What Essential Oils Are Bad for Dogs to Inhale?

Can dogs eat it

The Can Dogs Eat It Team

What Essential Oils Are Bad for Dogs to Inhale?
Reading Time: 6 minutes

joana garridoReviewed By Joana Garrido DVM

What essential oils are harmful to dogs to inhale? Several essential oils, such as wintergreen, pine, and birch, are bad to diffuse around dogs.

If inhaled, canines cannot properly metabolize their chemical compounds, which can cause dangerous side effects like lethal poisoning.

We have listed down the 10 most popular essential oils to avoid using for aromatherapy for dogs and the dangers they pose to them:

1. Is eucalyptus essential oil safe for dogs?

eucalyptus essential oil for dogs

There is no definitive answer to this question. According to experts, topical application of eucalyptus essential oil can cause poisoning in dogs. However, the possible side effects of inhaling it are rarely discussed.

Generally, inhalation of eucalyptus essential oil may cause respiratory irritation, which can worsen preexisting breathing problems. Due to limited studies, it would be safer to avoid diffusing it around your dog.

2. Is orange essential oil safe for dogs?

orange essential oil for dogsThere are conflicting claims about the toxicity risk of orange essential oil for dogs. Proponents believe that diffusing it around canines is safe when properly diluted. It is said to offer good health benefits such as improving appetite.

Critics warn that citrus essential oils like orange carry poisonous compounds like linalool and d-limonene.

Ingesting these chemicals may lead to severe liver damage or fatal liver failure. However, the dangers of inhaling this type of essential oil are not given focus.

Due to the lack of information surrounding orange essential oil, use it in aromatherapy for dogs with extreme caution. Get proper advice from trustworthy holistic veterinarians before diffusing it.

3. Is lemon essential oil safe for dogs?

lemon essential oil for dogs

The answer you are looking for is not straightforward. Lemon belongs to the citrus family. Similar to orange essential oil, there is insufficient information about the adverse reactions dogs might suffer if they inhale lemon essential oil.

Just keep in mind that improper diffusion of citrus essential oils can potentially elicit breathing problems. Thus, we advise diffusing it around your dog only after consulting a reputable holistic veterinarian.

4. Is pine oil safe for dogs?

pine oil for dogs

No, pine oil is one of the essential oils that are bad for dogs. Aside from topical and oral exposure, inhalation will lead to poisoning. It destroys the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver of your canine companion.

Note that pine oil is not only used for aromatherapy. Many regular household products such as air fresheners, disinfectants, and floor cleaners use it as their main ingredient.

5. Is peppermint essential oil safe for dogs?

peppermint oil for dogs

No, we do not recommend diffusing peppermint essential oil for dog aromatherapy. While it is said to be beneficial for relieving motion sickness, this is only an unsubstantiated claim.

Inhaling peppermint essential oil is more likely to induce toxicity in canines. Avoid using it on your furry pal since its health benefits are yet to be definitively proven and are outweighed by its dangers.

6. Is ylang-ylang essential oil safe for dogs?

ylang ylang oil for dogs

No. Some dog owners use ylang-ylang essential oil for canine aromatherapy to help pooches calm down and relax. However, the toxic danger it presents nullifies its health benefits.

Ylang-ylang essential oil is all-around poisonous to dogs. While its harmful compounds are not determined, its dangerous side effects are well-documented.

Ingestion, inhalation, and skin exposure to ylang-ylang essential oil may trigger digestive issues such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other symptoms to look out for are lack of energy, weakness, unstable gait, and breathing issues.

7. Is tea tree essential oil safe for dogs?

tea tree oil for dogs

No, diffusing tea tree essential oil with your dog around puts him in danger of poisoning. Studies have shown that it wreaks havoc on the canine central nervous system, inducing neurological side effects.

Symptoms like depression, tremors, and lack of coordination may appear. Lack of timely treatment increases the risk of complications, particularly liver or kidney failure.

8. Is wintergreen essential oil safe for dogs?

wintergreen essential oil for dogs

No, wintergreen essential oil is very toxic to dogs. It has high concentrations of methyl salicylate, which is a compound used to create aspirin. Inhalation may lead to aspirin toxicity, which is often characterized by gastrointestinal upset in dogs.

Severe cases of poisoning will eventually affect their central nervous system function, causing seizures and coma. Liver and kidney failure may also take place.

Pet parents should also note that wintergreen essential oil is an ingredient commonly used in certain products, such as mint-scented candles.

9. Is birch essential oil safe for dogs?

birch essential oil for dogs

Birch is one of the essential oils for dogs with grave toxic dangers. Dog owners are discouraged from using it for canine aromatherapy. Just like wintergreen, birch essential oil contains significant amounts of methyl salicylate.

Breathing it in triggers stomach problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. Neural disorders and organ failure will occur if the poisoning reaches critical levels.

10. Is bitter almond essential oil safe for dogs?

bitter almond oil for dogs

No. If dogs inhale a bitter almond essential oil, toxicity is the possible outcome. Raw bitter almonds naturally produce a chemical called amygdalin. When ingested, it gets converted into a deadly poison called cyanide.

Although the extracting process removes significant quantities of the toxin, trace amounts will remain in the essential oil. For this reason, do not diffuse bitter almond essential oil when your dog is around.

essential oils and dogs infographic

Symptoms of Diffused Essential Oil Poisoning in Dogs

Toxic essential oils for dogs can have different effects on each canine when diffused. However, some of the most common clinical signs that may appear are:

  • Lethargy
  • Incessant coughing or sneezing
  • Watery eyes or nose
  • Hypersalivation
  • Reddened lips and gums
  • Tremors
  • Uncoordinated body movements
  • Slow heart rate

If your dog exhibits these symptoms, gather important information relating to the cause of toxicity. This includes the essential oil concentration of the product, the amount inhaled, the weight of your dog, and the time of the accident.

Once you have noted all of these details, contact your veterinarian for advice. Your dog may need to be hospitalized depending on the severity of the poisoning. It is best not to delay treatment to improve his chances of surviving and making a full recovery.

Preventing Essential Oil Poisoning in Dogs

a dog sitting next to several essential oils

Avoiding diffusing toxic essential oils for dogs is the first preventative step. However, even essential oils considered to be safe for pooches can cause harm if used without a degree of caution.

Here are some important pointers to remember for safe aromatherapy sessions with dogs:

  1. Do not diffuse essential oils around dogs with asthma and other respiratory issues unless directed by the vet.
  2. Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and prolonged inhalation of essential oils can be overwhelming. So keep the door open every aromatherapy session.
  3. Diffusing essential oils around dogs should be limited to 10 minutes. Follow it up with a 30-minute break to prevent them from inhaling excessive quantities of essential oil, which can irritate their lungs.
  4. Crack open the windows after each aromatherapy session. This will help clear out the essential oil’s scent by letting in the fresh air.
  5. Some aromatherapy essential oils are toxic when used internally or topically. Ingesting or applying them to the skin may cause conditions like rashes, blisters, and poisoning.
  6. Do not diffuse essential oils where your dog often hangs out. Diffusers may emit tiny essential oil droplets that can contaminate his food and water bowls or bedding.
  7. Wash your hands after handling essential oils for dogs. Remnants of the concentrated or diluted oil might stick to them, which your dog may accidentally lick off.