can You Apply Diluted Vanilla Essential Oil on Your Dog

Can You Diffuse Diluted Vanilla Essential Oil on Your Dog?

As mentioned, some dogs may have sensitivities towards certain smells or essential oils in general. One concern is our companions’ heightened sense of smell. Their noses are far more sensitive than ours, which is what can make EO diffusion irritating.

Again, there isn’t concrete research on this matter, so we recommend taking a more cautious approach.

Diffusion releases the EO particles into the air, which can make controlling your dog’s environment very challenging. Make sure to try this in a well-ventilated space with an obvious exit your dog can use if the smell gets overwhelming.

Make sure you dilute the essential oil before diffusing it by using the formula we presented above. Keep a very close eye on your pet to make sure he isn’t experiencing any discomfort or exhibiting concerning behavior such as respiratory issues or nausea.

If you suspect that your dog is suffering adverse effects from the essential oil, please contact your vet immediately.

Is It Safe for Your Dog to Ingest Vanilla Essential Oil?

Ingesting essential oils of any kind is definitely a no-no. Vanilla is an ingredient we commonly use in human foods, but it can be very potent and harmful to our pets if it is taken in large amounts. 

Essential oils come in such small bottles because they are highly concentrated, which is why you always have to dilute them. The potential reactions they can cause in dogs include gastrointestinal upset, nausea, respiratory issues and even more serious side effects such as central nervous system depression.

All of what your dog may experience depends on the amount ingested, your dog’s size, age and overall health. What’s safe for us isn’t always the case for dogs. For example, your pooch will never get to know the delicious richness of dark chocolate. So be sure to keep the vanilla oil to small doses.

Is It Safe for Your Dog to Ingest Vanilla Essential Oil

How Much Vanilla Essential Oil is Toxic for Dogs?

Always prevent your dog from ingesting essential oil or coming into direct contact with it, but we all know accidents can happen. We’ve all experienced the “joy” of trying to wrestle your dog and wrangle something from his mouth. In the case of essential oils, just how much is considered dangerous?

As we said, there isn’t an exact amount as it depends on the purity of the oil and your dog’s size, age and overall health. What we can say is that even a small amount can be harmful.

How Much Vanilla Essential Oil is Toxic for Dogs

Why is vanilla essential oil toxic to dogs? When something is harmful to your fur baby, it’s most likely an ingredient or component within that he cannot process or digest. In the case of vanilla essential oil, the toxicity lies with vanillin, a compound that is tough for dogs to metabolize.

The compounds your dog’s system can’t handle are what causes concerning side effects. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to vanilla essential oil, then monitor him for the next few hours to see if he displays unusual symptoms. If he does, contact your vet immediately.

Even a small dose can be toxic to some dogs, it really depends on each individual dog. It’s best not to find out just how much your dog needs to feel sick. Again, before itnroducing anything new into your dog’s life, make sure your vet has given their approval.

Are There Potential Benefits of Vanilla Essential Oil for Dogs?

It’s worth noting that specific studies done on essential oils and their effects on dogs are still lacking, so the best we can do is focus on research conducted on vanilla extract or oils in general and deduce their effects on our canines.

Recent studies have suggested that vanilla essential oil (VEO) can provide benefits via several applications including pain relief and even pest management.

Pain Relief

One study carried out research on neonatal fretonomy, a procedure done on newborns to release tight tissue under the tongue to help with breastfeeding. The study alluded that both lavender and vanilla essential oil were effective at reducing pain for the babies. This can suggest potentially the same pain relieving effect on dogs.


Pest Repellent

Another study was done on essential oils and their effects as pest repellents (against the lesser mealworm). Four essential oils were tested separately and in mixtures, and vanilla was one of them. 

The results showed that citronella and lemon (disliked by dogs and classified as unsafe)  essential oils had the strongest repelling effects. EO mixtures were generally more effective, with the strongest repellent being a 1:1 mixture of lemon and vanilla. According to the study, EOs have the ability to manage pest infestations and improve pest management tactics. This suggests that the same effects can be seen on dogs.

Promote overall health

There was also a study on antioxidant properties that showed that vanilla extract, including those used in essential oil compounds, showed antioxidant activity, scavenging free radicals linked to oxidative damage! We suppose the same benefits can be seen in dogs, and vanilla essential oil can promote their overall health.


Prevent infections

We also came across another study where vanilla extract from vanilla beans was tested on bacteria to see if it could stop them from communicating and causing infections. The vanilla extract was successful in stopping the bacteria from communicating, which could help prevent infections. This suggests that foods with vanilla might be good for our and our dog’s health.

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 geranium and frankincense are also gaining more approval.

list of dog-safe essential oils for diffusers:


Lavender is widely recognized for its calming effects. It can help reduce anxiety, promote relaxation, and even aid in soothing minor skin irritations.



Chamomile oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is commonly used to soothe skin irritations. It can also have a calming effect on dogs, helping with anxiety and stress.


This is another oil known for its soothing properties and can be beneficial for calming anxiety and stress in dogs. It may also support the immune system and promote overall well-being.

Although these oils are “safe”, they still need to be used with caution and in small amounts with proper dilution. If you want to know more about what oils are best to avoid, which are undetermined and which ones are widely deemed as safe, then give this a read!

Final Thoughts

Incorporating essential oils into your dog’s routine has the potential to provide benefits, but safety comes first. While vanilla essential oil has demonstrated promise, its benefits and potential hazards are still largely unknown. Stick to well-studied, dog-safe essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, geranium, and frankincense. Always dilute correctly, consult your veterinarian, and put your dog’s health first!

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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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