The Benefits Of Lavender And Eucalyptus Essential Oils For Dogs

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that uses natural oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being. This is now an important part of everyday life for many people, and some are even extending its use to their four-legged family members!

Aromatherapy works via the senses, and in addition to the positive effect of touch that your dog will receive when you treat him with oils, he will benefit from their smell. Since your dog’s nose is much more sensitive to smell than yours, it’s not surprising that this form of holistic therapy is gaining popularity amongst pet owners.

After being applied to the skin, the oils evaporate and are inhaled. Their aromatic molecules enter the nasal cavity, sinuses and lungs, and are then absorbed into the bloodstream. Essential oils are also considered to possess “vibrational energy” – this is supposed to have a positive healing effect on the emotional states of the body and mind.

There are hundreds of essential oils available, all of which can have different effects on dogs. And just as is the case in people, different dogs react differently to any one type of oil. Although many are used on dogs, two of the most popular essential oils are lavender and eucalyptus.

Lavender Oil
Lavender is considered to have a variety of benefits for dogs, and is especially noted for the following properties:

  • Calming, sedative action: It is an excellent oil to help calm dogs that are fearful, agitated, hyperactive or anxious.
  • Flea and tick control: Although it doesn’t kill fleas and ticks, it can be useful in helping to repel them.
  • Skin therapy: It can help to provide some relief when applied to dry, itchy skin.
  • Fragrance: In addition to its medicinal benefits, its fragrance makes for an effective way to control pet odor.

Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus is also very widely used for its numerous benefits, and is especially noted for the following properties:

Flea control: Like lavender, this can help to repel these parasites.

  • Skin therapy: It can be useful to help soothe skin after insect bites, stings, and skin rashes.
  • Antiseptic qualities: Its disinfectant properties can be useful for skin problems and also when cleaning bedding.
  • Respiratory therapy: Its inhalant properties help to combat respiratory problems such as sinus infections and bronchitis.
  • Fragrance: Eucalyptus can also be very effective against pet odor.

Using The Oils
Direct application of the concentrated oil: For flea and tick control, add a drop of the oil to the back of your dog’s neck, and a drop to the base of the tail. Additionally, for an effective way to freshen his bedding, add a couple of drops when you wash it.

Dilute application of the oils: You may wish to dilute the oil, either for milder complaints or if you prefer to try low concentrations initially. If so, add 15 drops to a small spray bottle filled with water. This can then be sprayed on your dog’s skin for flea and tick control, skin healing, or relaxation. Adding it to your dog’s bath water is another effective way of applying a dilute form of the oil to his skin for flea and tick control. It can also be sprayed onto bedding or furniture for odor elimination, or even used as a room freshener. Alternatively, add a few drops to a carpet shampoo before cleaning household rugs. If you don’t feel like playing chemist, you can buy products specially formulated for dogs that contain these oils. We recommend the Cain & Able line of products that have shampoos, conditioners sprays and balms that contain the highest grade essential oils.

Use the concentrated oil as an inhalant: If you are using eucalyptus for your dog’s respiratory problem, add a couple of drops of the oil to a handkerchief and hold it close to his nose so he can inhale the oil vapor.

4 Important Points About Essential Oils

  • Never give them by mouth or in food
  • Keep them out of reach of cats
  • Do not apply to open skin wounds
  • Do not use on pregnant animals

Overall though, aromatherapy is a natural and safe treatment option for your dog if you are looking to try an alternative to chemical products for various ailments. And you don’t even need to mess around with the oils themselves – Try a “Between Baths Spritz” which is a lavender-based product that is ready for you to spray on your dog’s skin. Additionally, a lavender/eucalyptus shampoo and conditioner can alternatively be used at bath time. These products are natural and safe, and can be very soothing for your dog’s sensitive areas. And no mixing required!

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  1. I just Googled Eucalyptus for dogs and your post was the 2nd one listed. The first one was the ASPCA site saying Eucalyptus is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. I think I’ll go ahead and trust what they say. It’s really hard to know who to listen to these days, and I wish people would stop spreading misinformation.

