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Are essential oils safe for my dog?

dog on bed


If you were to search the web for "essential oils for dogs", you are likely to come across a myriad of articles that mention a list of oils that are safe for dogs and another list that are toxic to dogs.

In an effort to get an unbiased perspective, we looked into articles written by those with years of animal toxicology experience. Based on findings from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center in collaboration with vetSTREET, "many of the substances [used in essential oils] are volatile compounds, which means they can be potentially toxic to pets at certain concentrations." In general, each pet reacts differently to these substances, so it’s always recommended that you talk to your veterinarian before using them around your furry family members.

Typical research on essential oils refer to the use of them in diffusers.  In these scenarios, a pet can inadvertently inhale, lick or eat these essential oils, or the oils can even be absorbed through your pet's skin. Keep in mind also, "safe to smell is not safe to soothe".  Dogs and cats have a much better sense of smell than we do, and what smells good to us may be overwhelming for them.  Some scents can be irritating to pets who have more sensitive respiratory tracts and the inhalation of essential oils is not recommended.

It is important to note, essential oils when used in pet care products are generally constituted in greatly diluted amounts. This leads us back to the initial statement above "[essential oils] can be potentially toxic to pets at certain concentrations". When the oils are diluted with other ingredients, they are generally safe to use according to label directions. The appropriate ratio for large to medium pups is 1 drop essential oil to 10 drops base oil or for small dogs it’s one drop essential oil to 25 drops base oil. Diluting the oil is important because the strength of essential oils are based on the human body which would equal a 100 pound dog.


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Never apply 100 percent essential oils from aromatherapy products on your pet, especially on broken skin. Essential oils should also never be given orally, because many of them can damage the liver. If your pet has ingested essential oils, call your veterinarian immediately. You should avoid using essential oils for puppies under 10 weeks of age. If your dog is pregnant or prone to seizures you should consult your vet before using essential oils for aromatherapy.

 For more details from the ASPCA regarding essential oils, click here.


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