Essential Oils for Dogs: Tips and Tricks

Cute Young Girl with Puppies

Essential oils for dogs can be an amazing thing. Our canine companions, whether working dogs or love sponges, respond wonderfully to the essential oils we humans use for our own health and benefit.

Because dogs often completely devote themselves to us,  they also manifest many of the same ailments as we do. This “transference” is an important phenomenon, for dogs feel and sense our maladies (and moods) quite clearly; they will often try to alleviate that distress by sending healing to their loved one, sometimes to the point of depleting their own reserves. They may even take on similar ailments, literally manifesting the same symptoms. Consequently, we owners should take care of our mental states during traumatic periods to support and nurture our dogs’ wellbeing. Certainly, the dog will intuit a great deal, but if we take responsibility for our health and care, with mindfulness about the level of stress in the household, that will go a long way toward the dog’s sense of well-being.

The same applies during periods of stress or turmoil. Divorce, death, or a move can send your canine friend into depression, especially if no explanations are forthcoming. Dogs have lived around us humans for so long that we would be surprised at what they understand about us. Even if they don’t fully comprehend our conversations (and they understand more than we credit), they can and do learn from our facial expressions, tone of voice, and actions. So a conversation with the dog about what’s upsetting the household can do wonders—and also help us owners to talk out our issues to a trusted ally and devoted companion.


Just as with us humans, if a dog’s immune system is strong, it can fight off most illnesses and health issues. That’s why regular veterinary care, a nutritious diet, plentiful clean water, and regular exercise are so important. Therapeutic-grade essential oils can help support and nurture the dog’s health to retain that balance; they can also be useful for ailments or injuries that occur during a dog’s life.

Applying Oils

Before you “anoint” your dog, put the drop or two in the palm of your hand and let the dog sniff it. That is a sure way of getting the oil into its system past the blood/brain barrier, as well as introducing it to your pet. Take care, though, not to overload its nostrils, since dogs have an extremely sensitive sense of smell. If your dog immediately begins rubbing its face on the carpet or some nearby object, you got a clear, loud message—yuck!

Another or additional approach might be to rub the oil onto your own body, let the dog sniff you, then pet and stroke your canine with the remaining oil from your palms. That’s a great way to introduce the oil while making it a pleasurable (and beneficial) experience for you both. And the effect (and benefit) of the oil remains on your hands even after the oil has dried or dissipated, so don’t overdo.

Immune Strength

Immune Strength is an excellent, all-around oil for maintaining your dog’s health; it can also help your dog recover from an illness, injury, trauma, or surgery. Immune Strength is a great oil to use in your ultrasonic diffuser. That dispersion helps everyone in your household and it’s dispensed lightly. In fact, a diffuser can be invaluable. A few drops of a judiciously selected oil can help cleanse the air, calm a tense environment, encourage impaired lungs, and nurture the overall health of the inhabitants.

Depending on the size of the dog, 2 or 3 drops every few days can be rubbed onto the coat or behind the pads of the feet. And, yes, it can even be given internally, especially if you are trying to rebuild your dog’s strength. In the latter case, try placing one drop on a treat. See how your dog reacts and use that as your guide, as you never want to force intake of an essential oil. It’s hard enough dispensing medications that the veterinarian prescribes; if your dog equates the essential oil with a dreaded veterinary protocol, you’ve already lost!

If the dog is ill, weak, or elderly, perhaps you will want to rub a couple of drops onto its coat daily and also give a drop or more on treats twice a day.


Another one of the good essential oils for dogs is Aligning. As with Immune Strength, this is a blend that aids in strengthening the immune system and supporting overall health. It, too, can be a wonderful addition to your diffuser and can benefit everyone in the household. Copaiba is another wonderful oil to consider and use in the same way. However, always start very tentatively, perhaps diffusing the essential oil in an open room, then observing your dog’s reaction. And remember, you’re adding only 6 to 8 drops to your diffuser, which is then dispersed over an extended period.

Other Essential Oils for Dogs

Here are some other excellent oils for varied uses that your dog might enjoy:

  • Arthritis Plus is a great choice for an older dog with arthritic issues. It can also support recovery from sprains, joint injuries, or broken bones.
  • Attention Assist can help when training a dog or a puppy.
  • Tranquility or Lavender may calm a hyper dog during thunderstorms or fireworks events.
  • Helichrysum Italicum can be dripped or daubed onto an open wound (it does not sting); follow up with Frankincense to accelerate healing and reduce the chances of infection (those two, in sequence, will also relieve pain).
  • Lemongrass is effective on torn ligaments; it has also been used in cases of cancer.

Cute Young Girls with Puppies

Final Advice

Of course, nothing replaces regular veterinary care. However, therapeutic essential oils can supplement those visits and help extend your dog’s quality of life. Just make sure the oils have strong therapeutic value and purity; otherwise, you have no idea what additives or chemicals and perfumes permeate the oil. Also keep in mind that oils in high doses can be dangerous.

As your dog’s guardian, you must exercise good judgment about your level of comfort and understanding in using essential oils on or around it. And please don’t overdo; select one and see how your dog responds. If what you tried doesn’t seem to help, consider one of the others. And, of course, maintain regular veterinary care and seek medical advice for health and behavioral issues.

This article was written by Nancy Sheheen, certified practitioner in Healing Touch for Animals.