    1. Hey Annie,

      I wanted to first say I agree with you about false ads is wrong and I too don’t appreciate either.
      I also want to put out that I am a licensed massage therapist….for humans:). And a mother of a wonderful Pomeranian, Reese. Reese had a lot of ordeals in her 6 months of life so far. Broken knee. Anemia. Allergies. The list cont.
      Believing in natural remedies before our little bundle of joy I went on the search.
      The aspca website. I know the one you refer to. Now here’s the trick. Did you know there are several species and families of plants all over the world. And ‘eucalyptus’ has 6 common species. For example: I use eucalyptus globulus on my clients. Perfect this time of yr for immune booster, and congestion. Eucalyptus blue is from Australia and expensive, but great for infections. Eucalyptus radiata ,from what I’ve read so far , is good for dogs. (DO NOT QOUTE ME ON THIS) I am only licensed to practice aromatherapy on humans. Not canine, feline, or any other animals. The eucalyptus Myrtaceae from aspca website I am familiar with. I have lived in Arizona for 18 years. And every year when this tree blooms, my clients complain about migraines and allergies. And guess what. It’s toxic to us as well. It’s the worst strain of eucalyptus.

      So, it’s not you were misinformed, they just didn’t give you a well rounded education on the species and families of this plant.

      So, to you Annie and other curious people, first check the ‘scientific name’ of the essential oil. Don’t buy it if it doesn’t. 2nd, with research online, go to websites that are legitimate. Not yelp or Google. Ones with .gov, .net, .doc. if it’s a .com it should be an association, league, certified, board, etc. Even webmed is ?able, due to specific ailments, they don’t have your overall medical history. I always tell my clients, go to the doctor. For your pets, go to the vet. :)
      I hope this helps.

      1. A licensed massage therapist for people and a dog owner does not make you qualified to speak about dog care, treatment, ailments, flea and tick therapy….or well anything pertaining to pets. As an emergency veterinarian there are tons of things toxic to dogs and not toxic to people (and vice versa). SO please stop promoting the use of oils on pets. I have personally seen dogs go into liver failure because owners put essential oils on their dogs because they “read something on the internet”. Unless they have been directed to do so by a homeopathic/holistic veterinarian who actually knows what they are talking about oils shouldn’t be used. The ASPCA is a very good resource for pets regarding poison, they compile thousands of cases monthly (possibly more) and have veterinary toxicologists working for them. To suggest they don’t know what they are talking about is ridiculous. Its nice that you know different species of eucalyptus but as a oil user myself not every company producing essential oils has clear plant species listed. So please please refrain from writing anything about using oils on pets, their metabolism is very different from ours. Thanks, Dr. M, DVM

        1. I hate contradictory information . I am trying to find information on yeast. I am caring for my brothers dog. He shakes his head. I checked him for mites. I visually see none . I am almost certain it is yeast. So I was reading further on the subject. To see type cause and effect with possible cure remedy. I have a love of information Science so even listening completely to a veterinarian so I will take the information with me to question them when I can. Upon reading about yeast, I have come to a article warning and reviews . of course the search continues . Reading the information I have come to think the problem with my roommates dog is an all out yeast infection possibly in the blood . However she recently has seen the vet. She has a pungent smell like she is dead inside that seeps out of the oil in her skin . Any relevant information to read would be fantastic .

          1. One of my rescue dogs had practically no hair, smelled awful (skin dandruff) and was being treated for mange. When I took him to the vet, he didn’t have mange or mites. The vet said to get him off beef, chicken and all dry food. He now only eats cooked pumpkin with other veggies (luckily he will eat anything), kangaroo or sometimes turkey. I put a teaspoon coconut oil (unprocessed) in his food, along with Omega 3 capsules (pierce holes and squirt into food). I’ve had to bath him every couple of days but he now doesn’t smell and his hair is much better. Takes a while to work but it may help. Good luck.

          2. My dog also had terrible yeast infection in her ears. As it turns out she is allergic to pretty much everything outside and she is allergic to Cats and Dogs,lol. We had her allergy tested. She is now on a compound specially made for her. They had to clean the infection out of the ears and then we treated them with an anti fungal. I hope this helps.

          3. My dog also smelled awedullt and very itchy her itchy ness turned into a yeast infection and the smell was as u described. The vwt put her on a yeast pull for seven days started with an f I think flutcanozole but she’s better no more horrible smell now if I could get the itching to stop I’d be happy hope it helps and the pills were only two bucks for seven days

