Essential Oils: Good or Bad for Your Dogs?

    • 5 min read
    Essential Oils: Good or Bad for Your Dogs?

    Essential oils are known to provide a number of natural benefits to humans. From calming lavender to mosquito-deterring lemongrass, many people have ditched products with artificial fragrances for more natural, essential oils. 

    With essential oils growing in popularity over the years, you may be wondering if these natural plant extracts can be used to improve your dog’s life. In short, it depends. 

    Let’s take a look at the kinds of essential oils that are dangerous for dogs and ones that are good for them.

    Why Are Some Essential Oils Dangerous For Dogs?

    But first, let’s talk about why it’s not safe to give your dog any old essential oil you have around the house. For one, your pup’s nose is far more sensitive than yours. Any essential oils you diffuse or use around the house might smell nice to you, but for your dog, it can cause behavioral issues, as well as central nervous system and respiratory problems.

    Secondly, essential oils are known to cause chemical changes within the body, which is why they’re so effective on humans. Essential oil extracts are extremely concentrated, and many need to bind to a carrier oil or be diluted in water to be used by humans. For dogs, however, their sensitive bodies can’t handle the chemical changes of most essential oils, even if you’ve diluted the oils. 

    Also, many essential oils are labelled by the types of therapeutic effects they possess and may not clearly include all of the ingredients on the front label. This is because certain essential oils can be very costly, and companies sometimes mix cheaper oils or species of certain plant oils together to save on costs. 

    That’s why it is very important to read the ingredients list to be sure the essential oils you’re using don’t have any additives, and be mindful of the types of essential oils you use around your beloved dog.

    Which Essential Oils Are Bad for Dogs?

    There’s a very long list of essential oils that are off limits to our furry friends, making it vital to their safety and health to know what kind of oils you have lying around the house. 

    Many popular essential oils are used in cleaning agents, perfumes, seasonal items, and more, making it so commonplace that we don’t realize that they could cause problems for our pets! 

    Here are just a few of the most common essential oils to avoid when you have a dog:

    • Citrus
    • Clove
    • Garlic
    • Pennyroyal
    • Pine
    • Tea tree (melaleuca)
    • Wintergreen
    • Thyme
    • Juniper
    • Ylang-ylang

    Garlic Oil is bad for dogs

    Of these essential oils, a surprising number of them aren’t just harmful to dogs if applied to the skin or swallowed, it might also cause serious health issues. Essential oils like eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, pine, wintergreen, pennyroyal, and more are also toxic if used in diffusers or in everyday use around the house. 

    That’s why many veterinarians recommend avoiding essential oils all together, as many pet parents don’t realize the dangers of these oils. Fortunately, you can use certain essential oils, as we’ll discuss shortly!

    Controversial Essential Oils

    While some essential oils are definitely toxic to man’s best friend, others are less clear-cut. To be on the safe side, either avoid these controversial essential oils or check with your dog’s veterinarian prior to using:

    • Peppermint
    • Lemongrass
    • Certain types of tea tree oil

    What to Do if Your Dog Is Exposed to Dangerous Essential Oils?

    If your pet is ever exposed to any of the above essential oils, be it through consumption, skin absorption, or the air, alwayscontact the veterinarian, especially if your pet shows any of these symptoms:

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Excessive or abnormal drooling
    • Fatigue or weakness
    • Muscle tremors
    • Vomiting or lack of appetite
    • Difficulty getting up or walking
    • Discolored or burnt-looking lips, gums, tongue, or skin

    If it’s after hours, or your veterinarian isn’t available, consider contacting the Pet Poison Helpline (1-800-213-6680) or taking your dog to the animal emergency hospital.

    In addition, wash any essential oils off your dog’s fur or mouth as soon as possible if your dog is exposed to a dangerous oil, and never use an unknown essential oil without first speaking with your pet’s veterinarian prior to use.

    Safe Essential Oils for Dogs

    If you want your dog to benefit from the use of essential oils, you may be wondering which ones can be used safely. The following essential oils are generally considered safe for dogs:

    • Spearmint- Spearmint is a popular essential oil for dogs because it can help alleviate sore joints, improve your dog’s breath, and support respiratory health. 
    • Chamomile- As with humans, chamomile can be used to calm your pet and help him sleep.
    • Ginger- Ginger is great for calming upset stomachs and nausea in dogs.
    • Lavender- Though not safe for cats, lavender can be used safely with dogs to help calm them and reduce anxiety.
    • Frankincense- This essential oil helps support cellular health and a good immune system in dogs. Frankincense can also support your dog’s nervous system and digestion. 
    • Vanilla- Vanilla is another popular scent used in dog products because it is known for relaxing dogs.

    As with all changes to your dog’s lifestyle, it’s best to check with your veterinarian if you plan on using essential oils for your dog, even the safe essential oils for dogs! 

    Your dog may have certain health conditions that might make some of these options less safe, so consider showing your dog’s vet the bottle of essential oils that you plan on using when you consult with them to ensure your dog can safely benefit from essential oils. 

    Lavender Essential Oil safe for dogs

    Safe Scented Toys for Dogs

    Here at Chopper and Otis, we have vetted natural dog toys that use essential oils to find the highest-quality products for your dog’s safety. 

    We’re proud to offer Planet Dog’s Orbee-Tuff products, which contain natural mint scents, to calm your dog during playtime and improve your dog’s breath. All of these products are BPA-free, FDA-approved, and made in the USA.

    Here are our bestselling scented dog toys:

    Orbee-Tuff Squeak

    Orbee-Tuff Squeak

    Does your dog love chewing and fetching on noisy toys? If so, then the Orbee-Tuff Squeak is perfect for dogs that love to play fetch and chew on squeaky toys! Infused with natural mint oils, your pup will enjoy chewing on this relaxing, natural breath freshener.

    Orbee-Tuff Snoop

    Orbee-Tuff Snoop by Planet Dog

    For dogs who love a challenge, the Orbee-Tuff Snoop has a deep pocket and small, flexible neck for hiding treats. Your dog will enjoy being engaged with this interactive puzzle toy. From its bouncy, spherical, rolling bottom to the hidden treat pocket, your pup will be well entertained with this fun toy!

    Orbee-Tuff Bone

    Orbee-Tuff Bone by Planet Dog

    If your dog has a tough bite and likes to show it by chewing through even the most durable chew toys, then the Orbee-Tuff Bone is an ideal toy for your dog. This high-quality bone comes in three different options for dogs of all shapes and sizes and also has a fun hidey-hole for sneaking in treats.

    Until next time--