What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?

If you love essential oils, but love your dog even more, then this is the article for you. 

We just wrapped up National Dog Day, and now it’s time to extend our celebration all year long by keeping our furry friends safe.

Want to find out what essential oils are bad for dogs? Read on!

Don’t Accept Simple Answers 

You’re smarter than average, that’s why you’re here. 

You understand that every dog is different.

Consider the fact that while you might be allergic to a certain food, someone else may eat that same food with zero problems. Maybe you’re allergic to cats while a friend of yours refuses to go to sleep without their cat next to them. 

We have to remember that dogs can be just as different.

This means taking responsibility and carefully observing our dogs whenever we diffuse essential oils. Get to know your dog well by paying attention to their behavioral patterns. This will empower you to catch behaviors that are unusual. Knowing what essential oils are bad for dogs is just the first step.

You might be wondering: Do I have to be careful with essential oils around my dog? Essential oils are all-natural anyway, aren’t they?

This brings us to the first point.

Dog nose - what essential oils are bad for dogs

Your Dog’s Sense of Smell is on Another Level

You’ve probably heard that dogs have a powerful sense of smell, but did you know how powerful? 

Consider this, dogs have been used to reliably sniff out narcotics, weapons, and even cancer.

There’s a reason dogs are trained to sniff out these things instead of relying on a human nose. 

James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University came to a shocking estimate to help us understand how powerful it really is. According to Walker, “If you make the analogy to vision, what you and I can see at a third of a mile, a dog could see more than 3,000 miles away and still see as well.”

what essential oils are bad for dogs - police dog

While we humans possess up to six million olfactory receptors, dogs possess up to 300 million.

Beyond that, the part of a dog’s brain that analyzes smells is up to 40 times (proportionally) greater than ours. These are some of the reasons that it’s important to consider what essential oils are bad for dogs. Although there is no way to know with certainty how well a dog can smell, it’s always best to play it safe when it comes to your dog’s wellbeing.

Click here to learn more about the power of your dog’s nose.

HUGE DISCLAIMER: This article is only about diffusing essential oils as there are not enough conclusive studies to recommend applying essential oils to your dog at all. Consult a professional in the field such as a veterinarian or a clinical aromatherapist specializing in animals before using essential oils for or around any pet.

what essential oils are bad for dogs smelling grapes

So, What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?

Since there is no specific, reliable resource for information about essential oils for dogs, we compiled this list through extensive research, anecdotal data, and a little help from the Pet Poison Helpline, ASPCA, and PetMD

Essential Oils that are Bad for Dogs

Cinnamon Essential Oil

The debate is out on Cinnamon Essential Oil’s effect on dogs as well. However, according to Pet Poison Helpline, “It takes a larger amount of ingested cinnamon powder to cause problems in our pets (greater than 1 teaspoon of powder for most pets) but only a small amount of the essential oil.” Based on that tidbit, I believe Cinnamon Essential Oil has the potential to be dangerous for dogs.

Tea Tree (Melaleuca) Essential Oil

The very chemicals that make Tea Tree Essential Oil so effective against bacteria and fungi (terpenes) are the same chemicals that make it toxic to dogs. This was confirmed by both Pet Poison Helpline and PetMD. While most research is around the topical application of Tea Tree, it’s best to keep anything that might be toxic for dogs away from your dog. 

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme Essential Oil is a tricky one. Some sources suggest diffusing it around your dog to help those with respiratory problems. However, several other sources suggest that it may be toxic to dogs. As usual, use caution, and pay attention to your dog with this essential oil. Michelson Found Animals, a popular pet shelter, listed Thyme Essential Oil as a harmful oil for dogs. 

dog smelling flower

Clove Essential Oil

There are plenty of anecdotes out there that condone the use of Clove Essential Oil around dogs. However, according to aromatherapist and author, Kristen Leigh Bell, “the phenylpropane eugenol in clove can burn a pet’s skin.” This information was obtained at This leads one to believe that it may also be toxic for dogs to inhale. There’s no sure answer, but it’s probably best not to take the risk. 

Pennyroyal Essential Oil 

This particular oil is often used as an insect repellant. For that reason, many unsuspecting users have attempted to use it to treat flea infestations. Pet Poison Helpline mentions that “oral or dermal exposures can both result in toxicity.” In the end, this can result in hepatic necrosis or liver failure. Dogs Naturally Magazine suggests that pulegone is the most concentrated and threatening chemicals found in Pennyroyal. 

Wintergreen Essential Oil 

The methyl salicylates found in Wintergreen essential oil is often used as a pain reliever for things like muscle aches and pains. However, it can be deadly for dogs. Toxicity can result in vomiting, gastrointestinal issues, ulcers, and even renal and liver failure. Pet Poison Helpline also confirms this. In an article on, Dr. Wismer suggested that Wintergreen Essential Oil is a particularly toxic one for dogs and cats. 

Peppermint Essential Oil is one of many websites that suggests that Peppermint is toxic to dogs. This was also true for me from personal experience. The debate seems to be out on whether Peppermint Essential Oil is bad for dogs or not, however, when I was only diffusing a few drops of this oil, I noticed my dog began to sneeze. So this one is a no-no for my dog, and much of my research confirms that it is toxic for dogs. 

dog diffusing essential oils

To read more about essential oils for dogs, please check out the Top 5 Best and Worst Essential Oils to Use Around Dogs. For information about cats, please check out the Top 5 Best and Worst Essential Oils to Use Around Cats.  

Final Thoughts

The use of essential oils for pets is a controversial topic. Not even the experts can come to a solid agreement. However, you don’t have to sacrifice your love for essential oils for your dog; you just have to be selective and pay very close attention to your dog when you use essential oils. Diffusing certain essential oils around your dog might be beneficial for them. Simply use caution, and always consult a professional veterinarian or aromatherapist specializing in animals before using essential oils around your dog.   

Click Here to Read about the Best and Worst Essential Oils to Use Around Pets.

Drop a comment below, and let us know what you think of our list! 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on whatsapp
Share on email
Leave a Reply

Dear Customer,

Due to the current health crisis, Guru Nanda is taking the necessary precautionary measures to maintain wellness. We are currently operating with minimal staff. Product availability, timeliness of shipments and payment processing options may be affected. We sincerely apologize the inconvenience this may cause.