Essential oils are the new “it” product and for good reason. They don’t just smell nice, they come with a variety of benefits as well. For example, lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote better quality sleep; it also has anti-fungal properties and has shown some promise in assisting in wound healing. Other oils, like lemongrass, can repel insects and can be safer than chemical-based bug sprays for individuals with skin sensitivities.
Essential oils have many uses and benefits and if used safely, are a good addition to a more natural approach to health and wellness. You may be concerned that, as a pet owner, essential oils are an item that should never be used in your house. This is something that is incorrect. There are certainly oils that should be kept away from your dogs and cats and neither diffused or used topically because they can be toxic. But there are also numerous oils that are not just safe for your dog, they are worth introducing to your dog because of their many benefits!
If you’re curious about how to safely introduce essential oils to your dog, keep reading. We’ll let you know the best way to start introducing oils to your dog’s routine. Keep in mind, we are only addressing oils that are safe for dogs, some oils that are safe for dogs, are not safe for cats.
What You Need To Know About Dog Safe Essential Oils
Before you begin exposing your dog to essential oils, even in something that seems as harmless as using a diffuser, make sure the oils you are using are totally dog safe.
Essential oils can be absorbed by the respiratory tract or the skin and can cause problems with breathing, rashes, and tummy troubles if the oil is not safe for dogs. If applied topically, unsafe oils can cause irritation and toxicity.
You also want to make sure that even if an oil type is generally deemed dog safe, knowing the source of the oil is incredibly important. All essential oil companies should be transparent about their sourcing and processing so that you can ensure that the oil is totally safe for your pup.
Thankfully, you can purchase essential oils that have been diluted properly and are made specifically for use around dogs.
Common Essential Oils
Want to check out some of the oils you can use around your dog? Dog safe oils include:
- Lavender- Can help calm mild anxiety in your dog
- Chamomile- Another calming oil that is also good for tummy troubles
- Lemongrass- Insect repellent
- Cedarwood- Often added in combination with lemongrass as an insect repellent
- Fennel- Can help balance pituitary hormones and help break up toxins
- Frankincense- Currently undergoing studies as a bladder cancer treatment
- Helichrysum- Shows promise in treating bleeding disorders
- Rose- Can help soothe itchy skin, has a calming effect, and smells amazing
- Spearmint- Another oil good for GI upset
The following essential oils should not be used in proximity to your dog:
Introducing Essential Oils To Your Dog
As with anything new, you want to slowly introduce your dog to essential oils to get them used to them. Since your dog’s sense of smell is so strong, introducing too much too quickly can result in an overwhelmed and unhappy dog.
Start by slowly adding oil to a diffuser. Try one or two drops of a calming oil like chamomile or lavender. Make sure you are in a room that has plenty of ventilation and that your dog can get up and leave if they don’t enjoy the smell. Only run the diffuser for a few minutes at first - about ten minutes is a good place to start. Watch your dog for signs of distress like whining, drooling, or head shaking.
Remember to never apply essential oils directly to the skin - yours or your dogs. Oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil. The carrier oil helps the oil properly enter the skin, and dilutes the essential oil to prevent irritation. Coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and grape-seed oil are common carrier oils.
If your dog seems to respond well to the diffuser and shows no signs of irritation or distress, you can try other methods. Add a drop of lavender oil to their bedding to help them sleep, or add an oil like lemongrass to keep the bugs away. Introduce new oils slowly, so if your dog shows any sensitivities, you can be certain of what caused them.
Just because an oil is deemed safe for dogs in general, doesn’t mean your dog might not have an allergy. If your dog develops a rash, has difficulty breathing, or otherwise, seems in distress, discontinue use of the oil immediately.
Once your dog has become accustomed to essential oils, you can begin to use them in other ways. Set your dog up with their very own collar keychain that diffuses their favorite scent!
You can even introduce bath products that include essential oils. Try a dog bath bomb containing lemongrass or cedarwood oil for a natural insect repellent. Or use a dog bath bomb that contains essential oils like ginger that soothes achy joints if you have an older dog or a dog with joint pain.
Don’t be afraid to start introducing your dog to essential oils. You don’t need to have a problem you’re trying to treat. You can use essential oils because they make you feel good, and they bring you and your dog to a happy place. You and your dog can have a spa day, every day.