31 thoughts on “Essential Oils for Dogs: Tips and Tricks

    1. Karmae Leann Zitzner

      I put a drop of lemongrass like twice a week on the inside of her ears to keep away fleas. It works great. No fleas since so I keep it up.

      1. liz

        Will bug off help for summer flies that like to eat up the dogs ears? I tried clove oil and it didn’t work.

        1. Rocky Mountain Oils

          Yes, it should help keep flies away. Just be sure to dilute before applying and introduce it to the dog (as stated in the article). Hope that helps!

  1. Penny

    I put together a blend for dry skin that seems to be working well.
    I currently have 2 rescue toy schnauzers and 1 foster yorkie. One of my schnauzers has had dry skin since I got her and (I do feed them well with extra oils and fats for their insides), however – this year with the really bad, cold, long winter last year and this year getting worse fast – with the change of the seasons from summer to fall/winter they have all been suffering from bad dry skin. My sister has two dogs also a Shepard/Border Collie mix and a mutt – and hers are having the same problems… I use Cobaiba, Balsam of Peru, and Peppermint in fractionated coconut oil. So far, I’ve been mixing 3-5 drops of each into a 2oz bottle and then fill the rest of the bottle with the coconut oil. The result is a pleasant vanilla mint smell that the girls all seem to like. I put it on my hands and rub/massage it into them. All of these oils work for antibacterial/antifungal/ perk up your spirits sort of stuff. I also enjoy having the blend on my dry hands as well.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Lee, some oils that are good for motion sickness are Tummy Rub, Ginger Root, Peppermint, and Lavender.

  2. Rahul

    Excellent blog you have got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

  3. Patricia McDonald

    My “grandpuppy has a habit of constantly licking the top of his paw. He’ll even stop in the middle of playing to start licking. Any suggestions on what oil may help break the habit?

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      There could be a variety of factors causing this. He might have a a cut or splinter in between the toes, fleas, allergies, anxiety, stress, etc. Allergies are one of the most common problems. First, be sure to check the paw thoroughly and see if there’s any problem. We wouldn’t suggest applying oils to the spot since he licks there so often. It’s hard to say what would be best to use for it if allergies are the culprit, because it could be a food allergy or an environmental allergy. It may be best to take the puppy to the vet and see if they can do some tests. Hope that helps!

  4. Ginny

    Great info you have here. I didn’t even think that essential oils could effect dogs and cats but then again I have never had any pets since using essential oils.

    But my daughter has a dog. I’ve been using essential oils for cleaning my house and I love ‘em. But I promised my daughter that I’d clean her house using essential oils, but I’m kinda scared because I don’t want the oils to harm her pet. Are there any essential oils I should’nt use when I go clean her house? Thanx for your response.

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Ginny, cleaning with essential oils shouldn’t be a problem for the dog (unless the dog is prone to heavily licking whatever you’re cleaning). You wouldn’t want them ingesting the oils. Glad to hear you’ve been enjoying using them! :)

  5. Lynn

    One of our two dogs has just been diagnosed with Lympoma. Today is his first chemotherapy treatment. I am wondering if the Immune Strength would be good for him? He will obviously have compromise to his immune system. This of course is very emotional and we are trying to think of things that might make him more comfortable as well as help him through these treatments. Thank you for your in put.

  6. Trudy

    My dog just recently developed some dry skin patches along his spine but no where else. He is in great health, raw diet, krill oil, exercise etc and I use some essential oils in his chemical free shampoo along with a plop of coconut oil. Is there some essential oils you would recommend that I apply to his spine to clear this dry skin up? Please let me know along with the steps to apply. diluted or not?
    Warm regards,

  7. Brandy

    I just recently discoverd oils and started using them, and looking forward to using them on my dog. I have a husky and was hoping to try the lemongrass for fleas and the immune strength because she is very old. My biggest question is above i as reading to rub into her coat. She, being a husky has a very think coat, would this still be the best way for her? Also do you dilute for dogs like i would for my kids?
    Thank you!

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Brandy, you could diffuse Immune Strength, if you think it might help better than applying topically. As for the Lemongrass, just try as best you can to rub the oil into her coat. As for diluting, you can either follow the child guidelines or dilute a little less (depending on what age your kids are). Thanks!

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Hi Luanne, our most popular diffusers are our AromaCloud diffusers (either the Home or Spa version)

  8. Brad

    Bug spray

    15 drops Lavender
    3-4 tablespoons vanilla extract
    ¼ c Lemon Juice

    Put all ingredients in a 16 oz spray bottle, fill with water. Shake before every use.
    It also great keeping the Fly’s away

  9. sabrina

    My dog will not accept essential oils. By that, I mean she runs away when I try to get her to smell them on my hand. I haven’t had luck with any of them. She is 10 months old yellow lab and her immune system is terrible as she has had mange and is now suffering from an ear infection. I would love to use immune strength to build up her system…do you suggest me going ahead and maybe tricking her into receiving some or is this her way of telling me to stay away? What is the best way? I am already diffusing them. Thanks!

    1. Rocky Mountain Oils

      Sabrina, if your dog isn’t reacting well to the essential oil, it’s probably best not to force it on her. Diffusing them should help, though, and diet may also be an area to look at. Consult with your vet if there are any additional ways to boost her system. Thanks!


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