Many essential oils have amazing benefits for humans and our pets, but what essential oils are toxic to dogs?
We love our dogs. They’re amazing companions, loyal to a fault and even help us reduce stress. If you’re reading this, you probably are also interested in healthy living through essential oils and aromatherapy. So naturally, you want to go the natural route with your dog as well. Essential oils are extremely useful and can be life changing, but as with anything there are recommendations and risks. In this article, we’ll answer the question: what essential oils are toxic to dogs?
A General List of Essential Oils That Are Considered Toxic For Dogs
AllNaturalPetCare.com gives this list of 30 essential oils that are toxic for dogs, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.
- Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
- Birch (Betula)
- Bitter Almond (Prunus dulcis)
- Boldo (Peumus boldus)
- Calamus (Acorus calamus)
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Cassia (Cassia fistula)
- Chenopodium (Chenopodium album)
- Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Garlic (Allium sativum)
- Goosefoot (Chenopodium murale)
- Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)
- Hyssop (Hyssopus sp. with the exception of Decumbens)
- Juniper (Juniperus sp. with the exception of Juniper Berry)
- Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris)
- Mustard (Brassica juncea)
- Oregano (Origanum vulgare)
- Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)
- Red or White Thyme
- Rue (Ruta graveolens)
- Santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus)
- Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
- Savory (Satureja)
- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Terebinth (Pistacia palaestina)
- Thuja (Thuja occidentalis)
- Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)
- Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
While this list is a great reference, it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. Tea Tree Oil and Wintergreen, for instance, can generally be considered safe for dogs if used in small amounts in medium to large sized adult dogs and diluted with a carrier oil. As always, consult with your veterinarian for your particular dog.
Essential Oil Safety For Dogs
You should always be cautious using essential oils with puppies. In general, it’s best to avoid their use on puppies altogether. Puppies, like babies, aren’t necessarily able to metabolize things the way adult dogs (and people) can.
- Consult with your veterinarian before doing anything.
- Only use therapeutic grade, high quality oils from reputable companies that specialize in essential oils.
- Reference the list of essential oils that are toxic to dogs.
- Avoid the dogs eyes, nose, genitals and anal area.
- Never use with puppies under 10 weeks old, pregnant dogs, dogs on certain medicines or elderly dogs.
- Dilute, dilute, dilute. Seriously, dogs don’t need the same amounts of essential oils that we do. Check the recommended dilution ratio specifically for dogs which is typically a 1:50 ratio.
- Carefully watch your dogs reaction.
Signs Your Dog Is Having A Bad Reaction to Essential Oils
Signs of toxicity or allergic reaction from essential oils in your dog include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty walking
- Unusual Drooling
- Muscle tremors
- Pawing at the mouth / face
- Redness / burns on the mouth, gums, tongue, or skin
What To Do If There’s A Reaction In Your Dog From Essential Oils
If your dog has a reaction to essential oils you must act quickly.
- Immediately call the Pet Poison Help Line at 800-213-6680
- Put the essential oil you used in a plastic bag to bring with you to the veterinarian or animal emergency room.
- If directed by the Pet Poison Help Line or they are unavailable, call your animal hospital or veterinarian immediately.
- If there is any essential oils on your dog, wash it off with liquid dishwashing detergent.
There are many benefits to many different essential oils for your dog, but there are adverse risks for using ones that are toxic him (or her). Educating yourself on which essential oils are toxic to dogs is a huge first step in supporting natural wellness in your furry family member.
If you want additional information on what essential oils are toxic to dogs as well as information on aromatherapy for dogs in general, a great book by a well respected thought leader in the field is Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals by Kristen Leigh Bell.
Do you have experience with essential oils for dogs? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!