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5 Essential Oil Safety Tips for Dogs

Essential oils are becoming increasingly popular in the world of natural pet care. When used correctly, essential oils offer a chemical-free alternative to help address inflammation, infection, anxiety and countless other pet concerns. However, as with any remedy natural or not, when used incorrectly essential oils can do more harm than good. Check out the following tips to help your pup enjoy a smooth and safe introduction to the natural benefits of essential oils.

Always consult a veterinarian before incorporating essential oils into your pet care routine. Specifically, ask if your chosen essential oil is the right fit for your pup, how the oil can benefit them, as well as dosage and application advice. We do not suggest using essential oils on or around cats unless first approved through a veterinarian.

Not All Essential Oils Are Created Equal

As with any over-the-counter product, not all essential oils are created equal. When selecting a brand, it’s crucial to do your research, shop around, and explore all available options. Sadly, many essential oil companies sell products contaminated with impurities and other toxins that could be harmful to your pup. Only purchase from reputable and well-reviewed sources, preferably companies that have an extensive history of offering essential oils for therapeutic purposes (pet-friendly companies are even better). As a rule, look for essential oils marked “therapeutic grade” or “medical grade.” Avoid those marketed as “fragrance-grade,” as these are typically inferior in quality and often contain contaminants that could harm your pet.

Never Give Orally

Dogs should never be fed or allowed to ingest essential oils. Oral ingestion can lead to gastric distress, tissue damage, organ failure, and general toxicity among other scary side effects. Keep it simple and avoid all internal use when it comes to essential oils and pet care.

Always Dilute

Did you know on average essential oils are over 75 times more potent than their herbal counterparts? For example, it takes roughly 16 pounds of peppermint leaves to make a single ounce of peppermint essential oil! Given this, you can imagine why it’s important to dilute essential oils before using them around your pet. While the exact specs will vary depending on use, animal age, weight, and a number of other factors, we suggest aiming for approximately 3-6 drops of essential oil per 1 oz. of carrier oil.

Know Which Essential Oils to Avoid

In general, avoid using the following essential oils on or around your dog:

  • Citrus oils (like lemon and orange, for example)
  • Cinnamon
  • Pennyroyal
  • Ylang ylang
  • Tea tree
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Wintergreen
  • Thyme
  • Clove
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic
  • Anise

Watch For Signs of Sensitivity

Even when using the right essential oils in the correct manner your dog could still experience an adverse reaction to essential oil use. Knowing what to look for in the event of such a reaction can save you and your pup considerable stress and discomfort. Here are the common symptoms of essential oil irritation and poisoning:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Rashes
  • Panting

To prevent essential oil overexposure, avoid application on or near sensitive areas—such as the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and genitals. Additionally, avoid use on very young, very old, pregnant, nursing, ill or weak pets. And again, consult a veterinarian before incorporating essential oils into your pet care routine.


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  1. Hello, I understand there are 3-4 different types of Cedarwood essential oils – Virginia, Atlas, Himalayan, and Texas. Which one do you use in your products?

    1. Jonathan At Cedarcide

      Great question! We use Juniperus ashei

  2. Has your company done any research on your product? Doesn’t Cedarcide use essential cedar oil in every product? I use you product on my yard, dogs, and house and made a lot of assumptions. I knew that essential oils are a danger to cats, but recently started reading about problems with dogs as well. There is so little “real” research out there.

    1. Jonathan At Cedarcide

      Hi Vicki, great question!

      Yes, we have done considerable research on our products, and they’ve been safely used around people and pets for over 20 years. To address your concern directly, you’re totally correct, some essential oils should not be used around dogs, and even more can be harmful to felines. However, cedarwood oil, when properly filtered and diluted is perfectly safe for use around pets. The issue with many essential oils when used around pets, including some types of cedarwood oil, is the presence of something called “phenols,” which can irritate some animals’ respiratory systems. However, all of our formulas use cedarwood oil that has been filtered to remove any such irritants, including and especially “phenols” 🙂

  3. BettyLou Jacobs

    thanks for this info

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