What Essential Oils are Safe for Pets? Recommendations for Dogs and Cats

The debates continue to rage in the aromatherapy field about the use of essential oils on or around pets. 

GuruNanda does not recommend applying essential oils directly to your pet. In our opinion, there’s just not enough data to warrant it. 

In terms of diffusion, we have found that several essential oils are safe to use around pets. (Particularly cats and dogs)

However, it’s crucial that you speak to your veterinarian before attempting to use essential oils around your pets. Just like human beings, animals can be allergic to certain oils and scents. 

With that in mind, here are some essential oils that we’ve found to be generally safe to use around pets. 

cat standing against door


Disclaimer: Each cat is different. That’s part of what cat lovers appreciate about their feline companions the most. It’s important to note that cats can be allergic to certain plants and herbs just like humans.

It is always best to check with your veterinarian and an aromatherapist that specializes in animals before using essential oils around cats. Also be sure to carefully observe your cat after diffusing an essential oil. If you notice your cat behaving strangely or moving away from the area more than usual, the cat might be experiencing adverse effects from the oil.

Cedarwood: Cat lovers around the web praise the use of Cedarwood Essential Oil around cats. Not only is usually safe to use around cats, it also contains properties that kill adult fleas. For users, it provides a calming and grounding experience. According to Cornell University, Cedarwood is eligible for minimum risk pesticide use.

Rosemary: According to ASPCA, Rosemary Essential Oil (specifically Rosmarinus officinalis) is safe to use around pets in general. Like Cedarwood, it has also been used to kill fleas, which provides multiple benefits for both you and your cat. According to one study, cats treated with Rosemary infused shampoo treatments were “well tolerated and adverse effects were not recorded.” Although, we do not recommend applying any essential oil directly onto your cat.      

Lavender: The reviews are mixed regarding whether Lavender Essential Oil is safe to use around cats or not. This will, again, come down to your cat. Moderation and observation are critical parts of using essential oils around cats. However, many users have noted that their cats seem curious about the smell and do not show any signs of toxicity.  

WARNING: There’s a huge difference between True Lavender and Lavandin. While many companies may market Lavandin products as Lavender, be sure to take a look at the scientific name. It should say “Lavandula angustifolia.” Otherwise, it is most likely synthetic Lavender or Lavandin, which is too high in camphor for cats. 

Click here to read more about Lavender vs Lavandin, it’s a very common mistake!

Frankincense: This essential oil is claimed by some websites to be toxic to cats if ingested or applied. Just as a reminder, only diffuse the essential oils on this list, and pay close attention to your cat as you diffuse. Many essential oil users love to diffuse Frankincense Essential Oil to help reduce stress and improve sleep.

Clary Sage: Not only is Sage deemed non-toxic for cats by ASPCA, there is also plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests it is an excellent oil to help keep you and your cats calm. Many people use Clary Sage Essential Oil to relax, rejuvenate, and balance their moods. Diffuse this fantastic oil is a great way to enjoy yourself without negatively affecting your cat. 

cute dog inside home


Your dog’s sense of smell is completely ridiculous. It’s important to understand that essential oils can have a stronger impact on them than on human beings. 

Click here to read about dogs’ sense of smell.

Cedarwood – Goodbye, Fleas

Cedarwood Essential Oil has a woody, earthy scent. It is commonly diffused by dog owners to provide a calming and grounding aroma, which can also act as a natural pesticide and insect repellent. It is said to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, which may provide benefits to both you and your dog. Some claim it can act as an expectorant for dogs dealing with kennel cough, but the research is inconclusive.

Lavender – Hello, Tranquility

Lavender Essential Oil has a calming, floral scent. It can provide some dogs with the same relaxing qualities that it provides humans. When I put Lavender in the diffuser, Trick still moves around freely but seems less anxious. I prefer to add 4 drops of Lavender to my Work Genie II since it’s a compact diffuser, and I only want to diffuse a little bit to avoid overwhelming Trick.

Lemongrass – Get Out, Mosquitos

Lemongrass Essential Oil has a remarkably cleansing and refreshing scent. It is commonly diffused to repel fleas and ticks, but there is also evidence suggesting it can help get rid of mosquitos. This is a win for you, your dog, and the whole family.

Frankincense – Stronger than Yesterday

Frankincense Essential Oil has a warm and earthy scent. The great thing about Frankincense Essential Oil is that it is less potent than many others essential oils. It is often used to help relieve stress, improve sleep, and reduce aging spots. However, diffusing it in your home can also help to improve immunity for both you and your dog.

Lemon – Hit the Refresh Button

Some dogs are allergic to citrusy oils, so as usual, be sure to keep a close eye on your dog after diffusing Lemon Essential Oil. This essential oil has a citrusy, fresh scent that can get rid of most undesirable odors. As long as your dog doesn’t have any citrus allergies, this is a great essential oil to diffuse around dogs.


Many people casually use essential oils around their pets without understanding the impact they could be having on them. It’s very useful to see a list like this for reference, but much more importantly, always discuss using essential oils around your pets with a veterinarian. 

Best Essential Oils to Diffuse Around Cats   Essential Oils Safe to Diffuse Around Dogs

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