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What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?

Posted: 03/21/2024 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Uncategorized

Essential oils benefit people, but these holistic remedies are often toxic to our fur babies. This applies to oils that you aren’t directly applying to your pet. But what essential oils are bad for dogs specifically? Let’s dive further into this topic.

What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are all the rage right now as people are turning away from chemical-heavy household products in search of something safer and more natural. These oils can be used for anything from health and wellness to cleaning, meditation, and more.

Essential oils are volatile compounds that are extracted from plants and believed to hold the true “essence” of that plant. Chemically speaking, they aren’t true oils belonging to the fatty acid family. For example, olive oil and olive essential oil are two entirely different things with different chemical structures. 

Because essential oils offer many benefits and are considered the safer alternative to toxic household cleaners and personal care products, it’s natural that pet parents may assume they can also benefit their fur babies. The truth is that many essential oils can be dangerous for our pups. This includes even those you use with a diffuser or oil warmer.

The irony is that the very reason essential oils are so effective is the same reason they can make our dogs sick. Those plant molecules tend to be highly reactive with the compounds in our bodies and our pets’ bodies as well. The bottom line is while some essential oils can be safe for dogs, many are toxic and even poisonous because our pups cannot process the plant compounds. 

15 Essential Oils Toxic to Dogs

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If you are considering using any essential oils in your home for any reason, you should first speak with your vet. While some may be safe in small amounts, others are not safe.

The following list are essential oils that we know to be harmful to our pups:

  • Cinnamon
  • Citrus (d-limonene)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree (melaleuca)
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang
  • Anise
  • Clove
  • Thyme
  • Juniper
  • Yarrow
  • Garlic

Note that this list may not be complete. This is only a guide and why it is absolutely necessary that you speak with your veterinarian before introducing essential oils to your home.

Symptoms of Pet Poisoning

You may think you can safely keep your essential oils away in your bathroom or office, but our pups are curious and tend to get into places they shouldn’t. What are some of the symptoms you can look for that suggest your dog is having a bad reaction to an essential oil?

  • Excessive panting/Difficulty breathing
  • Drooling
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty walking or stumbling
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pawing at the mouth or face
  • Redness or burns on their lips, tongue, skin or gums
  • Vomiting

What Should I Do If My Dog Shows These Symptoms?

If you believe your dog is having a bad reaction to an essential oil, you’ll want to act very fast. Call your veterinarian immediately. If they are closed, call the nearest emergency animal hospital. You may also want to call the Pet Poison Helpline at (800) 213-6680.

Acting fast will result in the best health outcomes for your fur baby!

Final Thoughts

What essential oils are bad for dogs? It turns out, at least 15 of them and probably more. It’s a good rule of thumb to keep all essential oils out of reach of your pup and before using any in your home, consult your veterinarian. Better to be safe than sorry.

And speaking of being safe, enrolling your pup into a pet insurance policy means having peace of mind knowing you can afford whatever treatment they need should a serious accident or illness strike. Monthly premiums are probably more affordable than you think and you may even be able to get 90% reimbursement on those vet bills.

If you’re wondering which pet insurance providers are the best, here are the top pet insurance providers – in order – based on over 150,000 authentic reviews from pet parents just like you:


Top Pet Insurance Providers of 2024

RatingProviderTotal Review
4.9Healthy Paws7,498
4.8Prudent Pet125
4.5Pets Best7,216
4.3Pet Assure12





The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

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