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Will Essential Oil Calm My Dog? Facts & FAQ

Written by: Rachel Giordano

Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

essential oils with various herbs and flowers

Will Essential Oil Calm My Dog? Facts & FAQ

Essential oils1 have gained popularity within the last few years due to their proclaimed benefits of calming and soothing stress and anxiety for humans. These oils come from plants, and you can apply them in many different ways, such as applying to fabrics, massaging into the skin, and using them in a diffuser. But will essential oil calm my dog? The answer is not a simple yes or no, with no supporting scientific evidence proving its benefits for dogs. In fact, they are potentially dangerous to dogs.

In this article, we’ll examine essential oils and the potential risks and dangers of using them to calm your dog.

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Are Essential Oils Safe to Use for My Dog?

Essential oils are advertised as a “natural” or “holistic” approach to mental health and happiness. However, do not confuse the word “natural” with “safe.” These oils can be straight-up toxic to dogs, especially if they’re applied directly to the dog’s skin or ingested.

Beware of certain scents that are definitely toxic to dogs. These scents include cinnamon, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, peppermint, wintergreen, citrus, pine, and ylang-ylang. Regarding “safe” essential oils, we recommend consulting your veterinarian first before using any essential oils due to their potentially harmful effects on dogs.

maltese dog sitting on the floor and looking up
Image Credit: Pezibear, Pixabay

Can You Use a Diffuser Around Dogs?

With a diffuser, you don’t apply the scent directly to your dog’s skin or bedding. Instead, the scent is emitted into the air by the diffuser itself. One important thing to remember here is that a dog’s sense of smell is considerably stronger than ours. A dog has over 100 million sensory receptor sites in the nasal passage compared to our 6 million, and the scent may be extraordinarily strong to your dog. Also, if the oil is in its concentrated form, it is most definitely hazardous to your dog, especially if applied to the skin or ingested by licking it off the fur.

If you decide to use a diffuser, ensure it’s in a place your dog cannot access it and that you dilute the oil. Ensure not to use active diffusers, as they emit small particles of oil into the air. These types of diffusers can cause the particles to get on your dog’s skin, which can cause health problems as severe as neurological issues. When using a diffuser, ensure it’s a passive diffuser.

Also, ensure you don’t use any of the toxic scents we’ve mentioned. How important is this, you ask? To put this into perspective, tea tree oil has been known to cause liver damage in dogs. We also want to note that if your dog has breathing problems, it’s best to avoid essential oils altogether, as they can exacerbate the problem.

What Essential Oils Are Considered Safe for My Dog?

We know the scents that are toxic, but what about “safe” scents?” According to experts, these are scents that are considered safe:

  • Lavender
  • Fennel
  • Cardamom
  • Frankincense
  • Chamomile
  • Rosemary
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Ginger
  • Myrrh
a bottle of essential oil with fresh lavender
Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

What Other Safe Methods Can I Use to Calm My Dog?

Luckily, there are plenty of safe and truly natural ways to calm your dog without even using essential oils. In our opinion, it’s better to err on the side of caution rather than take a chance of making your dog sick. Some natural ways to calm your dog are exercise, calming music, massages, and mental stimulation.

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Final Thoughts

Using essential oils to treat anxiety in dogs has become a new fade, but that doesn’t mean it comes without possible consequences. Ensure you take the necessary precautions mentioned in this article before using any essential oils, and be sure to consult your veterinarian before using any of them, whether they are deemed safe or not.

Featured Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

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