Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe For Dogs?

Since aromatherapy has become more popular pet parents have been asking “is lavender essential oil safe for dogs?” more and more often.

The short answer is yes. It is safe, but only as long as you consider it from a canine perspective. A dog’s sense of smell is a hundred times stronger than a human’s so we need to be careful we are not overwhelming their senses when we use it.

There are some essential oils that we certainly shouldn’t be using as responsible pet owners but used carefully and safely, lavender is a safe and helpful support to your dog. 

VINEVIDA Lavender Essential Oil

Let’s look at two key questions first. 

Is The Smell Of Lavender Oil Harmful To Dogs?

Absolutely not. Most animals like the smell of lavender and I am sure most pet owners will be able to visualize a time when their pooch has been nose down in the plant sharing the fragrance with the bees. It’s a lovely relaxing help to them and just like humans, they respond well to the calming and soothing effects of the chemistry of the plant. 

However...If their sense of smell is so much stronger than ours, it’s imperative that you remember that essential oils are the concentrated essences of the plants. Consider that a 5ml bottle of rose oil contains 16,000 flower heads (because we have no idea how many lavender buds!). They are extremely potent fluids and will seem that much fiercer to a dog too. That one drop of oil we use will smell like the equivalent of a teaspoon full of lavender oil to them. If you have spent any time confined in a space with lavender essential oil (soap makers are nodding) you’ll come to realise that even though it is fabulous help for headaches, confinement with the fragrance will induce headaches and nausea too. You might want to consider that before you leave the diffuser running around the dog for prolonged periods

Is lavender essential oil safe for dogs? A better question might be how can I be a considerate owner.

Is Lavender Toxic To Dogs?

In the same way, no, in normal diluted amounts, lavender essential oil is not harmful to dogs. But then, if we ask, is lavender essential oil safe for dogs to drink...it's a bit more complicated, isn’t it? If you happened to knock over your bottle and the dog lapped it up, then it would probably lead to liver toxicity and you would need to contact the pet poison helpline or to speak to a holistic veterinarian for guidance. 

That said, if you decide to dilute a couple of drops into a tablespoon of carrier oil, and smooth it onto your dog’s tummy to calm him, but then he licks it… then yes, lavender essential oil is safe for dogs. 

It goes without saying please avoid the dog's eyes though. 

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe For Dogs if You Use It Topically?

is lavender essential oil safe for dog

It is, and it is superb if the dog has itchy and inflamed skin, or has skin irritations. Lavender is wonderful if the pooch has allergy symptoms and particularly if they are allergic to flea bites. 

Dog's skin is covered in hair, of course, which can make it more difficult to apply your carrier and essential oils. Remember that essential oils do not necessarily need to be applied directly to the places that need it. They absorb through the skin and into the blood system. They will circulate to the places they need to be. So, the easiest places to apply them are to the dog’s tummy or the insides of their ears. There is also a good blood supply on the insides of their back legs. So, if you stroke your oils there, the essential oils will quickly find their way into an artery. 

If you don’t want them to eat it, then apply your lavender oil blend onto the scruff of the dog’s neck. They can’t reach there to lick. To be clear though, as long as you have diluted the oil well enough into a carrier oil (We would advise a 1% dilution at the max) it is safe for them to lick it. Whether they like the taste or not is a different thing altogether.

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe for Dogs Fleas?

Yes for the dog. No for the fleas! Lavender essential oil exhibits a mild natural flea repellant action. If you combine it with some tea tree and patchouli essential oils, you might be rather impressed, we think.

Is Lavender Essential Oil for Dogs Skin If it is Irritated?

Avoid applying essential oils to irritated skins if you can help it. Nearby is perfectly acceptable. Most dogs' skin irritations improve with lavender oil but dogs are just like humans. Some will react more than others. If the dog does seem to be getting worse skin allergies and reactions, it goes without saying, that you should cease topical use completely. 

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe For Dogs Who are Anxious?

Lavender essential oil is fantastic for nervous animals especially if you combine them with something like Vetiver, Rose or Roman Chamomile. If it’s a very bangy night like July 4th, you might even want to bring out the heavy hitters like valerian or yarrow oils too. Lavender is an excellent sleep aid in its own right, combined with these oils it is like a sledgehammer!

There is a great book we can recommend by a lady called Caroline Ingraham, called How to Treat Your Dog. She supports many holistic veterinary surgeons in their practice, especially dealing with dogs and horses too. The interesting thing she found is there is seldom a need for topical use of essential oils on animals. They just like to embrace the scent.

Assessing If Your Dog Likes Lavender Oil

If she is trying to calm an anxious dog with lavender, all she does is put the bottle, with the top off, about a foot away from the dog. It’s fascinating to watch their noses twitch as they explore the scent, then their eyes close as they enjoy it. Then, sometimes they might try to move their head closer to it. When they have had enough, they just turn it away. 

It’s intriguing to watch how they react to three or four oils in turn. Leave them for three or four minutes to see how they react. You can usually discern which ones they like the best. 

A good guide is to watch how they use their mouths. You might find they lick at their lips as they taste it in the air. If they turn their heads away, lick more or appear to be having difficulty breathing, put the top back on the oil, they have had enough. 

Is Lavender Essential Oil Safe for Dogs Joint Pains?

Yep, absolutely, and it’s great combined with Roman Chamomile and Frankincense for creaky old joints. Normally, in human medicine, we would recommend ginger or black pepper to help against the cold or if they have low body temperature, but they are both too strong for dogs, really.

Aching Joints Massage Oil

Method of use: Apply to the inside of the back legs, where the dog is less hairy. 

Safety: Not suitable for use if your dog is pregnant. 

Fireworks

  • 1tsp Grapeseed carrier oil (Vitis vinifera)
  • 2 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) 
  • 1 drop Vetiver essential oil (Vetiveria zizanioides) 
  • 1 drop Yarrow essential oil (Achillea millefolium) 

Method of use: Apply to the inside of the back legs, where the dog is less hairy. 

Safety: Not suitable for use if your dog is pregnant. 

Conclusion

The answer to is lavender essential oil safe for dogs, is yes, if you use it thoughtfully and carefully.

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