Is Lavender Safe for Dogs? Benefits and Cautions

Published September 14, 2022
Lavender Natural Essential Oil

Lavender is an aromatic plant that is often used in food, medicine, and cosmetics. It's known for its calming properties and has been used for thousands of years. There have been some concerns about the safety of lavender for dogs, but most experts agree that it is safe to use it with caution and in moderation.

How Lavender Essential Oil Is Made

Lavender essential oil, widely used in perfumes and cosmetics, is derived from the flowers of lavender plants. Lavender plants are native to Europe, but they can be found all over the world today. Lavender flowers are typically harvested in the summer months when they're at their most fragrant and powerful. After they're picked, they're dried, crushed and made into an infusion with water. After going through a boiling and condensation process, the droplets are collected for extraction. Many people use it in aromatherapy, but wonder if lavender is safe for dogs.

Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil for Dogs

Lavender essential oil is extracted from the flower of the lavender plant and can be used in many different ways with both humans and animals alike. Generally lavendar oil is considered safe for dogs. It's known to help with nervousness, stress, anxiety, and pain relief, among other things, which makes it perfect for use on dogs who may be suffering from insect bites or other skin irritations due to allergies or other factors.

Calming Properties

If your dog is experiencing anxiety or stress, lavender essential oil can help. Lavender can be used to calm your dog before a storm or fireworks. Lavender can be used to help with separation anxiety and car rides.

You may want to try using the diffuser inside your home or vehicle during stressful times, such as on a stormy night when there is a thunderstorm brewing outside. This will allow them to breathe in the calming scent, which will help them relax and feel less anxious about something that has already begun happening in their environment, like an approaching storm.

Lavender can be used to help with depression as well as anxiety and stress. It is gentle enough for daily use on dogs and cats. You'll want to start off by using a small amount at first, in case your pet has an adverse reaction. If your pet has a reaction to the lavender oil, you should discontinue use immediately. You may also want to try another essential oil like vetiver or frankincense.

Soothing Itchy Skin

Lavender is the perfect way to soothe your dog's itchy skin. It's a natural anti-inflammatory, so you can help your dog feel better without any of the harmful side effects that other products might have.

If you've ever had an itchy rash, you know how frustrating it can be. For your dog, it's probably even worse; they can't reach their paws and scratch like we do! And while there are plenty of over-the-counter remedies for humans with rashes, there aren't many options for our furry friends.

This is where lavender comes in. Lavender has been used for centuries to treat everything from stomach aches to insomnia, so why not use it for something as simple as an itchy rash? All you have to do is rub some lavender oil, mixed with a carrier oil, onto your dog's skin and let it soak in. You should see a difference within a couple of hours - and if not, keep doing it until you do.

Use as an Insect Repellant

If your dog is suffering from insect bites, lavender essential oil can be safely used as an insect repellant.

To make a natural bug spray for your dog using lavender essential oil:

  • Mix 1/4 teaspoon of lavender essential oil with 1/2 cup of carrier oil (almond or coconut) to create a diluted solution.
  • Apply the mixture to your dog's collar or use it to spray on the air around them.
  • You can also mix 1/4 teaspoon of lavender essential oil with 1 cup of water and apply it to your dog's coat with a spray bottle.

Never Apply Directly to Your Dog's Skin

While lavender oil is generally considered safe for human use, it should never be applied directly to a dog's skin. This can cause irritation, redness, and swelling. To safely apply lavender essential oil, you can dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive before applying topically to their skin. Diluting the essential oil with a carrier provides an extra layer of protection against potential irritation or sensitization, which can occur when using pure essential oils directly on your dog's skin without first diluting them.

Glass bottle of coconut oil

Use Pure, Therapeutic-Grade Lavender for Your Pet

Be sure to use only pure, therapeutic-grade lavender essential oils, not products like perfume or extract that have other ingredients added to them. Lavender oil is generally considered safe when used topically in small quantities on dogs and cats. However, it's best to be cautious and avoid using any essential oils on your pet unless you know they're well tolerated by your pet - and the most important thing you can do is read the labels!

Essential oils are concentrated and can be dangerous if used incorrectly. As with any essential oil, it's important to use caution when applying lavender oil to your dog. While some research suggests that lavender is safe for dogs, it's best to avoid using the essential oil on very young dogs who may be more sensitive to its effects unless your holistic veterinarian recommends it.

Use Caution With Whole Flowers

Knowing if the lavender plant is safe for dogs is another concern pet owners may have. Although lavender essential oil can be incredibly beneficial, the whole flowers of the lavender plant can be dangerous if ingested in high quantities, which is why it falls on the ASPCA's toxic list. However, lavender flowers are safe for dogs to consume in moderation. They can be used as a garnish on your pet's food, or they can be added to their water bowl. It's important to note that not all lavender is created equal. Some varieties of lavender have more essential oils than others, and those essential oils are what cause the toxicity in some dogs. If you're growing lavender plants in your yard and want to give them to your dog, check with your holistic vet first. They will be able to tell you which varieties are safe for dogs and which ones aren't.

If you're looking to add lavender flowers to your dog's diet, make sure you buy organic ones from a trusted source. It's also important to note that your dog won't be able to digest the stems, so throw those away. If your dog ingests too much of the lavender plant, they may experience nausea, vomiting, or lack of appetite.

For Dogs With Allergies

If your dog has allergies or sensitivity, lavender oil may not be a good choice. Instead of applying it topically, try diffusing the oil in the air. This is a great option for calming dogs and humans alike because it has a calming effect on both parties. This can also help with any allergies that your dog might have by keeping their nasal passages clear and open to breathe easier.

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Is Lavender Safe for Dogs? Benefits and Cautions