Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Dogs

The use of essential oils, such as lemon essential oil, within the home, has increased significantly in recent years causing pet owners to ask if lemon essential oil is safe for dogs. 

The short answer is yes, lemon essential oil is safe for dogs. The long answer provides some factors to consider when choosing how you use the oil in the home.  It’s important to understand that a dog’s sense of smell is a hundred times stronger than a human’s, meaning it can be easy to overwhelm your canine companion. It’s also important to understand the proper dilution of essential oils to ensure safety when using. 

Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Dogs To Smell?

Is Lemon Oil Safe For Dogs

When using essential oils in the home, it is important to understand you should use them in an open space, where air can flow through effectively. Not all members of the family, pets included, will react the same way to the oils used. One member may love the scent of lemon essential oil while another feels it smells too antiseptic. 

Essential oils are extremely potent, especially for dogs as their sense of smell is significantly better than our own. For every one drop of oil we smell, our pampered pooches are smelling a teaspoon full. This is extremely important to understand if you’re using the oils in a confined space, with no open windows or doors. As humans, we can get up, turn the knob, and walk out the door, they cannot.

Is Lemon Essential Oil Toxic for Dogs? 

No, when diluted properly, lemon essential oil is not harmful to dogs. Be mindful, though, do not let your dog drink lemon essential oil. Have you ever accidentally knocked your essential oil bottle over, or dropped a few extra drops onto a surface while creating a blend? Dogs are notorious for running over and lapping up all the things we spill. When you spill, be mindful to clean it up thoroughly so no issues arise. The intake of essential oils in our pets can lead to liver toxicity. If this were to happen you would need to contact a pet poison helpline or a veterinarian for guidance. 

Is it possible for your dog to have too much exposure to essential oils while licking it after applying it? No, in this instance, you should be fine as the oil is diluted and you’re not using a large amount. No matter what oil you are using with your pet, please be mindful to steer clear of their eyes. Proper dilution for lemon essential oil and dogs should be kept at less than 1%.

Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Dogs - Topically?

Our furry friends are, well…furry. When we talk about blends for them, it’s important to discuss how we apply those blends. One of the great things about essential oils is they don’t need to be applied directly where needed. Since essential oils absorb through the skin and into the blood system, they circulate to the places they need to be. Knowing this, the easiest places to apply them where dogs are concerned are to their tummy, the inside of their ears, or even to the insides of their back legs, where there is a good supply of blood. If you’re concerned about them being able to lick the area where the blend was applied, simply apply the blend to the back of the neck. 

But remember, as long as you have diluted the oil well enough into carrier oil (We would advise a 1% dilution at the max) it is safe for them to lick it. Of course, even if they do lick it, they may only do it once as they may not enjoy the taste.

Potential  Benefits of Using Lemon Essential Oil On Dogs

Many components in lemon essential oil provide significant benefits for the health and well-being of your family’s favorite pet. These components include a-Pinene, which has been shown to be an effective antimicrobial agent, and Limonene, useful as an anti-inflammatory. Other beneficial properties of lemon essential oil are b-Pinene, which boosts the antibacterial and antimicrobial effects and Gamma-Terpinene providing additional anti-inflammatory superpowers.

There are a variety of ways you might find lemon oil useful for your dog. It is recommended to use if your pet suffers from joint pain or arthritis, as well as pets with cracked or inflamed paws. You could also use a blend to decrease anxiety in your pup, including travel anxiety

The use of lemon essential oil, or any oil for that matter, will not solve the issues overnight. But if used properly, and consistently, you may see improvement over time. Be mindful if your pet has a reaction as not all pets will respond the same. If you have questions, seek assistance from your veterinarian.

Avoid Using Lemon Essential Oil on Irritated Skin

If you can, avoid applying essential oils to places where the skin is irritated. You can apply it close to the area, just not the area itself. And remember, you do not need to use the oil directly on the area to be treated to be effective. Also, as with humans, some dogs will react more than others to certain oils. If your dog’s reactions and skin allergies seem to be getting worse, stop using the oil and seek advice from your veterinarian if needed.  (The Secret Healer, 2014).

Potential Adverse Reactions to Lemon Essential Oil

A simple way to tell if your dog will react positively to the essential oil, or not, is to take the lid off the bottle and hold it in the air about a foot away from him. Watch as his nose twitches, his eyes close, or he simply turns away. 

It can be interesting to test three or four scents one after the other. Don’t test them all at one time as it will be hard to discern which scent they’re reacting to. If you leave the bottle in their space for three to four minutes, it becomes easy to see which ones they enjoy and which they do not. Remember to leave space between your dog and the bottle, and if you’re sitting the bottle down, it should not be within their reach. 

Another good observation is to watch how their mouths react. They might lick at their lips as they taste the scent in the air. If they turn their head away or bury their face, it might be a good indicator they do not like the scent. 

Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe For Dogs - Practical Applications?

We’ve assessed that lemon essential oil is safe to use topically on your dog, but you may be wondering what the best way is to apply the blends. There are several options available. Some pet owners create a balm, using cocoa butter or beeswax. You can also apply essential oil to a gel, such as aloe vera gel and apply regularly. A third option may be to add essential oil to a blend of water and vodka in a glass bottle and spray their bedding, or areas they like to relax in the house. In this instance, you are not applying the spray directly to your dog.


Is lemon essential oil safe for dogs, then? Yes. You can feel comfortable using lemon essential oil around and with your dog as long as you ensure proper dilution and use. Remember, keep the dilution to less than 1%. If you do notice a reaction, please discontinue use and consult your veterinarian.

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