Many pet parents enjoy using essential oils on themselves and to replace products in their homes to ensure there are no issues with hidden toxic ingredients. This is especially beneficial to do with your cleaning supplies, especially with your furry friends walking around bare-paw on freshly cleaned floors. But did you know essential oils may also benefit your dog’s overall emotional and physical wellbeing??
Have you ever wondered exactly how you can use your oils on your dogs?
We thoroughly love how versatile these little oil bottles are! Even our dogs love them! I personally have a Rottweiler and a Newfoundland who often lounge near the diffuser, and are right at my side when opening our oils case. My dogs have enjoyed using oils for everything between ear cleaning needs to repelling pests, and even have oils in their fur shampoo.
In fact, most of the oils you use on yourself, you can also use on your dog!
A quick disclaimer… the information provided in this post is solely intended for providing information based on my personal research and experiences. This post is not intended to treat, diagnose, prevent, or cure any diseases or ailments. I am not a veterinarian or medical professional. Please consult with a holistic veterinarian (our favorite is at the Center for Animal Healing in Virginia Beach, VA).
Tips for introducing essential oils to your dog
Please introduce essential oils to your dog slowly… they are much more sensitive than we are.
Just as when we begin using essential oils, we think “less is more” – the same goes for your dogs! Less is more. Start with using a little bit at a time, and look for signs of discomfort. This could be behavioral changes, sneezing, panting, dizziness, disorientation, excessive thirst, or just a gut feeling that something isn’t right.
Size does matter, so if you’re applying oils topically, make sure you dilute more for smaller dogs.
My two dogs weigh 100-120 lbs. When I put oils together for them I tend to dilute about 2-5 drops per 5ml. For smaller dogs I recommend diluting more. Basically, I tend to treat dogs like children when it comes to safety and dilutions. If your dog is under 50 lbs, consider diluting your oils 1 drop per 5ml.
Keep in mind… dogs are much more sensitive than we are.
It is ok to diffuse around them, but make sure they have access to leave the room if the aroma is too much. And know your dog’s normal behavior. Most cases, a dog will know when s/he has had enough, and will move away from the diffuser into another room. Some cases, the dog will want to be with his/her person at all times, refusing to leave even when uncomfortable. Because of this, I recommend not diffusing more than 10 mins at a time. Give your dog time to get used to it before leaving the diffuser on all day.
They will know when they’ve had enough and when they need more, so if you’re dog is one to stay next to you at all costs, look for signs that may indicate they’ve had enough. And always be sure to give them a way to leave the room if they feel the need.
Sometimes my dogs lounge next to the table our diffuser is on in the living room, sometimes they hang out on the opposite side of the room, and sometimes they leave the room… the important part is they are given a choice.
Choosing an essential oil brand healthy enough to use around your dogs:
Contrary to what many popular bloggers believe, essential oils are NOT created equally. There are many unethical practices that plague the essential oil industry that may actually cause harm to your dog (and to you too).
Quality really is everything when it comes to using essential oils, especially if you’re using them therapeutically. Unfortunately most people see deceptive marketing and interpret them to be facts. Anything labeled “100% pure” or “___ grade” is 100% marketing. In fact, there is no legal definition of what an essential oil is, so companies are able to get away with a lot of deception, legally. Don’t miss my post highlighting the 10+ dirty little secrets of the essential oil industry to ensure you’re not wasting your money on brands who are only looking for profits and don’t have your best interests in mind.
There are a few essential oils you should avoid using around dogs:
** Please note this is for using the oils individually. If you choose to use them as individual oils, please consult with a holistic veterinarian knowledgable in essential oils. At the minimum, make sure you have and use a quality animal essential oils reference guide. Using some of these oils in blends may be ok because of the dilution rates.
Some of these oils are ok around dogs when highly diluted with other oils and carrier oils. The warning is more so for the oils by themselves. Please do your research before using any of the oils mentioned above.
A note about tea tree essential oil (one of our most frequently asked questions)
In most cases, tea tree oil should be avoided for use on dogs, especially if you’re using an inexpensive oil brand. However, there have been some reports that using tea tree on large dogs may be therapeutic IF you’re using a high quality brand, it is diluted more than normal, and you are using it for very short amounts of time.
I highly recommend grabbing an essential oils reference guide specific to using oils on animals. There are two essential oil reference books for animals that I especially love, and both include a full section about dogs (also has sections for cats, livestock, birds…etc). This ADR that is not based on any specific brand, and this Animal Desk Reference specific to Young Living.
My favorite essential oils to use on dogs
I love how versatile those oils are! The same popular ones you can use on yourself that can conveniently be used on your dog too!
Copaiba essential oil is great to use on active and older dogs. It helps support your dogs’ natural response to irritation, healthy digestion, and inflammation. This oil is fantastic for helping your do gain greater mobility and flexibility.
To use copaiba, you can add it in with their shampoo or diffuse it with lavender. You may also add some Copaiba Vitality into your dogs’ food.
Frankincense essential oil has been studied extensively for its physical and emotional benefits. Diffusing frankincense oil, or applying it to your pet’s fur, may help them focus, help them manage stress, and support their overall wellness, skin health, and coat.
