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What essential oils are safe for dogs/cats? (30+ Safe Essential oils)


What essential oils are safe for dogs

Essential oils, when we think of them, subtle aromas of lavender, tea tree, and chamomile come to mind. We think of relaxation, perhaps at a spa in Bali, with professional aromatherapists and masseuses at our beck and call. 

In true pet parent fashion, you wish your pup could experience the same benefits that we humans do from essential oils, but can they?

It’s a tricky question because the answer is yes and no. They can be helpful for dogs depending on what they’re used for, but there are also bad essential oils. We’ll get into all of it down below!

Do Dogs Need Essential Oils?

Do dogs need essential oils? Everything in moderation, that’s a saying true for humans and for dogs as well when it comes to aromatherapy. Too much of a good thing can be bad. 

While dogs do not need essential oils to maintain their health, these therapeutic methods can be used as complementary treatments to help alleviate certain conditions. 

For example, if you have an anxious pup, sometimes the scent of lavender can help calm him down. It may work for some dogs, but others may be immune to its effects. 

Do Dogs Need Essential Oils

The feedback on essential oils can also vary depending on who you ask. There are vets that may feel the effects are not noticeable, while others believe they can be helpful due to their calming properties and even pest prevention.

What many vets do agree on is that overwhelming scents can be irritating for dogs, especially since their sense of smell is 10,000 to even 100,000 times stronger than ours. When applied topically, certain essential oils could be toxic when coming in contact with your dog’s skin. There could also be detrimental effects if the oils are inhaled or ingested in large amounts.

Knowing this, it’s incredibly important to understand which essential oils are safe for dogs to use and how to properly administer them.

What Benefits Do They Provide?

We said essential oils can provide some benefits. These are benefits that some dogs may experience while others may not feel its effects. Essential oils should not be used in lieu of proper vet care and can possibly help dogs with:

Benefits of essential oils for dogs

Which Essential Oils Are Proven To Be Safe for Dogs?

Let’s start with what’s safe for dogs. Keep in mind that these oils are safe with moderate use, limited exposure, and proper dilution.


Lavender is a popular essential oil that can calm dogs when diluted and used topically. Not only can lavender oil help your dog chillax, but it can also help soothe irritated and itchy skin. Just a few drops on a pillow can make all the difference. 

Lavender oil is also one with the most scientific studies done on its effects on dogs, with one specifically on its effects on cortisol levels.

Main Benefits of Lavender for dogs:



Chamomile is another one that can help humans and dogs. For canines, this essential oil is an aid for dogs who need help with digestion and also helps dogs relax, just like we would before bedtime with some chamomile tea. 

Although studies are limited, the only side-effect that has been found are allergy related issues.

Main Benefits of Chamomile for dogs:


Does your dog have skin problems, joint issues in his old age, or a weakened immune system? Then frankincense can be the answer! Boswellic acid, the active ingredient within frankincense has been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties.

According to Whiteoakvet: “A correct Frankincense extract dosage shows mild but uncommon side effects, including possible mild diarrhea or flatulence.

Main Benefits of Frankincense for dogs:



Who else feels like frankincense should go with myrrh? While the two smells may complement each other in things such as candles, myrrh doesn’t have the same effects frankincense has on dogs. It’s a miracle worker that could help with wound healing and even skin allergies.

Although we couldn’t find any official studies on Myrhh, we did find multiple sources like Thedodo, Wildearth, and Pupford that state Myrhh is safe to dilute around dogs.

Main Benefits of Myrrh for dogs:



Ginger helps boost our immune system and digestion, and it seems to have the same effect on our fur babies. Ginger has the ability to help combat nausea and vomiting, and it is believed that these benefits extend to dogs. 

According to a study, ginger essential oil is safe for all animal species in moderate amounts.

Main Benefits of Ginger for dogs:



Cardamom essential oil is actually pretty safe for our dogs & cats, as long as we use it properly. It can do wonders! 

It helps soothe their respiratory system, making breathing easier and reducing annoying coughs. Not just that, but it can also be great for dogs who are not eating as much as they should be, as it has the potential to normalize their appetite.

Main Benefits of Cardamom for dogs:

Which Essential Oils Are Undetermined for Dogs?

Below are some essential oils that are amazing to our noses, but are undetermined for their effects on dogs due to the lack of scientific study on canines specifically. The studies were done on active ingredients within the oils that have positive effects on humans and possibly other animals.

Before using the below oils, we’d suggest consulting with your vet and using the proper precautions when administering these oils.


Cedarwood is another amazing-smelling essential oil that your dog can also benefit from. Cedarwood oil contains monoterpenoids, which studies show can have pest management properties. However, it’s important to note that studies are still being conducted on how much and how to use it on dogs.



If you can’t find lavender, then opt for marjoram. Marjoram has some sedative properties that can also help relax and calm your pooch in a more natural and holistic way.


Fennel is great for detoxification because it has diuretic abilities (making your pooch go number 1) and it can also help your dog’s digestive system. Again, the research is still ongoing so it’s still a good idea to keep your dog from picking things up off the floor.


Carrot Seed

Do carrots have seeds? Yep! They come from the flower which blooms in the second year of planting. These seeds can be used to create a warm and earthy scent, that also boosts your pooch’s immune system and supports skin health thanks to antioxidants.



Copaiba, a sweet and peppery scent, also has anti-inflammatory properties like many other oils on our list. Because of this, it can also help with infections and joint pain.



