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A Guide to Using Essential Oils on Your Pets

“Essential oils for your pets?” you say. Yes, just as there are a myriad of uses for these popular oils around the home and in human health care, you’ll find a great many uses for them for your pets as well. And while you may be wary at first, consider this: we buy a great many chemical-ridden products for our pets every day, from shampoos and tick repellants to fragrance sprays and fur detanglers. When you use the right essential oils with the right techniques in mind, you can save your pet from exposure to a wide variety of potentially harmful chemicals. Here is a quick look at how you can use essential oils on your pets.

Dog and Cat - A Guide to Using Essential Oils on Your Pets

A few tips to keep in mind before you begin…

  • Always work with high quality essential oils. If it doesn’t have “essential” in the name, you should be wary of it.
  • Dilute heavily at first—animals tend to be more sensitive to essential oils than humans are. Smaller animals also tend to be more sensitive than larger ones.
  • Some essential oils, when used on animals in their undiluted forms, can even present health risks. Therefore, as always, practice common sense here.
  • Cats are particularly sensitive to essential oils. Some recommend exercising extra caution when using them around cats, while others recommend refraining from using them on cats altogether. For this reason, this article will focus on uses for dogs and include useful insights regarding cats as appropriate.
  • Do not get any oils in your pet’s eyes or nose.

Essential Oils - A Guide to Using Essential Oils on Your Pets

Know which essential oils to avoid.

Certain oils should be avoided, particularly around cats because cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down certain chemical compounds found in essential oils.

  • Avoid using oils high in phenol on cats. These oils include cassia (cinnamon), clove, oregano, thyme, savory, and tea tree (melaleuca) oil.
  • Avoid using sage around cats as well, as it is high in ketones.
  • Avoid using oils that contain the monoterpene hydrocarbons limonene and pinene around cats, including lemon, lime, grapefruit, orange, tangerine, mandarin, bergamot, pine, spruce, and fir.
  • Some also believe lavender, peppermint, pennyroyal, geranium, bay, and rue to be harmful to cats.

Common pet-related uses for essential oils

Shower Dog - A Guide to Using Essential Oils on Your Pets


For a shampoo that’s bound to be more affordable per ounce than the dog shampoo you’re used to getting, all you need is 1 cup of water, 2 tablespoons of unscented castile soap, and about 10 to 15 drops of essential oil. A great combination of oils to use for dog shampoo is peppermint, tea tree, and lavender, as it will offer anti-flea benefits as well. To adjust this shampoo recipe for cats, you could add 5 drops of rosemary essential oil instead of other oils.

Spray flea repellant

Essential oils can even help you and your dog stay flea-free from the start. All it takes is a spray bottle, some water, and a few key essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, and citronella.

Anti-flea collar

You could also formulate a solution for soaking a normal dog collar in for some added anti-flea benefits. For an anti-flea collar, fill a small bowl with about 1 cup of purified water and add 3 drops of peppermint, 3 drops of lavender, and 3 drops of geranium. Let the collar soak for 30 minutes and let dry completely before putting it around your dog’s neck. Re-soak the collar every two weeks to enjoy the anti-flea benefits.

Deodorizing collar

For a deodorizing collar, follow the same procedure for the anti-flea collar and instead use 3 drops of purification, 3 drops of peppermint, 3 drops of citronella, and 3 drops of lavender.

Deodorizing spray

A deodorizing spray offers a quick and easy way to keep your dog and home smelling fresh. For an easy DIY deodorizing spray, mix 1 cup of purified water with 15 drops of purification and 5 drops of lavender.

Calming mist

Have a dog that gets anxious during thunderstorms or in the car? Try making a spray with 1 cup of purified water and 10 drops of lavender.

Dry pad and skin soother

Got a dog with dry foot pads? Mix 3 tablespoons of coconut oil with 10 drops of calming lavender oil or 10 drops of tea tree oil. Keep in mind that a dog’s foot pads must still retain some roughness for traction. A mixture featuring lavender can also be used to soothe sensitive skin.

Check out this article to learn more about helping your dog stay free from fleas.

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