What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?

The popularity of essential oils is skyrocketing each day due to their associated health benefits. The oils are concentrated plant extracts and have the plants’ essence. Several essential oils come from different plants, each having its perceived benefits.

They are mainly used in aromatherapy and other forms of alternative medicine. Nonetheless, many people still doubt the health effects of essential oils, making their use somewhat controversial.

Are essential oils safe for dogs? Dogs seem to react to most oils, beating the notion that they are suitable for both human and pet health. We will take an in-depth look at the relationship between dogs and essential oils to understand the effects.

What are Essential Oils, and What Do They Do?

As previously hinted, essential oils are plant extracts. They have unique aromatic compounds, which give them their characteristic scent. Processing of the plant material is mostly via distillation, though mechanical processes, like pressing, come to play at times.

The extract gets mixed with a carrier oil to give you the end product. People do not consider oils obtained via chemical processes as true essential oils.

The primary area of use is aromatherapy, but some oils come in packages that can be used as air fresheners or humidifiers.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

The standard way of using essential oils is inhaling after being dispensed by a humidifier or diffuser. You may also apply the oils directly onto your skin.

In how they work, the oils are lipophilic; hence, they get absorbed directly by the skin or mucous membranes. They then go to the bloodstream and initiate various body responses. Later on, the liver eliminates what remains of them.

You may dilute the oil with another carrier oil and apply it to your dog’s skin to deal with irritations and wounds. However, you should be keen on the essential oil you use for your dog, as some can be toxic.

Related: 23 Dog Skin Conditions (And How To Cure Them)

Which are the Toxic Essential Oils For Dogs?

You should not mistake a 100% natural tag on the essential oils for meaning that they are safe for dogs. Making up the list below are essential oils that are harmful to dogs.

These essential oils can bring about various reactions if your dog ingests or comes into contact with them. In large doses, the oils can lead to liver or kidney failure. It means you should always be keen to prevent such an occurrence.

Signs of Essential Oil Toxicity in Dogs

You have to be keen on the signs of essential oil toxicity in dogs to act fast and prevent the situation from being fatal. Symptoms of toxicity include nausea, vomiting, instability, and diarrhea. Some might get itchy or irritated if the oils touch their fur or skin.

Furthermore, you may notice watery eyes, redness on the gums, low temperature, and depreciated breathing rate.

What to Do in Case of Essential Oil Poisoning

If your dog gets exposed to toxic essential oils, you have to immediately reach out to the vet. Meanwhile, determine how the toxicity came to be. If the dog inhaled the oils, you take it out to breathe fresh air.

Do not induce vomiting if your dog ingests the oils. Doing so will complicate matters and can spread the toxicity to other organs like the lungs. If the oils touch your dog’s skin, wash it with water and handwashing soap.

Carry the bottle of essential oil that caused the toxicity when going to the pet doctor.

Are there Essential Oils that are Safe for Dogs?


Despite many people viewing essential oils as toxic to dogs, there are several that are safe and will benefit your canine in several ways. Highlighted below are some of the safe essential oils.

Myrrh Oil

Derived from the Commiphora myrrh tree, myrrh oil will benefit your dog in many ways. It comes in handy for teething dogs to help with the pain. You dilute the oil and put it on your canine’s gum to do away with the pain.

Also, it has antiseptic properties for dealing with skin allergies and other infections, like fungus.

Cypress Oil

You can use cypress oil on your dogs to take advantage of its antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. Use it on your canine if it has coughs, muscle pain, and poor skin health.

In addition, the colorless oil is an excellent flea repellent.

Cedarwood Oil

If your dog has allergies, cedarwood oil is a great solution. You can mix a few drops with water and massage it on your dog’s skin. It will aid in beating dandruff, rashes, and dermatitis. This essential oil boosts blood circulation, thus crucial for your dog’s immune function.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oils come from the flowers of the lavender plant. You have to dilute the oil before using it on your dogs. Benefits of this oil include soothing irritated skin, repelling away fleas and ticks, and preventing fungal and bacterial infections.

Ginger Essential Oil

Ginger oil has a dark amber color and has been used for ages to treat various inflammations. On dogs, it prevents nausea, manages arthritis, and relieves bloating.

Related: Can Dogs Eat Ginger?

Chamomile Oil

Do you have an overly anxious dog? The solution to its anxiety is chamomile oil, which will also deal with other conditions like gastrointestinal problems. Furthermore, it is a go-to answer for enhanced cardiovascular and reproductive health.

These are the safe essential oils that are safe for dogs. You realize that you have to dilute most of them before use.

How to Prevent Essential Oil Toxicity

Preventing toxicity is easier than constant visits to the pet doctor. The first move is to get essential oils that won’t harm your dog. Some oils have labels that indicate whether or not they are pet-friendly. You may also consult your veterinary doctor on the suitable essential oils to stock. Moreover, check out the ingredients in essential oil blends to ensure they are not toxic.

Keep harmful essential oils out of your dog’s reach. Use them in a room that your dog does not frequent. The containers should be strong and tightly sealed. Plastic containers are suitable, as they won’t break if they fall.


Are All Essential Oils Harmful to Dogs?

No, not all essential oils are harmful to dogs. You should keep off tea trees, cinnamon, pine and citrus oils, and others away from your dog due to their toxicity. Dog-safe essential oils include chamomile, ginger, lavender, and cedarwood. They have several benefits, like boosting cardiovascular health and beating inflammations.

Are Diluted Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?

Diluted essential oils that are safe for dogs are okay. You need to dilute some of them for easy use on your canines. However, if they are toxic, dilution won’t help.

My Dog Ingested an Essential Oil; What Should I Do?

You have to contact a veterinary doctor immediately after you notice your dog has taken essential oils. You do not have to panic if the oil is dog-safe. If not, you should visit the vet carrying the oil bottle. Do not induce vomiting, as you may make the situation worse.


Essential oils are all the rage among healthy living enthusiasts due to their health benefits. It is a vital addition to aromatherapy, which helps deal with anxiety, stress, and other health issues.

If you own a dog, you should get essential oils that are not toxic. Toxic essential oils include tea tree oil, citrus oil, and cinnamon oil. While they have several benefits, they can bring severe reactions to your pets. Be keen on any sign of essential oil toxicity and act fast to save the day.

The good thing is that there are friendly essential oils, such as chamomile and ginger oil, that are beneficial to your dog’s health.

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