Dog Tips

Can I Use Lavender Oil on My Dog? A Guide for Pet Parents

Essential oils are becoming increasingly popular for their natural benefits, and pet owners often wonder if these same benefits can extend to their furry friends. Lavender oil, in particular, is known for its calming properties, which can be helpful for anxious dogs or stressed dogs. But before you reach for the diffuser, it's crucial to understand the potential risks and how to use lavender oil safely on your dog.

Disclaimer: It's important to note that essential oils can be irritating or even toxic to dogs if not used properly. Always consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oil on your dog, especially if your dog has any pre-existing health conditions.

What is Lavender Oil?

Lavender oil is a highly concentrated extract made from the flower spikes of lavender plants. It contains compounds that offer a variety of potential benefits, including promoting relaxation and reducing inflammation. While some essential oils are absolutely toxic to dogs, lavender oil is generally considered one of the safer options, but caution is still necessary.

Expert Insights From Spot:

Curious canines often get themselves into trouble by ingesting things they shouldn't. Spot's data reveals that the average cost of treating a dog for toxic ingestion is $662, and throughout Spot's history nearly 5,000 pet insurance claims for toxic ingestion have been processed. This highlights the importance of keeping your dog away from potentially harmful objects or substances, including a large variety of essential oils. If you suspect your dog has ingested something poisonous, contact your veterinarian immediately. Learn more about how pet insurance works and discover if pet insurance is right for you.

The Benefits of Lavender Oil for Dogs (When Used Correctly)

  • Calming Effects: Lavender oil's calming properties can help reduce anxiety and stress in dogs. This can be helpful for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety, noise phobias, or travel anxiety.

  • Relief for Itchy Skin: Lavender oil's anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties may help soothe itchy skin caused by allergies or insect bites.

  • Minor Wound Healing: Lavender oil's antiseptic properties may aid in the healing of minor cuts and scrapes.

How to Use Lavender Oil Safely on Your Dog

  • Always Dilute: Never apply undiluted essential oil directly to your dog's skin. Use a carrier oil, like coconut oil or jojoba oil, and dilute the lavender oil at a ratio of 1 drop of essential oil to 50 drops of carrier oil.

  • Start Small: When introducing a new substance to your dog, start with a very small amount and monitor their reaction.

  • Let Your Dog Opt Out: Provide your dog with an escape route from the area where you're using the lavender oil, in case they find the scent overwhelming.

  • Focus on Safe Application Methods: Avoid applying lavender oil near your dog's eyes, ears, or nose. Applying a diluted solution to their bedding or using a diffuser set on low can be safer options.

Signs Your Dog Might Not Tolerate Lavender Oil

  • Excessive licking or scratching at the application site

  • Sneezing or coughing

  • Watery eyes

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Listlessness or lethargy

If you notice any of these signs, discontinue use immediately and consult your veterinarian.

What Happens If My Dog Licks Lavender Oil?

While generally considered safer than other essential oils, ingesting lavender oil can still be harmful to your dog. The severity of the reaction depends on the amount ingested. Symptoms of lavender oil poisoning in dogs can include:

If you suspect your dog has licked lavender oil, contact your veterinarian or animal poison control immediately. Do not try to induce vomiting unless instructed by a veterinarian.

What Essential Oils Are Safe to Use Around Dogs?

While lavender oil is generally considered one of the safer options, it's important to remember that all essential oils can be harmful to dogs if not used properly. Here are a few other essential oils that are generally considered safe for dogs when used with extreme caution and diluted properly:

  • Cedarwood oil: May help with allergies and repel insects.

  • Chamomile oil: May promote relaxation and calmness.

  • Frankincense oil: May help with anxiety and wound healing.

Important Note: Even these seemingly safe oils can be toxic in high doses or if your dog has certain sensitivities. Always consult with your veterinarian before using any essential oil around your dog.

Never Use These Essential Oils Around Dogs:

  • Tea tree oil: This oil is highly toxic to dogs and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and disorientation.

  • Melaleuca oil: Closely related to tea tree oil, melaleuca oil is equally dangerous for dogs.

  • Oregano oil: Oregano oil is very potent and can irritate a dog's skin and respiratory system.

  • Citrus oils (lemon, lime, grapefruit): Citrus oils can be irritating to a dog's skin and eyes, and ingesting them can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Other toxic oils: This is not an exhaustive list, and there are other essential oils that are toxic to dogs. If you are unsure about an essential oil, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid using it around your dog altogether.


Lavender oil can be a helpful tool for promoting relaxation and soothing minor skin issues in dogs, but it's crucial to use it correctly. Remember to always consult your veterinarian before using any essential oil on your dog, dilute it properly, monitor your dog's reaction closely, and keep all essential oils out of your dog's reach. Consider using a safe, alternative method like brushing or providing a calming chew toy if you're unsure about using essential oils. With caution and responsible use, lavender oil can be a safe and natural way to support your dog's well-being.

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