Top 5 Essential Oils for Dogs With Allergies

Should you use essential oils on your dog? Here are our recommendations.
By: Valerie Trumps
Dog in field of lavendar

If you’ve slathered on the flea and tick medication, but your pooch is still scratching, he might be dealing with allergies. Here are five essential oils that can help alleviate your pup’s itching.

The Skinny on Dog Skin

Skin is the largest organ of the body (animals included) and has the most surface area for developing issues like allergies. A dog’s fur covering can make itching worse, since as Dr. Jennifer Coates, veterinary advisor for Ask petMD says, “Irritants can become trapped in and under all that hair,” making them difficult if not impossible to shake off. And scratching can make the condition worse by disrupting the body’s protective layer, sometimes to the point of infection.

Use Only Quality Oils

To avoid hurting your dog rather than helping, make sure you use only therapeutic-grade essential oils (not perfume quality or aromatherapy grade). Any other form may contain solvents and other chemicals, which can make your dog’s problem worse. Although the lower price of inferior quality oils may be tempting, they can actually harm your pet, for example by damaging his liver. The flip side to investing in high-grade essential oils? One bottle should last a long time.

Dilute Oils for Safety

Since the strength of essential oils is based on the human body, which is roughly equal to about a 150-pound dog, restraint and dilution are required to ensure your dog’s safety. Dr. Coates says that it is very important to “always mix essential oils with a base such as cold-pressed olive oil.” For canine use, dilute at a ratio of one drop essential oil to 10 drops base oil for large to medium pooches, or one drop of essential oil to 25 drops base oil for small dogs. Never mix an essential oil with water. Thorough integration is impossible, since, as the old adage goes, “oil and water don’t mix.”

Best Essential Oils for Dogs

Dr. Coates explains that “a veterinary visit is necessary to diagnose the cause of a dog’s itching,” but once a pet has been diagnosed with a skin allergy home remedies can offer your pup some relief. Try these dog-safe essential oils to soothe his irritation:

Lavender

If you only have one essential oil in your home, this is the one to have. Lavender is a full-spectrum oil—antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, anti-anxiety, pretty much anti-everything except for anti-healing. When your furry friend is itchy and you want to make him feel better, rub some diluted lavender oil on the spot he’s scratching.

Niaouli

This substitute for tea tree oil, which according to Dr. Coates can be toxic to dogs at high concentrations, has the same antihistamine and antibacterial properties. If your pup’s skin issues are caused by allergies complicated by a secondary skin infection, niaouli will attack both problems at once. Use it on bacterial ear infections and watch them disappear.

Sweet Marjoram

Out of the different types of marjoram, this particular variety is the one to use. Besides strong antibacterial properties, sweet marjoram is also a calming agent and muscle relaxant. This essential oil is known for healing bacterial skin infections and can also be used for wound care.

Helichrysum

This oil is great for treating eczema in people and can also be used for similar itchy skin conditions in dogs. Helichrysum also provides pain relief with anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Scars and bruises may heal faster due to its regenerative effects.

Chamomile

Originally from Europe, this flower is most often turned into a calming tea for humans. The oil’s uses for canines include soothing skin irritations, allergic reactions, and burns. Dilute chamomile oil is non-toxic, gentle and safe to use.

Stock your canine first aid kit with these diluted oils and you’ll say sayonara to scratching.