Are you considering the benefits of Essential Oils for Dogs?
Essential oils have been used by humans for thousands of years in cultural practices and traditions… Frankincense and the three wise men is the obvious one that comes to mind here. However, recently essential oils have come back into the spotlight as society continues to explore a holistic approach to health and alternative healing methods. If you already love essential oils you probably use them to combat health issues like a stuffy nose and headache or use the calming scent of lavender to help you relax in the evening.
But what about your dog? Are essential oils safe for dogs and can your four-legged friend reap the same benefits from essential oils as you do? In this blog we will explore some of the conflicting research on which essential oils are safe for our dogs, which essential oils are toxic for dogs and things to consider before deciding if essential oils are something both you and your pet can enjoy.
What are essential oils?
According to Hanif, et al. (2019) pure essential oils are compounds extracted from the: roots, flowers, leaves or seeds of plants that retain their natural smell and flavour. Essential oils are obtained through various means such as distillation involving water / steam or through a cold pressing method. However, there is an increasingly popular chemical processes that uses solvents such as hexane and ethanol to isolate the essential oils from plant material.
It is important to understand the extraction method as chemical processes are becoming more popular for the exact reasons you would expect, it is a cheaper and faster process. Any essential oils extracted through a chemically aided process are not considered “true essential oils”. True essential oils are ones that have been changed the least by the extraction process. When purchasing always attempt to buy essential oils produced through a natural distillation process. Generally, this information will be readily available to you on either the bottle or the supplier’s website.
When extracted through a natural process, essential oils are thought to be beneficial in a number of ways. The makeup or chemistry of the plant will dictate the fragrance, flavour and potential benefits of the oil. Some essential oils are soothing, toning, and grounding, while others are energising, warming, and renewing.
Which essential oils are safe for dogs?
Just because an essential oil is your personal favourite, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be your dogs too. It is very important to keep in mind that not every essential oil is safe to use with your dog. Some you'll need to avoid at all cost, and some are not only safe to use with dogs, they offer a range of potential benefits.
What Essential Oils are safe for dogs:
- Carrot Seed Oil
- CedarWood Atlas
- Green Mandarin (Peel)
For more information on these safe essential oils and unique benefits and characteristics of these oils used in our range, please explore the Key Ingredients page.
What Essential Oils are toxic for dogs?
The following oils are widely considered to be unsafe or toxic for both dogs and cats. When using these oils for cleaning or refreshing spaces, be sure that there is adequate ventilation, and that your pet cannot get into contact with the oil:
- tea tree
- ylang ylang
The application of Essential Oils and your dog
The two most common ways to use Essential Oils with your dog are through topical application or via a diffuser. If you would like to use a diffuser, please consult your vet, and understand the risks involved with this method. Personally, we believe that the risk of using Essential Oils in a diffuser for your pet outweigh the benefits. This is due to a couple of reasons:
1. The diffuser creates a water vapour to diffuse tiny oil droplets into the air. This becomes an issue when the diffuser is accessible to your dog or positioned in a small space, with limited ventilation. Inhaling diffused oils are known to cause negative respiratory effects pets.
2. We know that dogs’ noses are incredibly powerful with a dogs nose having up to 300 million olfactory receptors roughly 50x that of a humans average 6 million. Due to this, there is a real risk that what may be a pleasant aroma to us, is simply overpowering for your dog.
If applying topically to your dogs’ skin and coat, you should never apply an undiluted essential oil directly to the skin as this may lead to irritation and discomfort for your dog. So you might be thinking “ how do you apply essential oils topically then?” Well this is where carrier oils save the day. They’re safe, natural and lightly scented oils that help deliver the oil to your dog’s skin and coat with minimal impact and no irritation.
A few common carrier oils you may have heard of are: Jojoba Oil, Coconut Oil, Hemp Seed Oil, Aloe Vera and Almond Oil. All of which can be used to mix your essential oils with while also offering their own range of unique benefits… Perhaps a blog post for another day!
The safest method of topical application is through the use of skin and coat care products such as shampoos, conditioners and balms, as applying in this way ensures appropriate dilution of the Essential Oil. Our range of natural dog care blends a range of carrier oils and complimentary Essential Oils to support healthy coat shine and softness. Aligned with our mission to help you have an itch and scratch free hound, that smells great too, our entire range is designed with your dog in mind and always formulated and diluted to an appropriate level, ensuring all products in our range are safe for topical application.
Things to be mindful of:
- Dogs have a stronger sense of smell than us.
- Pay attention to their behaviour, and open windows if you pick up on any indications that the scents have become too strong for them.
- Keep the oil out of reach from your pet as consumption by your dog can lead to illness and Essential Oil poisoning. If you suspect that your pet has ingested your oils, reach out to your vet to investigate the best course of action.
- Always be sure to avoid your pets ears, eyes, nose, and genitals.
- The age of your dog should be considered as its not recommended to incorporate diluted essential oils into your dog care routine until 12 weeks or older.
- Avoid if your dog has a serious health condition and seek advice from your vet.
- Avoid spraying essential oils on any bedding or furniture that your pet enjoys sleeping on. The oils can seep into their fur and skin causing skin irritation. Or be ingested as they lick their fur, which can lead to toxicity depending on the oils used..
Hanif, M. A., Nisar, S., Khan, G. S., Mushtaq, Z., & Zubair, M. (2019). Essential oils. In Essential oil research (pp. 3-17). Springer, Cham.