For many years, essential oils have been used to treat and soothe a wide range of health issues in humans. This can be something from minor skin irritations to severe anxiety. Somewhat more recently, these same essential oils have been used on dogs, with varying levels of success.

All essential oils are natural, but not all will be safe to use on your dog. Used incorrectly, essential oils can be extremely dangerous for your four legged friend. But if used correctly and in the right concentrations, some essential oils may help with certain dog-related concerns.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are derived from natural plants around the world. These oils are pressed out of the plant and collected in a highly concentrated liquid.

Many holistic veterinarians will use essential oils in place of some select chemical pharmaceuticals to treat things such as flea infestations, skin abrasions, and more.

While there has not been enough studies done to know if essential oils can treat more serious illnesses in our canine friends, it can be used for some more minor ailments.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

When considering the use of essential oils for your dog, it’s always best to consult with a holistic veterinarian before you run to the store and grab a few bottles of essential oils on your own. Just because an essential oil is natural and organic does not always mean it is safe.

Essential oils are highly concentrated, so it is extremely easy to overdose and cause more harm than good. Many essential oils are applied to the skin of your dog, and this topical exposure can lead to skin burns and irritation if not applied correctly.

In addition, some essential oils are made to be ingested. Normally you would apply a drop or two under your dog’s tongue and let it absorb into their system that way. However, overdoses are very possible and, due to the high concentration and quick absorption into the dog’s system, can easily lead to liver issues in young or old dogs.

Some essential oils are toxic for dogs, regardless of the concentration or how it was applied. If your dog comes into contact with the following oils, you should contact a veterinarian immediately:

  • Pennyroyal
  • Tea Tree
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang Ylang
  • Cinnamon
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet Birch

While the above essential oils may smell great for you and provide relief for many of your own ailments, they will not do the same for your dog. Dogs can start to show signs of poisoning within minutes of coming into contact with these essential oils.

Essential Oils for Fleas and Ticks

While many holistic veterinarians will recommend essential oils for flea and tick prevention, other veterinarians will tell you to avoid them. While oils can be beneficial when used correctly, the potential of misuse is extremely high and can be where issues start. Always work closely with your holistic veterinarian before using any essential oils on or around your dog.