Essential Oils & Pets

If you’re an essential oil lover and you own a pet or two you’re probably hoping that you can use these precious gems on your fur babies. Good news, you can! However, it’s important to follow some guidelines and use common sense.

As you probably know essential oils are extremely potent (aka strong) to our human senses, and because dogs and cats have an even stronger sense of smell than we do it’s important to keep that in mind.

One of the most important things in using essential oils is to only use a pure and trusted essential oil. Many essential oils on the market today aren’t pure – they have fillers and other ingredients that can potentially be harmful. This is true for you and your pet. I personally use dōTERRA essential oils. They are rigorously tested for contaminants, toxins, adulterations, and fillers. You don’t have to take my word on that either do your research. dōTERRA is transparent with their 3-party testing and all the results can be found on the Source to You website (

Now that we’ve got a base and are using a pure essential oil from a trusted company let’s dive into some other things you should consider:  

Know Your Pet: The species, age, size, health, and mannerisms will all determine which essential oils to use and how to properly use them with the animals.

Read their Reaction: Introduce the Essential Oils to your pet first and read their reaction. If you notice that the animal shies away or avoids the oils, then that is a good indication that the specific oil is not for them. Never force an essential oil onto an animal, as this will create fear and lead to a negative experience.  

Aromatic Selection: Allow the animal to select which essential oil works best for them. Select three oils with similar benefits and allow the animal to sniff each bottle. Watch how the animal responds and engages with each. Their body language will indicate which essential oil they prefer.
Always Dilute: When applying the essential oils topically onto the animals you always need to dilute them with a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil. *Dilution suggestions below

Escape Route: Never trap an animal in a room and diffuse. Always provide an escape route for the animal to take a break from the aroma. If you notice that the animal leaves the room each time you turn on the diffuser with a certain oil then that is a good indication that the oil is not mixing well with them. You should always use a water-based diffuser, this will help to “dilute” the aroma, and use no more than 3-5 drops at a time.

Be Cautious: Use cation with animals that are pregnant, nursing, young, elderly, or on medication.  

Essential Oils to Avoid (based on specific situation)

Animals with bleeding disorders:
Birch Blue Tansy, Cassia, Fennel, Ginger, Oregano, and Wintergreen 

Animals prone to seizures: 
Basil, Camphor, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Rosemary, Wintergreen, and Clary Sage
Pregnant animals:
Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Marjoram, Peppermint, and Oregano
Lactating animals: 

Essential Oils to Avoid (based on species

Cats (Topically): Basil, Citrus, Cinnamon, Clove, Dill, Fennel, Tea Tree, Oregano, Peppermint, Thyme, Rosemary, Spearmint, and Wintergreen

Dogs (Topically): Birch, Tea Tree, and Wintergreen

Small Pocket Pets: Oregano, Cinnamon, Thyme, Clove, and Tea Tree

Birds: Use caution all around, avoid diffusing indoors

Large animals (equine): Use caution with “hot” oils (Oregano, Cinnamon, Clove, etc.)

Use This Instead of That

Use Geranium, Arborvitae, Myrrh or Cedarwood instead of Tea Tree (Melaleuca)

Use Copaiba, Frankincense, or dōTERRA AromaTouch® instead of Wintergreen 

Use dōTERRA On Guard®, Oregano, or Thyme instead of Cassia 

Method of Application - Benefits
Aromatic: (Must be water-based diffuser or applied to palms and let animal sniff hands.) Great for behavior management, emotional wellbeing, gentle and consistent dosing, respiratory health, and to purify the air.  

Topical: (Must dilute appropriately with a carrier oil.) Great for skin care, pain management, Immune Support, Bug Deterrent. *Paw animals - a great place to apply is the rear paw pads. 

Dilution Ratios 
Dogs and large animals (11lbs+): 1 to 4 drops of essential oil to 100 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil (1% to 4% dilution).

Small dogs (10lbs-), puppies or elderly animals: Stick to 1%-2%.  

Toy dog breeds & cats: 1/2 to 1 drop of essential oil to 100 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil (0.5% to 1%) 1 drop of EO to 200 drops of FCO = 0.5%. 

Pocket pets: 1 drop of EO to 200 drops of Fractionated Coconut Oil

Large birds (6lbs+): 1 drop of EO to 200-400 drops of FCO.  Apply to feet/talons
Age, size, health, and species should all be taken into account in your dilution. Small, young, elderly, or ill animals: use less and dilute more. 

Essential Oils by Body System 
Cardiovascular Support: Helichrysum, Cypress, Marjoram, Copaiba

Digestive Support: doTERRA DigestZen®, Ginger, Cardamom, Fennel, Coriander

Endocrine Support: Myrrh, Lemongrass, Geranium

Immune Support: Rosemary, Copaiba, doTERRA On Guard®, Melissa

Integumentary Support: Lavender, Frankincense, Myrrh, Helichrysum, Cedarwood, Geranium, Spikenard, Roman Chamomile, Melissa

Musculoskeletal Support: Frankincense, Copaiba, doTERRA AromaTouch®, Marjoram

Nervous System Support: Copaiba, Helichrysum, Turmeric, Sandalwood, doTERRA Balance®

Respiratory Support: doTERRA Breathe®, doTERRA On Guard®, Cardamom, Rosemary, Arborvitae

Urinary Tract Support: Copaiba, Lemongrass, Juniper Berry, doTERRA Zendocrine®

Top 8 Essential Oils for Animals

Lavender: Aids in calming of emotions, supports health skin function, aids in seasonal and environmental discomfort, manages the normal stress response.

Frankincense: Soothe occasional discomfort, aids in normal and healthy cell function, aids in healthy nerve function, supports healthy skin function, and aids the immune system.  

Lemongrass: Joint support, urinary tract support, aids immune function, pest deterrent.  

Cedarwood: Pest deterrent, aids healthy respiratory function, promoted healthy skin function, promotes emotional support. 

Copaiba: Soothes occasional discomfort, supports healthy heart function, powerful antioxidant, aids in healthy nerve function.  

dōTERRA DigestZen®: Supports normal gut function, balances parasites, supports food transition, soothes motion discomfort. 

Peppermint: Soothe sore muscles, freshen breath, boost energy or mood, support occasionally tummy troubles, and pest deterrent. 

dōTERRA On Guard®: Aides in healthy immune function, kennel and stable cleanser, supports normal respiratory function, and oral care.

If you're curious to learn more specifically about using essential oils with pets I suggest you seek out a holistic veterinarian. I'm fond of the Essential Oil Vet, Dr. Janet Roark. Like many of us, she started her personal journey with essential oils very skeptical. Once she had [human] success, she started researching and incorporating doTERRA essential oils into her practice. You can find her on social media or her website is


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