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I love to diffuse essential oils in my home. If you are reading this, you probably do too! One day, as I was browsing online researching essential oils for dogs, I learned that some oils can be very harmful to dogs even if you are just diffusing the oils in your home. This sent me on a research mission to learn everything I could about the effect essential oils have on dogs!

I went from knowing nothing about using oils with dogs to knowing quite a lot and, after this post, you will too!

People want to use essential oils to help their dogs for various reasons. However, some oils can be very harmful to your pup. Just like we can get poisoned by them, your dog can also.

Today I’m going to walk you through exactly which oils are okay to use around your dog and which ones are bad, plus safety precautions to take!

using essential oils for dogs

Using Essential Oils for Dogs

Essential oils are most commonly used as calming aids for dogs. However, just because something says it’s “natural,” doesn’t mean it actually is completely all-natural or healthy for your pup. Also, be sure to do your research on a company before you invest in their oils. Because essential oils are so popular, there are some bad manufacturers. Some oils can contain contaminants or other toxins. Always read the reviews, how their ingredients are sourced, and how their oils are made.

Also, don’t forget that dogs have an incredibly powerful sense of smell. Way more powerful than ours. So be sure to only use a few drops of oil as anything else can be overwhelming and have the opposite effect you desire.

Safe Oils for Dogs

We personally never use oils topically, as we feel not enough is known about their effects on dogs and it is just too risky. However, you can always consult your vet about your dog’s specific needs! Be sure to never, ever, use the oils topically without diluting them with a carrier oil. 

We do diffuse essential oils though and add 1-2 drops of essential oil to a water-based diffuser. 

Here are some of our favorite essential oils for dogs that are safe:

  • Lavender (our personal fav!)
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Myyrh
  • Chamomile
  • Spearmint

Harmful Essential Oils for Dogs

While there’s a long list of oils that can benefit dogs, there’s also a long list of oils that are toxic. Using these oils may cause significant health issues (even if you are only diffusing) in your dog including:vomiting, lethargy, seizures, skin irritation, stomach irritation, liver damage, central nervous system damage, depression, paralysis, difficulty breathing, weakness, and becoming loopy.

Here are the top oils that are harmful to dogs:

(Remember these are toxic whether they are applied to the skin OR used in diffusers!)

  • Tea tree
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus (d-limonene)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic

How To Know If Your Dog Has Been Poisoned

Since this list isn’t exhaustive, how will you know if you’ve exposed your dog to a harmful oil? If you’ve only diffused these oils once or twice, your furry friend will probably be okay. But if you are looking for an explanation for an ongoing illness and your diffuse oils a lot, this could be the culprit.

Here are some of the symptoms of essential oil poisoning: 

  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Difficulty walking
  • Muscle tremors

If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to immediately call your vet or rush your dog to an emergency veterinary clinic.

Top Essential Oil Safety Tips for Dogs

  • Keep oils out of reach of your dog.
  • Store oils in a secure container.
  • Never use oils topically.
  • Make sure you place the diffuser in a place where it can’t be knocked over and lapped up. 
  • Place the diffuser away from the dog’s bed or resting spot – if possible, near the opposite wall.

What To Do If A Harmful Oil Gets On Your Dog

Act quickly! If the oil is on your pet’s fur or skin, wash it off and call your vet immediately. Don’t give your pup any treatments without your vet’s approval. If you can’t reach your vet or their office is closed, contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680 or take your dog to an animal emergency center. (Be sure to take the oil in question with you!)


It is possible to use essential oils safely with your dog! Learning which oils we can use and which ones to avoid has been the perfect solution for everyone being happier in our home.


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