The Benefits Of Lavender And Eucalyptus Essential Oils For Dogs

Aromatherapyis 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!


  1. Annie

    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. misty lmt

      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. Colleen Mullally, DVM

        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. Robert Harmon

          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. Karen Kelly

            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. Rick

          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.

  2. Eva

    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. Rick

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

  3. valerie

    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


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