Pet-Safe Essential Oils

Updated: August 29, 2023

You're in good company if you’ve ever wondered, “Are essential oils safe for pets?”. In recent years, these plant-derived oils have grown in popularity because of their use in aromatherapy, integrative medicine, and more. With essential oil usage increasing, it's important to understand which are pet-safe essential oils and how to safely use them.

Understanding Essential Oils

Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts derived from various plants, which contain distinctive aromatic properties. These oils are typically utilized for their medicinal benefits in humans. However, pets have diverse sensitivities and physiological systems, which may respond differently to these oils.

When used correctly, and in moderation, some essential oils may be helpful for pets. Regardless, caution and vigilance must be exercised to ensure the well-being of our furbabies.

"When used correctly, and in moderation, some essential oils may be helpful for pets. Regardless, caution and vigilance must be exercised to ensure the well-being of our furbabies."

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts gathered by distilling, compressing, or chemically extracting the oils that give a plant its distinctive scent.

There are many uses for essential oils. Some uses include herbal treatments, room fresheners, perfumes, flavorings, potpourri and more.

But are essential oils safe for dogs and cats?

Be cautious with essential oils and pets, as they can be harmful if ingested, inhaled, or applied topically.

Essential oils are lipophilic. This means the skin and mucous membranes absorb them before carrying them into the bloodstream. Most humans are able to metabolize the essential oils and eliminate them through the liver. However, for to our furbabies this may not be the case.

Humans may experience health-related benefits from essential oils, but we must be cautious using these oils around our pets. Cats, for instance, lack an enzyme in the liver that helps break down essential oils. In fact, essential oils exposure could lead to damaging consequences in pets. Anything from corrosive burns to the gastrointestinal tract if ingested, to respiratory distress or even liver failure.

Are Essential Oils Safe for Pets?

While there are some pet-safe essential oils, many can be harmful or upsetting to their sensitive systems. Dogs and cats have a keener sense of smell, which makes them more vulnerable to the potency of essential oils.

Pets lack the enzymes needed to digest essential oils, so it is important to never let them consume these oils. Instead, diffuse essential oils in a well-ventilated area where pets can leave if they find the scent too strong.

Pet-Safe Essential Oils

Here is a checklist of pet-safe essential oils safe for dogs and cats that can be used around them, provided they are used in moderation and with adequate precautions:

Lavender: There is a lot of contradicting information concerning whether lavender is one of the pet-safe essential oils, despite being one of the most well-liked products on the market. But the answer to this one comes down to concentration, as stated by SafeWise.

While there are compounds in lavender essential oils toxic to pets, when it is properly diluted, it can be safe in small amounts. When diffused, lavender can help soothe pets during times of stress or anxiety. It is commonly used to ease a furbaby’s separation anxiety, foster relaxation, and soothe minor skin irritations.

Chamomile: We advise utilizing products made specifically for pets and consulting with your veterinarian before using essential oils, particularly for your pet. However, chamomile oil is often regarded as harmless when it comes to diffusing this in your house. Chamomile is a gentle essential oil that has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to ease skin irritations, such as itching and hot spots.

Frankincense: Frankincense has such a long history, and can be found on the list of pet-safe essential oils. Frankincense oil targets the cells' well-being and defense mechanisms.

You might want to think about giving your furbaby a little frankincense to boost their immunity if they appear to be sick. If a small amount of stress is producing an upset stomach, it can also benefit their digestive systems. With its immune-boosting properties, frankincense can help support overall wellness in pets.

Cedarwood: Cedarwood is not only incredibly soothing and calming, but it also works wonders as an insect repellant for pets.

According to research, cedarwood not only keeps ticks away but also actively destroys them. A different cedarwood, Juniperus virginiana, was examined and was shown to completely repel ticks. Cedrol, one of the key compounds that distinguish an oil as being cedarwood, was discovered to be the active ingredient. To put it another way, all cedarwood oils would deter ticks, but the degree to which they did depended on the proportional quantity of cedrol present in the oil. Continuous usage of the cedarwood oil is safe for your pets as long as you maintain modest low dilutions.

