Dog, Dog Behaviour

Is It Safe To Use An Essential Oil Diffuser Around Or On Your Dog? Well, It Depends.


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Essential oils help us relax and makes our living space smell great. So it’s only natural for us to want to share these benefits with our furkids.

However the physical and physiological differences in our dogs may just make some of these oils unsafe to our dogs.

But first,

What Are Essential Oils?

Essentially (pun intended), they’re plant extracts. The naturally occurring, volatile aromatic compounds are extracted by steaming or pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or fruit).

According to The Bark, most essential oils have been found to confer benefits of one kind or another—among them, anti-infectious (antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial), anxiolytic (anti-anxiety), immunostimulant and expectorant.

Introducing Them To Your Pet

Unlike us, our doggos may not be able to tell us if they love or hate a certain scent. Plus with their heightened smell and taste senses, being trapped in a room with a mild but undesirable essential oil scent would be akin to us having to sit next to an individual who’s wearing an extremely pungent perfume or cologne. 

Best ways of using essential oils around your furkid would be via:

  • An aromatherapy diffuser
  • Mixed into their shampoos (very mildly)
  • Adequately diluted with carrier oils

These oils are not meant to be ingested directly and hence you should practice caution when applying it to their fur/skin as they could easily lick it off.

With that said, here are some tips to acclimatise your furkid to a new essential oil scent:

  • A place where your doggo likes to just chill and hang around could be a good place to try and introduce the scent because dogs tend to stay in a room with you even if something is bothering them.
  • An open space is essential so your pet can leave if it doesn’t want to be around the scent.
  • Essential oils applied to your hands would allow your pet to explore and smell the scent.
  • Stay near your pet for a few minutes if your pet seems anxious or resistant to essential oils so they can get used to the aroma.
  • Wear the essential oil throughout the day so your pet will get used to the smell as you play with, hold or cuddle with them.

During the process, it is important to keep an eye out for signs of irritation such as nervousness, whining, sniffing and excessive scratching. And if your furkid really doesn’t like the scent, they might exhibit behaviors such as turning away or avoiding you as well as rubbing their face on the carpet.

However, you should always consult your veterinarian before introducing essential oils to your doggo especially if they’re under 10 weeks old or have a preexisting medical condition.

Safe Essential Oils For Dogs

When choosing essential oils, it’s best to select ones that are certified as organic to minimise exposure to harmful chemicals that could have been used in the cultivation of the plant. 

There are not that many essential oils that are fully approved as safe for dogs. But here is some that you can consider using, in small and mild quantities.

1. Lavender

It’s commonly used by us as a relaxing and calming scent and contains natural anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, antibacterial and pain relief properties. For our doggos it can help with repelling ticks and mosquitos, allergies, insomnia, ulcers, burns, car ride anxiety, motion sickness, and much more.

2. Cardamom

Besides adding a nice flavour to spiced teas, this spice is an antibacterial diuretic which may help to normalise appetite. It can also be used for colic, cough, heartburn and nausea in dogs.

3. Fennel

Fennel assists the adrenal cortex, helps break up toxins and fluid in tissue which aids in balancing pituitary, thyroid and pineal glands.

4. Helichrysum

Helichrysum is an antibacterial essential oil that can aid skin regeneration and nerve repair to speed up healing.

5. Chamomile

German chamomile has anti-inflammatory benefits which may help to reduce allergic reactions and promote skin/coat health. On the other hand, Roman chamomile helps to calm your furkid’s nerves as well as reduce teething pain, cramps and muscle pain.

6. Frankincense

Frankincense increases blood supply to the brain and improves immune system function. It has been said to also be able to reduce tumors and external ulcers. However, it should be used with caution around pets with hypertension.

7. Ginger

As most Asian moms’ favourite remedy to colds, flus and stomachaches, ginger essential oils could help our doggos with their digestive problems and promotes easy breathing. It may also help with some joint pain.

8. Sweet Orange

It’s deodorizing and deters bugs, making it a 2-in-1 solution to a fresh-smelling space and a flea-free furkid.

Do note that even some safe essential oils can be considered toxic for dogs, if used incorrectly or in the wrong amount. So do practice extreme caution when using any of these essential oils. 

Unsafe Essential Oils For Dogs

Unfortunately, the list for essential oils that are unsafe for dogs is much longer than the doggo approved one. 

Generally speaking, some essential oils that should never be used for animals include Anise, Clove, Leaf/Bud, Garlic, Horseradish, Juniper, Thyme, Wintergreen, Yarrow, Oregano, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, and Ylang Ylang.

As a rule of thumb, if you’re unsure if an essential oil is 100% safe for your dog or cat, do not experiment with it without seeking approval from your vet. 

When using essential oils around your pets, do watch out for these common symptoms of poisoning in pets:

  • The smell of essential oils on their fur, skin, breath or vomit
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Looking faint, confused, or dazed
  • Difficulty walking or stumbling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on their lips, tongue, skin or gums
  • Vomiting

Should these symptoms appear, immediately remove the source of the essential oil, stay calm and call up your veterinarian for next steps.


The usage of natural remedies should always be done under the advice of your veterinarian to ensure no complications from modern medical intervention. 

But if you read this article to find out if essential oils could restore your pet’s appetite, we’ve got an alternative solution for you too!

Fresh, human-grade pet food contains a balanced ratio of nutrients designed for your furkid’s diet. Using only natural ingredients with no additives and preservatives, the natural smells of the meat will get your pet excited for meal times all over again.

Simply tell our Petchef Advisors all about your furkid and we’ll send some delicious samples right to your doorstep.

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