        2. Dr M,
          I have an excellent veterinarian who truly loves and care for animals, but dealing with him and other vets is very frustrating because they only provide drugs which sometimes help the symptoms of underlying problems, but offer virtually no help in actually solving and curing the actual disease. In my case, my dog suffers from arthritis which is making it hard for her to go to the bathroom. My vet could offer no advice or help about this, so I’m searching the internet (a practice you deride in your comment) for solutions. I understand that some oils can be toxic, but I can also speak from own experience with aromatherapy that it can be extremely helpful when the oils are used appropriately. I suffered from asthma for years and spent thousands of dollars on steroid medication, inhalers, and allergy and asthma pills. The prescriptions and over the counter drugs did nothing to cure the asthma – the symptoms only became worse over time, and the side effects of the drugs were very debilitating. After struggling with asthma for years, all my symptoms literally disappeared within hours by using eucalyptus aromatherapy treatments and homeopathic allergy medication. The difference was that the latter treated my overactive immune and inflammatory response, the true cause of my asthma and allergy problems hiding behind all of my symptoms. As far as eucalyptus and other essential oils being toxic to dogs, I’m very skeptical that this is always the case, especially considering the fact that its used in many products for pets like shampoos, etc, with no ill effect. I think the problems you’re referring to were caused by the concentration and dose amount given to the dogs and way it was administered. As a DVM, you know that many helpful pharmaceutical drugs can turn deadly when given in the wrong dosage or delivery method, yet you would never wholly discount the benefits of the drug based on these potential problems. Its extremely disappointing to see DVMs react to alternative health methods in a frankly irrational and knee-jerk fashion, instead of being objective and trying to discern the potential benefits. There’s a reason people like me search the internet and other sources for health information, and frankly its because many MDs and DVMs have failed to help us and our pets.

          1. Rick, I agree with you whole heartedly. MD’s do have extreme and irrational reactions to the idea of plant-based medicine. They seem to forget that all their prescripton drugs originally come from plant research, usually from indiginous people making their own medicine. Pharmaceutical companies use the chemistry of plants to make synthetic versions because they are much cheaper and also because they do not have to deal with seasonal unavaiability of plants and crop failure. The downside is that the synthetic versions don’t seem to react with our bodies as benignly as plants do. They can have severe side effects. And yes, people can get in trouble by treating themselves, but if doctors would learn about plant based medicine, most people would be glad to recognize a doctor’s professional knowledge and work together with their doctors toward the goal of real health. I say “work together with their doctors” because people have a right to make informed decisions and take ownership of their own health. There is a real arrogance in the medical field, believing that people should accept whatever their doctors say and not try to research or learn themselves. I’m afraid that genie is out of the bottle. Information is now available and people are going to use it more and more. Wise doctors will either learn this older/new medicine, or people will treat themselves and not tell their doctors what they are doing because of the arrogant reaction. Cooperation would be great, otherwise more people will rely on doctors only for diagnosis and acute/trauma care. It’s the future, like it or not.

          2. Thank you for your letter to balance out the “extremists”. I have had doctors treat me VERY incorrectly and that has resulted in getting worse, not better. (Nerve condition). MD’s or DVM’s are not the ultimate in research, as most have personal biases. My good friends, among them a pharmacist and three physicians, are the first to admit it. All of them claim to know almost nothing about holistic, alternative medicine and say they prefer to use just RX drugs. They are simply not interested in holistics. Nothing replaces research and when you can find a megaanalysis on a topic, that is VERY helpful.

        3. Scientist’s who disregard holistic medicines are like religious zealots refusing to honor other paths than there own.

          I survived cancer after being given a year to live by a awesome hospital. I was then told directly do no alternative therapy as its a rip off and will break your heart when you die anyways.

          So ehh-hem, 14 years later :-) I’m reading this article and noticing the politics of health in the realm of K-9 lifestyles.

          Triple research you stuff because the normal medical industry hates you healing at non exorbinate pricing. They polute the market with disinformation and scary stories. Here’s a story… My old roommates cat had a huge hole in its back from a unneeded vaccine and the hole became a cancer tumor and the vaccine is now off the market having been proven certified evil.

          So live your life slow because if you don’t you trust to easily the expert and you or your furry friend pays the price.

