Are Essential Oils Bad For Dogs? Let’s Take A Look

By Christine Dimmick of The Good Home Co.

It makes sense that if it’s something you love, that is good for you – it’s automatically good for your dog. Many times that’s true. However, many of us love essential oils… Are essential oils bad for dogs – or are they okay? Well, it all depends. And, there are a few things to know before you use essential oils in your home if you share it with a dog.

First Things First – What Are Essential Oils?

In a nutshell, essential oils are the concentrated liquids, also known as volatile organic compounds, of plants. The more plain language way of describing essential oils is: the extracted oil from a plant. Just like for CBD oil, how an essential oil is extracted is important and has to do with keeping the extraction as pure and clean as possible. When shopping essential oils make sure to find out how it was extracted.

Essential Oil Uses

There really are an inordinate number of ways to use essential oils. Some of the most popular are based in aromatherapy and alternative medicine. However, you will also find essential oils in cleaning products, herbal remedies, personal care products, and in some air fresheners.


Are Essential Oils Bad For Dogs?

Many essential oils, when external, are not bad for dogs. Externally here means in the air, in shampoos, or when used in the home. However, they can be lethal to cats, so if you also share your home with cats too, keep them out of the home to be safe. Also, if you do have cats, read this article from Robert Tisserand – one of the premier experts on essential oils.

Expert Advice

As advised by one of our experts, Christine Dimmick, author of Detox Your Home:

“My standard protocol for using essential oils around my own rescue Chihuahuas is to not apply topically and to use only as needed.”

Essential oils are medicines and are to be used that way. You would not want to take an Advil daily, just as you would not want to use essential oils daily. They are highly concentrated oils and should only be used when needed.


Many people do not realize that diffusing essential oils into the air on a fairly constant basis is not healthy. Many essential oils have volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can trigger asthma and other respiratory issues. This can be particularly true for dogs as their scent sensitivity is much stronger than ours.

Are Essential Oils Bad For Dogs?

Yes and no. How’s that for an answer? Keep in mind that essential oils are very powerful and work on a molecular level with compounds in our bodies – as well as our dog’s bodies. When you use essential oils for yourself, for diffusing, or for cleaning, keep in mind that these essential oils, although not an inclusive list, are harmful for dogs:

Citrus (d-limonene)
Sweet birch
Tea tree (melaleuca)
Ylang ylang
Key Things To Remember

When it comes to clarifying in your mind if essential oils are bad for dogs – there are a few key things to keep in mind:

Essential oils are akin to medicine, not to be used arbitrarily
Never give your dog essential oils internally
Study a great deal before using diluted essential oils around your dog
If you do use essential oils, less is more
Always check with your vet first!
If you have any tips for anyone reading our article “Are Essential Oils Bad For Dogs” leave them in the comments below.

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About Christine Dimmick

Christine Dimmick is the founder/CEO of The Good Home Company Inc., and author of the best selling book, Detox Your Home. Christine has been featured in Real Simple, O Magazine, InStyle, Dr. Oz, and House Beautiful, and she is public advocate for health and wellness. To learn more about Christine visit her website.

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