Neem oil is a naturally occurring pesticide originating from India, Burma, and Sri Lanka and essential oil used for Ayurveda and other traditional medicine. But it has become a popular product in the western world as well. It is highly efficient as a natural insect and pest repellent but can also be used for skin soothing and treatment and as an anti-inflammatory agent. Neem oil is also used for ringworm treatment in dogs.
But the question is – is neem oil safe for dogs, and how to use it properly?
The short answer is – yes, neem oil is safe as a topical treatment when applied as recommended for healthy dogs. But always speak to your vet before using neem oil or any other new non-dog treatment on your pet. Some pups may be allergic or sensitive to it, and certain medications may interact with it poorly.
This oil is made of the seeds of the neem tree. Giving neem oil orally to your pup is not recommended or safe. Humans and dogs can consume only the leaves of the neem tree for other health benefits.
Read on to find out how to use neem oil safely with pups, how it can become an excellent natural repellent against fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and other biting insects, and resolve different skin conditions in canines.
Neem Oil and Dogs
Neem oil, which is made of the neem tree seeds and other parts of this plant, has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years in India.
Today, dog parents in the USA and around the world are also using it for their pets.
Neem oil is an efficient pesticide that will repel mosquitos, flees, and other insects. It repels and even kills these harmful bugs.
It also has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which can help treat various skin issues in canines, such as insect bites, hot spots, itchiness, chafing, and even some types of mange.
But, veterinarians do not recommend that you rely only on neem oil to protect your pup against fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. Rather, it can be used in addition to the specialized flea and tick prevention products offered on the market.
The reason is that this natural oil may not be as reliable as the traditional preventative products. And these insects can carry some severe and life-threatening diseases, including Lyme, heartworm, Bartonella, Babesia, and more.
Keep in mind that in its pure state, neem oil is very potent and has a smell that most humans and dogs will find repulsive, so you should always dilute it or follow the instructions before using it.
Being a natural pest repellent, the smell of this oil is similar to that of mixed burnt onions, garlic, sulfur, and coffee, which is not pleasant at all.
How can Neem Oil be Good for Dogs?
The most common use of neem oil for dogs is as an insect repellent and pesticide. Many people prefer to use it as a natural alternative to traditional repellents, preventative products, and treatments.
But remember that while this oil can repel and kill insects like fleas, mosquitoes, and certain types of ticks, it is not as efficient against brown ticks or protect against tapeworms.
This means that you should apply it alongside the regular preventative treatments you give to your pet. Make sure to get your dog tested for parasites and infections regularly if you do not give it the traditional monthly treatments.
The advantage of neem oil is that it is all-natural rather than chemical and smells and tastes bitter and unpalatable, so it is less likely that the pup will lick it off its coat and skin. Plus, it is not toxic even if your pup happens to lick some.
If your veterinarian approves, you can use neem oil topically to treat and alleviate certain skin conditions in dogs. It can help reduce the itching from allergies, treat hot spots or chaffing, certain types of mange, fungal infections, atopic dermatitis, and ringworm in canines.
This natural oil is efficient in fighting inflammations, microbes, and other infections on the skin. When applied as recommended, some of the neem oil is absorbed by the animal’s bloodstream and can help prevent other infestations or infections.
Remember to use the neem oil according to the instructions, and only apply it topically and not orally on dogs.
If you are using it pure, you will need to dilute it at a 1:10 ratio with other oil such as olive or almond oil.
Whatever topical neem-based product you will use for your furbaby, the recommended concentration of neem oil in it should be no more than 1%.
Is Neem Oil Suitable for my Dog?
Every dog is different, so you should consider your pet’s age and health issues and talk to your veterinarian before using neem oil to protect it from pests or to treat different skin problems.
Some pups are allergic or sensitive to neem oil, so applying it to their coats and skin can lead to mild to severe allergic reactions. The milder allergic reactions include sneezing, swelling, coughing, and hives. Severe allergic reactions include difficulty breathing, wheezing, collapsing, and life-threatening anaphylactic shock.
If you suspect that your furbaby has an allergic reaction, you should discontinue the use of neem oil immediately. You need to contact your vet immediately if the symptoms are more serious.
So, speak to your veterinarian before using neem oil on your dog. Start with small quantities at first and watch your furry companion for any adverse effects before applying more of the oil.
Diluting the Neem Oil for Dogs
Some vets recommend that you dilute the neem oil with other oil such as olive, almond, or grape seed oil in a ratio of 1 part neem to 10 parts other oil.
Once you have diluted and mixed the oils well, you can apply small dabs to the places where ticks, fleas, and other pests are more likely to attack. These dog parts include the head, tail, flanks, shoulders, and ears.
Do this every two to three days to help prevent tick, mosquito, flea bites, and infestations.
You can also apply small dabs of the diluted solution on hot spots, scabs, and other parts of the skin which is irritated or itchy.
Always monitor your pup for any side effects after applying the neem oil for the first time.
Mixing the Neem Oil with Shampoo
Dog parents can also add some neem oil to their pup’s shampoo. To do so, add a teaspoon of the oil to every two tablespoons of dog shampoo. Prepare the mixture right before you use it for bathing the dog so that the neem oil retains its insect repellent and other beneficial qualities.
Apply the shampoo and neem oil mixture by massaging it well on the dog’s skin and coat and letting it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing it off thoroughly.
Making a Neem Oil Spray
Dilute one part neem oil with 10 parts lukewarm water in a spray bottle. Mix them well. You may add some other safe essential oils or some dog shampoo to the mixture to neutralize the unpleasant smell of neem oil.
Prepare the mixture right before using it to spray your pup because when left, the neem oil will begin losing its beneficial qualities.
Apply the spray on your furbaby’s coat and skin in generous amounts and massage it in.
Words of Warning
Never apply neem oil, even when it is diluted, to open wounds, sores, and cuts on the pup’s skin. Also, be careful not to get any of the oil in contact with your dog’s eyes, nose, or mouth.
Remember that your furry friend may rub the neem oil off on your carpets and furniture, so you may want to keep it away from them until the skin has absorbed the oil to avoid the unpleasant smell of getting on your belongings.
Let us know whether you have used neem oil on your dog and your thoughts about it!