        4. To the obviously angry unhappy supposed emergency veterinarian. As a college educated person, surely reading and comprehension was something you studied at some point correct? Please refer to those skills when you are going to attack someone & accuse them of things they clearly haven’t said or done. The author of this post was very very very clear in stating that her first line of defense would be to see a Dr or Vet. Her recommendation of essential oils for pet therapy came with the disclaimer that she is not licensed to treat animal health issues but that this is what has worked for her pets in the last. Never in anywhere in her article or her comment to your mast rude ugly comment to her did she even remotely state that the ASPCA didn’t know what they were talking about. You blatantly made that up & it’s a tactic I have seen plenty of times. Usually from some angry unhappy person attacking another person and putting words in their mouth that were never there in the first place in order to make that person look bad to people who haven’t taken the time to carefully read through all of the comments. I know you know she didn’t say they didn’t know what they were talking about so that makes me wonder about your reasons for making your initial comment. I suspect you feel threatened when the public learns of easier more gentle and more affordable remedies than those provided by a veterinarian. The veterinarian remedies usually cost an arm and a leg and require multiple visits to the vet which also cost an arm and a leg. The way you came on here attacking the author of this post makes it obviously that you have somethjng to fear. And it’s not that Fido’s all over America are going to go into liver failure from a drop of eucalyptus essential oils being placed on their fur. Come on. There is no way in the world that you treated a dog who went into liver failure from a drop of eucalyptus essential oil. No way. The author of this post is exactly right in stating there are a variety of sources for eucalyptus oil strains & some of them could be toxic more likely harmful than toxic but I suspect the reason the ASPCA wrote that article in the first place was to deter people from treating their pets at home saving money. As with all health care it’s priority is to make money and you and the ASPCA should be ashamed of yourselves for trying to promote fear in people in treating their pets at home and becoming informed on how to easily treat ailments in their pets. You should instead be embracing this age of knowledge and roni tong self care you will get a lot further. Living in fear and worrying your bread answer butter will be taken away if people find out that they cAn take care of many of their pets health concerns at home for pennies will only cause you more misery.

    2. i use eucalyptus, lavender, and chamomile oils in a steam vaporizer at least 12 hours a day and often 20 hours a day. It has helped my pets breathing with a collapsing windpipe, it also helps with infections. I trust the information of people who have studied and researched and have experience with the oils in ways to heal themselves and their pets over organizations that are controlled by the govt and fda.

      1. Has it helped with fleas?

    3. The ASPCA website talk about dogs eating eucalyptus leaves. There is a big difference between eating something and applying the essential oil in diluted form for skin problems. I would never use any essential oil undiluted on human or animal, but it is perfectly safe in a soap or such.

  2. this is ridiculous, someone can read this – give their pet eucalyptus and cause more damage – how careless to not even mention in the entire post that it’s possible to purchase one that is TOXIC. as a homeopath you should be ashamed, you are supposed to be caring for HUMANS and not passing false information on to pet owners – and then to come in and argue with people that are pointing it out!

    1. Read the article again, it describes how and how NOT to use the oil.

    2. What about spraying the oils on bedding and on the fur lightly.

      1. Dogs lick their fur. Did you get to the part where she suggests diluting the correct kind of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle filled with water? Check the scientific name of the eucalyptus oil you are considering using: no scientific name? Don’t use it on your dog.

        1. Dogs can’t lick their back. She sad to place one drop of oil on the back of the neck. There is no dog in the world who will be able to lock the back of their neck and if another dog came along and wanted to lick the dogs neck who has one drop of essential oil placed on it I guarantee you that dog is Norbert going to die. The author of this post was assuming people aren’t complete imbeciles. You probably sue our friends if you slip and fall and break a nail at their house I’m guessing. Go take a yoga class and lighten the f up for the love of God.

  3. Anyone know if having eucalyptus trees in yard and leaves everywhere my dogs go in yard is ok? They are not eating them. Wonder if the oils go into food pads from leaves. Most leaves are brown on ground so maybe not as toxic as the green when on tree? Any advice welcome. thanks

    1. We have quite a few Eucalyptus trees (100) the last time I counted. We have had dogs, cats, horses living under them and sometimes the horses eat the leaves. The dogs in our heavy flea season (and we do use remedies frontline/ advantage that are now failing) can be seen rubbing their backs in the low branches. Perhaps they know something we don’t? I am wondering if the Toxic warning is if they are fed the oil?

      1. Frontline no longer kills fleas in my area. I have had my 2 dogs on Trifexis which is anti-flea, anti-internal worms (some anyway) and anti-heartworms. Must get dogs tested first for presence of any stage of heartworms before using any kind of medication to prevent them: negative finding = safe to use Trifexis. This relatively cheap (especially since it’s a heartworm preventative) medication has been a monthly, tasty treat for the dogs and a huge relief for me.
        My guess with your dogs scratching using the low eucalyptus branches is because… they’re low! Not necessarily the type of tree, just convenient. Maybe at just the right angle, too. We all like a good back-scratcher, right? 😉

  4. I put 4 drops of an excellent eucalyptus oil in one and a half ounces of virgin olive oil and rub it into my dogs chest if he is having congestion at night to help him with breathing. When he knows he’s getting it, he almost looks relieved that I’m putting it on him. It does help with the breathing and I rub it in for a while that way if he does end up licking some of it off it is mostly olive oil. It has helped him many many times. I’m sure there are vets that go on sites like this and try to scare you because it takes away from potential money. Make sure you look into it very well and always use a natural safe mixing oil with all essential oils. I use peppermint essential oil mixed with virgin cold pressed coconut oil to rub on his legs for his arthritis which has done wonders for him.

