Are Essential oils bad for Dogs? | 3 Essential Oils that are bad for Dogs

There’s been a lot of rave about essential oils in recent times. Many people are turning to essential oils as they are considered natural and safe when used properly. However, just like everything else, there are some exceptions and downsides to the use of essential oils. Although essential oils are largely safe for humans when used appropriately, the same oils may be hazardous to your furry friends. This simply means that your favorite essential oil might be harmful to your four-legged animal. So, are essential oils bad for dogs? This post will attempt to answer this question.

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Are Essential Oils Bad for Dogs?

Essential oils are generally seen as a safe, natural treatment option that can be used to cure many ailments. But natural isn’t always safe and may be associated with serious risks, especially in dogs and cats.

So, the question is, “are essential oils bad for dogs?” Let’s find out.

As earlier stated, there might be some risks associated with the use of essential oils around pets. These conditions make these oils unsafe for use on animals.

are essential oils bad for dogs?
are essential oils bad for dogs?

Why Essential Oils May Not be Safe for Animals

  • Strong Potency: Because essential oils are highly concentrated, they may cause skin sensitivity and rashes, especially in pets. Cats and dogs are highly sensitive, having a strong sense of smell that even a little amount of oil may lead to irritation when inhaled, ingested, or with skin contact.
  • Different metabolic pathways: The way essential oils are metabolized in cats and dogs is different from that of humans. The oils may be broken down into toxic components in animals.
  • Improper use of the oils: Topical application of concentrated essential oils or improper use on pets to get rid of fleas or other skin conditions may cause more harm than good.
  • May aggravate preexisting conditions: Some essential oils are toxic for dogs because they can exacerbate preexisting medical conditions such as asthma.
  • Quick absorption of the oils: Essential oils rapidly penetrate the skin of animals and may produce some unwanted side effects.
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What Essential Oils Are Harmful to Dogs?

1. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is a toxic essential oil for your canine friend. The oil possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antifungal properties which is why some pet owners may decide to treat their pets’ fleas or other skin conditions with undiluted tea tree oil. Upon application of or exposure to tea tree oil, it immediately penetrates the skin and results in toxicities. According to some of the major side effects of tea tree oil in dogs include:

  • Paralysis of the rear legs
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Skin irritation
  • Ataxia
  • Hypothermia
What essential oils are bad for dogs
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2. Wintergreen oil

The wintergreen oil is extracted from the eastern teaberry or Gaultheria Procumbens. This essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties and helps to cure pain/reduces swelling. It contains pain-relieving agents called methyl salicylates. The intake of concentrated wintergreen oil can cause aspirin toxicity in dogs. The common signs of aspirin toxicity are:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ulcers
  • Hepatic or renal failure

3. Pine oil

Pine oil is extracted from the pine tree needles and is known for its strong, woodsy aroma that is refreshing and may remind you of Christmas. It is said to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It is often used as an air freshener in homes and offices. It is also used in massage oils, disinfectants, and other household cleaning products. Pine oil is believed to be beneficial for improving blood circulation, showing antimicrobial properties, and reducing muscle tenderness. But the dermal or oral exposure of the oil in dogs can lead to the following serious side effects:

  • Bloody vomiting
  • Renal abnormalities
  • Ataxia
  • Weakness
  • Hives
  • Itchiness
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4. Other essential oils that are bad for dogs and pets are eucalyptus, citrus, pennyroyal, cinnamon, sweet birch, and ylang-ylang essential oils.

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How to Use Essential Oils Safely in Dogs

Some essential oils are quite safe to use on and around dogs. These oils include lavender, chamomile, frankincense, geranium, and peppermint. However, to prevent any dangers, consult your dog’s vet before using essential oils on your pet and be sure that the oils you have are safe for your dog.


So what do you do if you are a dog owner who loves the aroma of essential oils? Gradually introduce some of the safe oils above to your dog, one at a time, and watch their reactions. For example, if they sneeze, then that oil may not be a good match for them. Also, for the safety of your animal, try to restrict the use of essential oils in things like aerosol room sprays, candles, or diffusers. But then as previously mentioned, do check with the vet for clarity.

Use essential oils wisely and keep your dog safe.

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