Orange: Orange essential oil is not toxic for your dog unless they are ingesting it. The orange essential oil is not only an excellent insect repellent but also extremely useful in deodorizing odors.

Essential oils for dogs to avoid:

  • Anise
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Juniper
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint oil
  • Pine
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree oil
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

Essential oils toxic to cats:

  • Bergamot
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Oregano
  • Pennyroyal
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sweet birch
  • Tea tree oil
  • Thyme
  • Wintergreen
  • Ylang ylang

This is not an exhaustive list, and not all pets will fit within it. Similar to people, each furbaby is unique and will react differently. Nevertheless, you might find it useful to include this list in your pet's first aid bag.

Precautions and Guidelines

When using essential oils around pets, it is crucial to follow these precautions:

  • Always consult with a veterinarian before using any essential oils on or around your pet, especially if your pet has pre-existing health conditions.
  • Before using essential oils directly on pets, remember to thoroughly dilute them. The dilution ratio must be considerably less than that applied to people.
  • Use products or essential oil blends made especially for pets since they have been thoroughly tested and formulated to assure safety.
  • Keep an eye on your pet's responses and stop using the product if any negative reactions such as excessive drooling, vomiting, or respiratory distress appear.
  • Continuously diffusing essential oils in small places should be avoided as it can be overpowering for furbabies. Provide them a place to hide if necessary.
  • For essential oil spills or for when you applied a little too much on your furbaby, use Pet WiPees™. These are premium cat and dog wipes that wipe away irritants, allergens, and yes, essential oils out of places and surfaces they should not be. These pet wipes are perfect for wiping your furbabies, removing any excess essential oils they should not lick off of themselves.
  • If your beloved furbaby enjoys cuddling up on their blankets or other belongings right after you have applied essential oils topically, it is recommended to promptly launder those items using a pet-friendly detergent, such as PetTergent®.

Pet Parents® Pet-Safe Scents™ and LickSafe™ Ingredients


PetTergent® contains vet-approved Pet-Safe Scents™. There are only five safe scents for cats and seven for dogs globally. Our fragrances have obtained the seal of approval from a panel of veterinarians, attesting to their safety and non-toxic nature for your precious furbabies.

Choose PetTergent® for a comprehensive and safe cleaning solution that addresses your pet's comfort and well-being, while effectively cleaning their cherished belongings. Keep your furbaby’s toys, blankets, beds, and accessories clean without the worry!

When dealing with essential oils, timely washing of accessories is crucial to eliminate any lingering residues. These oils can potentially leave behind traces on fabrics, which may result in stains or lingering odors. Furthermore, there exists a potential risk of your pet ingesting or licking some of the residues, underscoring the importance of a thorough cleaning regimen.

"Essential oils can potentially leave behind traces on fabrics, which may result in stains or lingering odors.It is advisable to wash those items promptly with a pet-friendly detergent like PetTergent®."

Pet Wipees™

When it comes to pet wipes, it’s important to know they won’t cause any irritation to your furbaby’s sensitive skin. That is why our Pet Wipees™ feature LickSafe™ ingredients. Our 99% bio-based formula is designed to be gentle on your furbaby's system if ingested during their regular grooming habits.

It also features FurFresh™ Deodorizer technology. This advanced formula breaks down and combats pet odors emanating from various potential odor-causing molecules that arise from day-to-day messes and skin issues. Say goodbye to unwanted pet odors as our detergent tackles them at the source, leaving your pet's belongings smelling fresh and clean.

Always use caution when applying pet-safe essential oils to yourself, or your pet. If over applied, use Pet Wipees™ to remove any excess essential oils they should not lick off of themselves. It is also important to monitor your furbaby’s response to any essential oils as not all pets may react the same.

While there are certain advantages that essential oils may provide for dogs, it is crucial to always use caution and put their safety first. Not all essential oils are safe and okay for pets, and improper use can have a negative impact on their health. Prior to introducing any new fragrances into your house, ensure you are using pet-safe essential oils.

When in doubt, always consult your vet who can advise you on how to properly provide essential oils to your pet, for a happier and healthier life.