    1. I’m with Heidi — I too believe that many vets do not want you to use any healing property products that they are not selling or benefiting them in some way. They do not want to hear it! I use Lavender essential oil on my dogs ears — one dog would get chronic ear infections. Spent countless money at Vet office for meds, now he never has an issue and my vet is surprised. I won’t even tell him what I’m doing because he gets an attitude if you mention essential oils, instead of saying Wow, that’s great — it’s working!

      1. Hi brianne. My lab also have chronic ear infections . How did you apply the lavender oil ? I see you should mix it with some sort of cleanser and use a cotton swab . I am trying to research if there is a way to put lavender drops DOWN my dogs ears and what it should be mixed with.. any advice ? Thank you

        1. Hi, I’m not an expert but I don’t think you should put drops of any undiluted essential oil on your dog. I have mixed a tablespoon of olive oil with a drop of essential oil to clean my dogs ears, and had amazing results (Just mix it up and use a clean cotton pad to dip in a little bit and place the cotton in your dogs ear, gently massage the outer ear with the cotton in. It’s okay if your dog shakes his head and it comes out. Throw it away and get a clean one to gently wipe the ear gunk out).
          I have not used eucalyptus on my dog, but fortunately I have a great vet who supports some of the essential oils I have incorporated into our lives, and now I will ask for more information about it.

  5. I have a 14 week old Pomeranian. She was diagnosed with pneumonia a few weeks ago. She was placed on Clavamox for 10 days. We didn’t see any improvement with that medication. Now she has been placed on Doxycycline for 14 days. This is her 7th day of treatment and I do see some improvements. I want to know would rubbing eucalyptus oil mixed with Virgin olive oil help her to clear mucous and congestion in her lungs?

    1. Local RAW BEE HONEY. Anti microbial and will help the immune system. My toy POM is 14 years. Every day he gets local raw bee honey via syringe and omega-3, whole body support, immune support and a probiotic. The results of the honey was amazing. It stopped his post nasal drip and helps his immune system….he is old but still has almost all butm6 teeth. P.S. He loves it! RAW bee honey is the only way to go. It helps reduce allergies because they consume the honey. The choice is yours but I have run the gambit with this fella and natural local raw bee honey, Proviable DC for dogs probiotic, standard process canine whole body support, standard process canine immune support and omega 3 oil. I just mix it all together, load a bid syringe from the local pharmacy and down the hatch. He is 3.5 lbs and finicky so that is how we roll. 😊👍🐶❤️

      1. Local RAW BEE HONEY. Anti microbial and will help the immune system. My toy POM is 14 years. Every day he gets local raw bee honey via syringe and omega-3, whole body support, immune support and a probiotic. The results of the honey was amazing. It stopped his post nasal drip and helps his immune system….he is old but still has almost all but 6 of his teeth. P.S. He loves it! RAW bee honey is the only way to go. It helps reduce allergies because they consume the honey. The choice is yours but I have run the gambit with this fella and natural local raw bee honey, Proviable DC for dogs probiotic, standard process canine whole body support, standard process canine immune support and omega 3 oil. I just mix it all together, load a bid syringe from the local pharmacy and down the hatch. He is 3.5 lbs and finicky so that is how we roll. 😊👍🐶❤️ He had bronchitis and went to different Vets…ER and others but at the end of the day, the local raw bee honey saved his life. Try it…it won’t hurt your pet. Follow directions for your pet re: pounds if you use the other products…it’s on the jars. I ordered off Amazon. The bee honey I was able to google local raw bee honey and find a local source. 🐝🐶😎

  6. There is a lot of contradictory information on the Internet, especially regarding pets.
    Where do you think medicine comes from? Plants, herbs and such. All oils are not equal. There can be no additives, 100% pure and then it needs to be diluted as the pets skin is a major organ.
    Homeopathy can save a dogs life and prednisone can take it!

    People need to learn how to descern information and apply it. Anything in large quantities or potency can kill! I’m just so sick of naysayers that don’t have the slightest idea of what they are talking about just because they read it once.
    5-10 drops eucalyptus oil and 5-10 drops lavender oil (100% pure and not the cheap crap) diluted with 1 oz jojaba oil and 1 oz Witch Hazel would be just fine for an animal.
    I always let my dog sniff what I’m applying to him, he will tell me if it is acceptable, if not I dilute it more.
    People need to learn to listen to what their animals are saying and not just regard them running away as a typical reaction, they do that for a reason. Dogs are smarter than you think.
    Thank you for a nice blog/article!

    1. Nice, I love it😗

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