5 Aromatherapy Essential Oils That Can Help Your Dog

Updated on October 19, 2016
DrMark1961 profile image

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.


What is aromatherapy?

Are you already using aromatherapy to improve your own health?

Aromatherapy is defined as the therapeutic use of aromatic, essential oils to promote health.

It can be used to help your dog too.

Some oils can be used with massage or other holistic therapies but, despite its proven value, is not accepted in traditional veterinary medicine. (Aromatherapy has been proven to help patients fall asleep quicker and sleep deeper than when given sleeping pills, and a Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center study found that it reduced anxiety facing treatment.) It is not discussed in veterinary colleges, nor it is accepted by the professors, and thus it is never even tried by most of the veterinary graduates.

Although some of the oils are so potent that they are only available by prescription in some countries, aromatherapy is like other alternative therapies in that it is not promoted by the multinational pharmaceutical industry, and thus has little chance of ever being accepted.

Essential oils used in aromatherapy.
Essential oils used in aromatherapy. | Source

When should aromatherapy be used?

Aromatherapy uses essential oils to treat a few types of health problems, sometimes those in which traditional medicine has not been effective. It can be used in cases of lameness not responding to other therapies, as an alternative therapy for arthritis, for ear infections/itchy skin, and even to control fleas and ticks.

Aromatherapy has also been suggested as a way to treat some anxiety cases, like separation anxiety and phobias due to fireworks and thunderstorms.

When should aromatherapy be avoided?

Do not use this therapy if your dog is pregnant or if your dog is epileptic. If you are using aromatherapy, even in massage, you should test a small amount first and watch your dog the next day, just in case there are any adverse reactions. Be especially careful with small dogs, puppies, and very old dogs.

There have been some anecdotal reports of deaths occurring in dogs due to improper use of essential oils. Several web sites recommend the use of products that are listed as toxic on other websites.

Many of these are commonly used in people and are sold for use in dogs also. A few examples are mustard, birch, and anise (There are others, however). Essential oils can be dangerous, and I have listed below only those products that all holistic veterinary practitioners have found safe. If you are interested in this therapy I recommend you do as much reading as possible, and if at all possible contact a holistic vet in your area that can help you with choosing the therapy.

Please leave me a comment if I can be of any help.

If the oils are used topically they should be dissolved in a carrier, such as olive oil. If used as an aroma they should also be diluted. (One site recommended 10 drops of oil to 10cc of olive oil.)

What types of aromatherapy are most likely to help?

A constant complaint in veterinary practice is “my dog smells”. This is an area in which aromatherapy can definitely help! No other form of alternative or conventional medicine even attempts to address this issue. You can either add a few drops of chamomile and 8 drops of lavender to a small bottle of your dog´s regular shampoo, or make up a solution by adding 8 drops of lavender, 3 drops of peppermint, and 3 drops of eucalyptus to one cup of water, and then using it as a spray. Unless your dog has an underlying problem (like dental disease, an ear infection, or is passing excessive gas) the problem will be solved.

This list discusses only a few of the oils available. All of these oils are safe, however.

1. Lavender-May be effective in anxiety cases, since it has a calming effect. It is also used with chamomile to treat ear infections.

2. Chamomile- Used to control itching. It is also said to be effective in relieving muscle cramps and pain from teething.

3. Niaouli-Used for skin allergies and ear infections. It is not as irritating as Tea Tree oil.

4. Peppermint-This may be another effective way to kill fleas. Use 7cc of mint oil in 20cc of rubbing alcohol. You spray it on the dog, similar to vinegar, making sure none gets in her eyes or nose.

5. Ginger-Pain relief in cases of arthritis and hip dysplasia.

Ajej playing with a coconut leaf.
Ajej playing with a coconut leaf. | Source

If you are going to buy essential oils make sure you learn the proper names so you are getting the correct product. A lot of the products for sale do not list all of the ingredients, where they are from, if they are organic, etc. If you find solutions for “ear infection” or “anxiety” that do not list the ingredients, avoid them.

If you have a dog with a chronic medical condition you should consult with a holistic veterinarian. Do not try putting any of the essential oils on your dog´s food unless you are following a holistic vet´s recommendation.

This video shows one case being treated with aromatherapy.

Questions & Answers


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      • wetnosedogs profile image

        wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

        Wow, learn a thing about computers here. Glad you are back.

        I am going to try it in the spring. I do have mint(i think it's peppermint) growing at the side of the house, it can grow wild.) I will plant some in the back where the dogs hang out. I will let you know.

      • DrMark1961 profile image

        Dr Mark 5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

        Sorry I havent been able to answer for so long. My computer crashed because of the salt (in the air).

        I was trying to find an answer about the peppermint but I can not find anyone who has tried it as an experiment, just a lot of anecdotes saying it will work.

        Do you want to try it? Mint will not grow here (I have tried it) but if you do plant (and it is effective against fleas) let me know!

      • wetnosedogs profile image

        wetnosedogs 5 years ago from Alabama

        I wonder if I planted peppermint in the back yard if that will chase away fleas. What do you think?

        Love your acrobatic dog=perhaps she is so involved with that leaf, she doesn't realize you took that picture.