Using Essential Oils With a Dog Isn't Necessarily Harmful, but There Are a Few Things to Know

Essential oils do wonders for our mood and well being, so it's understandable to think they might do the same for dogs, with their heightened sense of smell. But in fact, only some essential oils are safe to use with dogs and that keen sense of smell comes into it more than you'd think. It's also important to dilute essential oils and apply them correctly when giving them to dogs. We asked the experts for guidance.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Sara Ochoa, DVM, told POPSUGAR that some essential oils can be used with dogs. She listed chamomile, frankincense, ginger, lavender, myrrh, peppermint, copaiba, petitgrain, arborvitae, ceadarwood, and lemon as safe options. However, she noted that, "this is a very new area that is being explored in veterinary medicine, and there are very limited studies done on the topic." So it's better to be safe than sorry, as with many things.

Another veterinarian, Claudine Sievert, DVM, suggested getting approval from your veterinarian before using any types of scents with your dog. "Natural doesn't mean safe when it comes to pets," she said, "Some smells are harmful or even poisonous for dogs, so owners should be cautious when treating their four-legged friends with them."

Which Essential Oils Are Dangerous for Dogs?

There are some oils that should never be used around dogs. "The worst, most harmful essential oils for pets include but are not limited to cinnamon, citrus, clove, garlic, peppermint, ylang-ylang, melaleuca, pennyroyal, anise, and pine," said Dr. Sievert, "They are dangerous to pets even in small quantities."

Can I Use Essential Oils on My Dog?

If you want to try giving essential oils to your pup, Dr. Ochoa said that, "The key with many of these scents is moderation and dilution. You do not want to put the full essential oil or scent directly on your pet." Dr. Ochoa noted that in most of the studies done on essential oils in dogs, the essential oil is diluted into a "carrier oil" such as coconut oil before it is applied to the animal.

Can You Use Essential Oil Diffusers With a Pet in the House?

Many of us love to use essential oils for ourselves, but it's important to check whether or not you should be diffusing with a pet in the house. "Pets are much more sensitive to scents than people," Dr. Sievert explained, "A dog's sense of smell is between 1,000 to 10,000 times better than ours! So even if you chose a safe essential oil for a diffuser, its smell is still potent and might be overwhelming for a pet." Her advice was to only use oils that are safe for dogs and to make sure the diffuser is out of your pooch's reach.