Good for gum but also good for your dog! Turns out, spearmint is used in gum due to its antimicrobial properties, something that could also benefit your dog as well for healthy digestion. 



It’s pronounced he-li-chry-sum (it took us a few tries), and it’s more than just a tongue-twister, it’s an oil that supports skin health and can soothe minor skin irritations in dogs!



Bergamot, a citrusy scent that your dog may not be a fan of, but can possibly help with stress reduction. The study was done on rats, so there isn’t enough data with dogs to show this to definitely be the case, especially since it’s widely recognized that dogs aren’t a fan of citrus smells (hence why many bitter sprays and citronella collars are citrus-scented)


Lastly, we have coriander, which is a staple ingredient in various cuisines around the world, but what can it do for your dog? It can help with digestion and it also possesses anti-microbial aspects to it. 


Vanilla Essential Oil

Not many studies have been done with vanilla essential oil on dogs, but we can deduce that it has similar effects as lavender in terms of its calming abilities.



Basil, a yummy herb on pizza that has insecticidal properties. It’s generally safe to be used on dogs but we’d still suggest avoiding consumption in large amounts. If used topically in small diluted amounts, there is a chance that it could work alongside regular pest repellents.



There are still not a lot of studies of cypress oil done on dogs, but it is generally safe to use it in an oil diffuser but not topically on your dog (in case of consumption). There is a potential for cypress oil to also possess calming qualities.


Balsam Fir

Mmm, the smell of fir, especially in the winter really brings a cozy vibe, but what effects does it have on your dog? It’s safe for diffusion and some sites have said it can be used for sore muscles, but due to the lack of scientific studies, we’d suggest sticking to just using it for your room.



Niaouli has antimicrobial properties like many of the other oils we have listed, and the ones that do can usually help fight infections and skin irritations


Blue Tansy

There is very limited information right now about the reaction dogs have to blue tansy, but it has skin-soothing properties and is used in some oil mixes sold for dogs. Due to the lack of studies, we would suggest being more cautious when purchasing oils with blue tansy as an ingredient for dogs.


Black Pepper

Black pepper is said to be safe for dogs on many sites, claiming it comes with many benefits such as soothing sore muscles and helping with digestion, but there are very limited studies on the veracity of this. 

In fact, there is one study that claims black pepper oil could be used to repel mammalian pests – dogs included. So, benefits aside, whether your dog likes this oil is a different story.


Clary Sage

Clary sage has a bunch of benefits for humans such as skin-soothing properties that help with itchiness and rashes, and also antiseptic and antibacterial components. There is a study done on dogs with cystitis involving clary sage, and the results were favorable.


Fir Needle

Fir needle oil also requires further study for a definitive answer, but we can assume they have similar effects as balsam fir. But although it is considered safe for dogs, we would still suggest avoiding it until more concrete results from studies are shared.



Jasmine is an ingredient found in many household essentials, but how does it benefit your pooch? First things first, make sure your pooch doesn’t ingest any as it isn’t safe to take orally. However, if diffused, jasmine can have calming results on an anxious pup. 

Again, studies for this particular oil are few and far between with some websites even suggesting that jasmine is completely unsafe for dogs. Knowing this, we suggest steering clear of it for now.



Jasmine is an ingredient found in many household essentials, but how does it benefit your pooch? First things first, make sure your pooch doesn’t ingest any as it isn’t safe to take orally. However, if diffused, jasmine can have calming results on an anxious pup. 

Again, studies for this particular oil are few and far between with some websites even suggesting that jasmine is completely unsafe for dogs. Knowing this, we suggest steering clear of it for now.



There is very little scientific information regarding ravensara’s safety for canine use while some websites do mention it has calming results. We suggest not using this essential oil if you have other options and go for one scientifically proven to be safe.



The IVC Journal states that vetiver has calming and grounding effects on dogs. For those with anxious fur babies, this could be worth a try!

Which Essential Oils Should You Avoid Using?

As important as it is to identify the good essential oils, it can be even more so to understand which ones are bad for your dog so you can avoid them. While a minuscule amount may not affect your dog, the below essential oils could cause poisoning and induce vomiting and nausea if your dog is exposed to larger quantities.

In milder cases, your dog could exhibit lethargy, drooling, and an allergic reaction and irritation. However, in more severe cases, your dog may even get seizures and collapse.

Dangerous essential oils for dogs

How to Use Essential Oils for Your Dog?

Essential oils can be administered to your dog either topically or via a diffuser. Either way, you have to make sure to dilute the oils and never apply them directly onto your dog’s skin or allow him to ingest them. 

Oils should be used in small amounts, preferably diluted with a carrier oil (coconut and olive work well) with a 1:10 ratio.

How to Use Essential Oils for Your Dog

Before using an essential oil for your dog, you have to consult your vet and get the green light. Some dogs may be allergic to certain ingredients and others could suffer adverse effects. Your vet should give you tips on how to handle said effects if they do occur.

The introduction of the oil should be gradual, it should be used sparingly, and only opt for high-quality oils that do not contain additives.


Essential oils are an alternative form of treatment that some vets suggest using alongside traditional medication. In fact, some pawrents may prefer going the more “holistic and natural” route by alleviating anxiety with aromatherapy rather than prescribing drugs. Unfortunately, essential oils aren’t without risks, so dog parents must make sure to use them the correct way and avoid ones that are potentially harmful. 

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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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