Essential Oils and Dogs: 6 Questions Answered

It seems there is an essential oil for every ailment: insomnia, anxiety, bad breath, and even hair loss. But should we be using oils on our pups? Here are six questions answered to help you decide.

Essential oils are nothing new to the aromatherapy world, however in recent years with the spiking number of direct sales on social media, essential oil companies like Young Living and doTERRA are exploding. It seems there is an essential oil for every ailment: insomnia, bad breath, and even hair loss. Oil diffusers are replacing scented candles and Pinterest competition for the best oil soap recipe is stiff. But should we be using oils on our pups? Here are six questions answered to help you decide if oiling is right for you and your dog.

1. Why use essential oils?

Essential oils are a natural solution for a variety of doggy issues. Citronella can help keep your dog safe from biting insects that carry diseases, while inhaling diluted lavender helps dogs with anxiety feel calm.

2. Are essential oils ready to use?

No. Dilute, dilute, dilute! Whether using an oil for a pet or for yourself, never use an oil directly on you or your dog’s skin. Essential oils should be mixed with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive. Dogs are more sensitive to oils than us humans are, so you will want to dilute oils before encouraging your dog to inhale them as well.

3. Can I use them on my puppy?

Essential oils should not be used on dogs younger than 10 weeks of age.

4. What oils are safe to use?

The following common oils (but not limited to) are said to be safe for dogs: Basil, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Orange, Rosemary, and Vanilla. Be sure to research each for proper dilution and administering. Some oils are okay for your dog to inhale, but not okay for topical application. Thyme, clove, and wintergreen are oils that should be avoided, especially for long term use. 

5. What’s the deal with Tea Tree oil?

There are conflicting reports on the use of Tea Tree oil for dogs. While many older reports render it toxic, some newer sources claim that when used in small amounts, and diluted appropriately, it is safe. Young Living sells pet-friendly oils that contain Tea Tree Oil. If you don’t trust yourself to properly dilute it, consider investing in premixed formulas.

6. What if I accidentally use too much oil?

Any oil used incorrectly could potentially be poisonous to your dog. If you suspect that your dog has been overexposed, look out for the following reactions and contact your veterinarian immediately: vomiting, vremors, difficulty breathing, difficulty walking/lethargy, drooling, pawing at mouth/face, redness or burns on skin, including tongue/mouth.

Keep your dog’s appropriate dosage in mind when using oil diffusers to scent your home. What is safe for humans to inhale may not be safe for dogs.

Overall, when used properly, essential oils are a great natural alternative to help heal your dog’s emotional and physical ailments. As a general rule of thumb, essential oils should be used sparingly.



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