Pet owners, we know it can be hard to find organic, animal friendly products that live up to our expectations. As an owner of a rambunctious puppy and an aging and anxious dog, I’m always looking for ways to help both of my dogs feel more relaxed and comfortable. As an essential oil user, I also wonder about how my pets might be able to benefit from soothing lavender essential oil, but never wanted to venture into unsafe territories. If you have an anxious, tireless, or nervous puppy, lavender essential oil may be able to help them chill out and relax right alongside you.
Is Lavender Essential Oil Animal Friendly?
This is the burning question I had. I have heard horror stories of the adverse effects certain essential oils can have for our furry friends. Yet, I wasn’t finding any natural animal friendly products that could help my pups to manage their separation anxiety or wind down at the end of the day. Thus began my research into essential oils.
Diluted lavender oil is generally considered safe for topical use on dogs. Lavender essential oil is extremely potent. Just like for humans, pure lavender essential oils should not be applied to the skin or ingested. Instead, they should be mixed with a carrier oil. It’s also important to remember how powerful our dogs’ noses really are! What seems like a faint scent to us can be overwhelming to a dog and their 225-300 million smell receptors. Lavender contains linalool and linalyl acetate, which are not safe for some animals but can be tolerated in small doses for others. For this reason, lavender oil should not be ingested, only used topically or diffused into the air around them.
There are certain risks associated with sharing your lavender oil with your dog. Dogs can have allergic reactions to the oil when first introduced to it, causing itchy and inflamed skin, respiratory troubles, and infections. If your dog ingests too much oil, like by getting a hold of the bottle or by licking it off of their bodies, it can be toxic and cause vomiting, constipation, or reduced appetite. In short, organic lavender essential oil can be animal friendly when diluted and applied topically with approval from your veterinarian.
Benefits of Lavender for Dogs
Lavender has many of the same soothing benefits for canines as it does for humans.
- Soothe irritated skin: Diluted lavender oil may help to alleviate irritated or itchy skin. Never apply the oil to an open wound.
- Repel insects: Lavender oil can be a very effective insect repellent! For trips to the park, camping trips, or puppy play dates, applying a thin layer of diluted oil to your dog’s coat may reduce the chance of bug bites.
- Help them chill out: You might think pets have it pretty easy, but there are lots of things that can cause your puppy stress! Introducing a new pet to the family, returning to work after months of working from home, or leaving for extended trips can make pets feel anxious. Lavender is widely used to help soothe and calm anxious dogs.
How to Safely Give Your Dog Lavender
Lavender essential oil certainly is not the only way you can share lavender love with your pet! There are plenty of clever and safe ways to use lavender to help your pet calm down and chill out.
- Make a lavender stuffed toy: Sometimes your doggy just needs a cuddle buddy! If they have a favorite stuffed toy or a dog bed that is coming apart at the seams, you can add dried lavender buds in with the stuffing to help comfort and soothe your dog during bed time. Bonus: both our Travel Kit and Gift Set comes with a lavender sachet that you can share with your pet and keep the rest for yourself!
- Spritz the furniture with lavender hydrosol: Our lavender hydrosol mist is a byproduct of essential oil distillation. It has all the soothing properties of lavender oil, but is diluted into a safe to use spray. You can also use this on their doggy bandana, collar, car seats, furniture, or bed!
- Diffuse lavender oil in the home: If you want to enjoy lavender with your pet, you can use an essential oil diffuser to fill your home. Just keep in mind that your dog’s nose is much stronger than ours, so keep it away from where they spend most of their time and don’t leave it running all day long.
- Dilute the oil and rub on their ears: Dilute pure lavender essential oil with a neutral carrier oil, massage it into your hands, and rub a very small amount on their ears. You can use it as an opportunity for a little massage too! If you decide to apply it topically, make sure you use it in a place that they cannot lick it off and keep it away from sensitive areas like the eyes.
Every pup is different and has different sensitivities and needs. If you love the scent of lavender in your home, essential oil diffusion may help to soothe both you and your dog and help you to catch more Zs! If you think your dog could use a little more lavender TLC, make sure to consult your veterinarian so they can test for allergies and provide you with a more holistic animal friendly approach to managing anxiety or nervousness.