Lavender essential oil is a must have in every home. It is known to help sooth and support your pet’s skin, sooth and relax your dog’s mind (especially great for thunderstorms and 4th of July fireworks). It’s one of those oils we often take with us on hikes. I love massaging some behind my dogs’ ears to help them relax and unwind, especially when we pull into new campgrounds (we do full time live in an RV).
Peppermint essential oil helps a lot with mental clarity and focus. This is a very strong oil, so you won’t need nearly as much as you would normally use with other oils. It helps support normal digestion, cools and calms the mind, lessens the fear of the unknown, and is very useful when training new concepts.
Lemon essential oil is the perfect helper creating a clean, fresh aroma in your home (our secret weapon for not having a house that smells like animals). Lemon oil is also great for training! Add some lemon oil to a ribbon to leave at the door for “scent marking” to help older dogs find their way outside, or to help puppies associate the scent to house training.
I also use lemon essential oil a lot with baking soda to clean messes from the carpet and when mopping floors.
Best Essential Oil Blends for Dogs
Purification is one of my favorite oils to use on our dogs. It is great to spritz on their fur (especially around their legs) to help keep pests away. It is also perfect to keep on hand to combat the dirty/wet dog odor in the car.
Stress Away Essential Oil Blend is very useful for helping the whole family relax and enjoy the moment. We diffuse it for helping us relax, reduce mental irritation, chill out situational anxiety, and to unwind before bed. This blend is especially helpful for all of us in the car to help keep calm from tense driving situations. We often diffuse a little in the car with a drop of peppermint (smells like a thin mint cookie) to keep us calm and alert.
Thieves Essential Oil Blend is one of our most used oils. It helps support your dogs’ overall wellness and a healthy immune response. It also helps support healthy respiration, and creates a calm and comforting environment. We use this oil in our cleaning too.
R.C. is an essential oil blend that is great for exercise and long runs. We diffuse it sometimes to help with respiratory needs, but its also one of my go-to oils for when we are hiking or taking early morning runs. It helps a lot with preventing sore muscles when applied before working out, and does wonders for opening up your lungs when running around with your dogs.
Essential Oil Blends formulated Just For Dogs
One thing about the brand of oils we use, Young Living, that I love is how dedicated they are to simplifying everything about using oils… including oils for pets. They actually have a personal care product line and collection of essential oils just for animals! Though, of course, they can be used on people too.
The AnimalScents essential oils are pre-diluted for larger animals. If you have a smaller dog or decide to use them on your cat, please further dilute them. Even with my dogs being 100+ lbs, I still add a little more carrier oil to the oils I use on them.
DIY Essential Oil Recipes for Dogs
Using your oils, you can make an unlimited amount of different things to help support a healthy dog and home.
DIY Day-Trippers Spritz
DEET and other bug sprays can be harmful to your health, and your dog’s health. Instead, there are a few essential oils that can make being outside not so annoying, especially with having citronella essential oil around! Here is one of our favorite outdoor sprays to help with annoying bugs:
To make your own DIY outdoor spray, combine 4 drops each of Purification Essential Oil Blend and citronella essential oil, 2 drops of palo santo essential oil, and 1 drop each of cedarwood and thyme essential oils. Add the oils into a 4 oz glass spray bottle with a pinch of salt, and fill the rest of the bottle with water.
DIY Dog Ear Cleaning Wipes
Cleaning ears is so important! But have you stopped and looked at the ingredients at the products in most pet supply stores? Ingredients like DMDM Hydrantoin really cause concern putting it on our furry family members, especially when making ear wipes is so easy to do.
I don’t know about your house, but sometimes our dogs get into something or just end up with that doggie odor at the worst time possible for a bath (like post-neuter surgery… 10 mins before needing to get in the car… moments before a guest arrives… or during early months of my latest pregnancy when smells were just too much to handle)… we made some of this “doggie cologne” and it made life so much more enjoyable!
** quick tip… if your dog has short fur, you may want to add 1/4 cup witchazel with 3/4 cup water and shake before you spray, just in case some gets down by the skin. Both my dogs have long, double coats, so we aren’t as worried about that as long as the spray is kept away from their faces and bellies.
If you don’t have Purification or use a different brand, lemongrass by itself is a good replacement, just reduce the drops to 10.
Essential Oil Infused Supplements For Dogs
Just as people do, dogs may excel with oil-infused supplements to boost their nutrition.
If your dog doesn’t have sensitivities to night shades, Ningxia Red is an excellent superfood that can provide whole-body support. We don’t give more than half an ounce each day. If your dog does have sensitivities to night shades, you may want to hold off. While studies have shown Ningxia Red’s wolf berries do not cause inflammation the way typical night shades do, I do stress caution until you know how your dog responds.
AgilEase is a turmeric and frankincense supplement that specifically helps with bones, joints, and fluid movement. I personally give this to my 9 year old Rottie frequently to help his stiff joints so he can keep up with us while we hike new locations.
OmegaGize supports normal brain, eye, heart, joint, and immune functioning.
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