Top 20 Essential Oils for Dogs

The following essential oils are recommended by canine aromatherapist Kristen Leigh Bell.


[Updated July 16, 2018]

1. Carrot Seed (Daucus carota). Skin care, first aid, healing, scarring, skin conditions. Super gentle.

2. Cedarwood, Atlas (Cedrus atlantica). Improves circulation, helps deter fleas. Skin care.

3. Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita). Also called blue chamomile. Skin-soothing anti-inflammatory. Burns, allergic reactions, skin irritations.

4. Chamomile, Roman (Anthemis nobilis). Intensely calming and antispasmodic. Wound care, teething pain.

5. Clary sage (Salvia sclarea). Different from common garden sage. Gentle, sedating, calming.

6. Eucalyptus radiata (Eucalyptus radiata). The gentlest, best tolerated, most versatile eucalyptus (there are many). Anti-inflammatory, antiviral, expectorant. Diffuse as room air cleaner, deodorizer, flea repellent.

7. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens). Tonic, antifungal. For skin ailments, yeast overgrowth, fungal ear infections. Ticks dislike all rose fragrances, including this one.

8. Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Fresh, warm, spicy (don’t settle for ginger that smells stale, musty, or rank). Motion sickness, indigestion (see Peppermint), useful in massage oils for sprains, strains, dysplasia, arthritis.

9. Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum). Horrible smelling, incredibly effective essential oil (some people and dogs do like it). Also called Immortelle or Everlasting. Heals skin conditions, cuts, abrasions, wounds, injuries. Relieves pain.

10. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Used by the makers of pet aromatherapy products more than any other essential oil. Gentle, antibacterial, antipruritic (anti-itch), stimulates rapid healing, acts as a central nervous system sedative, very relaxing, deodorizing.

11. Mandarin, Green (Citrus reticulata). The sweetest essential oil, very relaxing. For fear, anxiety, stress. Avoid red mandarin, which is not the same, and use only organic green mandarin. This is not a distilled oil but is pressed from the rind of the fruit.

12. Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum marjorana). Pleasing, smooth herbal fragrance, calming, antispasmodic effects, strongly antibacterial. A recommended replacement for tea tree oil in blends for pets. Bacterial skin infections, wound care. Repels insects. Reduces undesirable behaviors of intact males.

13. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha). Ancient resin with deep, warm, earthy fragrance. Anti-inflammatory, antiviral. Puppy teething pain, irritated skin. Boosts immune system. Opoponax myrrh (Commiphora erythraea) has similar properties and repels ticks.

14. Orange, Sweet (Citrus sinensis). Popular, uplifting, pleasant. Calms, deodorizes, repels fleas, treats skin conditions. Use organic sweet orange oil to avoid pesticide residues. Pressed, not distilled.

15. Peppermint (Mentha piperita). Digestive aid; stimulates circulation for injuries, sprains, strains, arthritis, dysplasia. Insect repellent. Relieves pain and itching. To prevent nausea and motion sickness, mix one tablespoon vegetable oil, seven drops ginger, and eight drops peppermint; give three drops orally.

16. Ravensare aromatica (Cinnamonum camphora). Gentle, antiviral, antibacterial.

17. Rose (Rosa damascena). Expensive, wonderful, makes any shampoo, spray, or grooming product luxurious. Stabilizes central nervous system. Calming. Add one to two drops to blends for itchy, irritated, or dry skin.

18. Thyme linalol (Thyme vulgaris, chemotype linalol). Common garden thyme has six known chemotypes, or chemical profiles. Thyme linalol is the most gentle and useful. Relaxing, antibacterial, antifungal without the harsh skin irritation associated with common thyme. Balancing tonic.

19. Thyme thujanol (Thyme vulgaris, chemotype thujanol). Like thyme linalol plus immune system stimulant, liver detoxifier, antiviral. Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD, founder of the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, recommends applying thyme thujanol immediately after a tick or tick bite is discovered in order to help prevent Lyme disease. For immune-boosting blends or when a powerful antibacterial is needed without caustic, skin-irritating effects.

20. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Relaxing, helpful for separation anxiety or fear of loud noises, storms, fireworks, new situations.


When she manufactured pet products, Bell’s best-seller was Calm Dog Mist. To make it yourself, place one teaspoon vegetable glycerin, one tablespoon grain alcohol or vodka, one teaspoon sulfated castor oil, and 10 drops grapefruit seed extract in an 8-ounce cobalt blue, green, or opaque spritzer bottle. Add three drops valerian, two drops vetiver, four drops petitgrain, three drops sweet marjoram, and two drops sweet orange essential oil. Add seven ounces spring or distilled water (fill to top).

If desired, add several drops of flower essences such as Rescue Remedy or gemstone essences such as rose quartz. Shake well before using. Calm Dog Mist can be spritzed into your hands and massaged into the dog’s neck and chest, sprayed on bedding, or misted into the air.


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