We love our pets, especially dogs; 89.7 million pet dogs in the U.S. live with their owners at home. However, just because they’re man’s best friend it doesn’t mean that they benefit from the same things as us.
In fact, a number of things that are completely safe for us can be toxic for our canine companions, such as essential oils.
When it comes to essential oils, a common assumption is that they’re probably safe because they’re natural, after all. Nonetheless, veterinary experts say that these seemingly-therapeutic oils can be extremely toxic for dogs, especially when ingested or applied to fur.
Do Essential Oils Offer any Benefits?
Due to cats’ lack of metabolizing enzymes, they have a much lower tolerance for essential oils, but if used carefully, they can be beneficial for your dog. That is, there are still certain essential oils that can be very harmful to your dog, even if exposed to them through a diffuser.
Essential oils can soothe and calm dogs down for numerous situations that cause nervousness, like when they’re visiting the vet, scared of thunder, or feeling anxious.
What is Safe for Dogs?
For starters, certain essential oils are only safe as far as diffusing them is concerned; they should never be applied topically or ingested.
Oils like lavender, chamomile, and clary sage are safe for dogs when diffused, but others, such as clove, garlic, and tea tree are highly poisonous.
What about Lemon Essential Oil?
There’s no clear ruling on whether lemon essential oils are completely safe for dogs. While some sources state that citrus essential oils are highly toxic for dogs, others say that lemon essential oils can help stimulate immune functions and other benefits.
Citrus fruits include all the kinds that grow from a tree or plant of the ‘citrus’ genus from Rutaceae family. This includes many types of oranges, limes, and lemon, scientifically referred to as citrus lemon.
Due to essential oils’ high potency, they can irritate your dog’s skin when applied to their fur. For instance, even if a certain essential oil has skin soothing properties, it can have the opposite effect if used in high concentrations.
Using Lemon Essential Oils
Lemon essential oils can be useful to improve your dog’s health, but only at very low concentrations. Use a diluted version rather than a concentrated one. In addition, be careful to only use wholly natural essential oils made from organic ingredients. This is because pesticides are often used on citrus fruits.
Safe and Healthy Alternatives
Use Other Essential Oils
Lavender essential oil is the safest for dogs; it has a soothing effect on their mind, skin, anxiety and fungal infections. Just be careful not to apply it directly and lightly diffuse it throughout the day.
Similarly, chamomile and peppermint essential oils relieve stress, have anti-inflammatory effects, and energize your dog. They’re much better alternatives compared to lemon essential oils.
When trying a safe essential oil for your dog, be gentle and let them decide if they like a certain oil. Expose them to a new oil by opening the bottle and let them smell it from a distance of at least two feet.
If your dog likes it, they may lick their lips or try getting a better whiff. If your dog backs away from the bottle, doesn’t approach you for a long time after smelling it or becomes overly drowsy, wash your hands and don’t use the oil again.
Use Diffusers Responsibly
Don’t turn on a diffuser for long periods of time, no matter what essential oil you are using. If you want to use an oil like tea tree or clove, use a diffuser in a room where your dog doesn’t have access, and turn it off after a while.
Most importantly, keep essential oils out of the reach of your dog; they might unknowingly ingest some, which can lead to a number of health concerns.
If you want to learn more about how to use essential oils, check out our article: Essential Oils for Dogs: The Best and How to Use Them
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