Doggy Day Spa: Essential Oils For Dogs

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Dog at the spaAhhh, eau de toilet is the scent of choice among canines everywhere. But, as an alternative to the real thing, are essential oils safe for dogs? Some but not all essential oils are safe for your pup. So it’s important to do you research before trying aromatherapy on your pup.

Some of the oils we discuss in this article can help with flea infestations, arthritis and more. Don’t worry about purchasing them all though. Depending on your dog, you may find that some make more sense for your pup’s unique spa experience and needs.

Essential Oils And What They Treat

Fleas | Allergies | Anxiety | Aromatherapy | Coconut Oil | Neem Oil | Tea Tree Oil

Fleas On Dogs

Fleas can be tricky to get rid of, but essential oils are great for keeping them away. There are a couple of different herbal solutions you can use to de-flea your dog. Two of the most common oils used are lavender and cedar oil for dogs.

Oils For Flea Collars

  • 3-5 drops of Cedar, Lavender, Lemongrass or Citronella Oil
  • 1-3 tablespoons of water
  • Bandana or your dog’s collar
  • Eyedropper

Dilute the oil in the water then apply 5-10 drops to the bandana or collar. Reapply the mixture to the collar/bandana once a week. Apply more often if the collar gets wet from rain or swimming.

More Natural Flea & Tick Prevention Recipes

Fleas Around The Tail

Dilute 1 or 2 drops of Cedar or Lavender Oil with at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil and place it at the base of your dog’s tail.

Flea Spray

  • 1 cup white distilled vinegar or 1 cup apple cider vinegar or a 50/50 blend of both
  • 1 quart fresh water
  • 2-3 drops of Cedar, Lemongrass or Lavender Oil
  • Spray bottle

Combine all ingredients in the spray bottle. Mist your dog with the spray, but be careful not to get it in their eyes, ears and nose (avoid the face in general). To get the area around their neck and behind their ears take a cloth and dampen it with the mixture and wipe it on. You can also spray your pets bedding with this mixture.

Dog Allergies

Skin is very sensitive on us humans and it’s also sensitive on dogs. So make sure you are using therapeutic grade essential oils on your dog’s skin (not aromatherapy grade or perfume quality). By using the wrong grade of oil you could be causing more harm than help.

You’ll also want to make sure you dilute the essential oil with something like cold pressed olive oil. The appropriate ratio for large to medium pups is 1 drop essential oil to 10 drops base oil or for small dogs it’s one drop essential oil to 25 drops base oil. Diluting the oil is important because the strength of essential oils are based on the human body which would equal a 100 pound dog.

Oils to use for your dog’s allergies (remember to dilute them!):

  • Chamomile – This oil can soothe skin irritations, allergic reactions and burns for dogs.
  • Helichrysum – Works well on skin conditions like eczema and irritations. It has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties and provides pain relief.
  • Lavender – Not sure what the problem is but you want to try to help your pooch? Rub some diluted lavender oil on the spot she is scratching.
  • Niaouli – This oil has antihistamine and antibacterial properties to help your dog’s skin issues from allergies.
  • Sweet Marjoram – This oil is great for healing bacterial skin infections and can also be used for wounds. It has strong antibacterial properties and has a calming agent as well as muscle relaxant.

Dog Anxiety

Lavender Oil

The number one talked about essential oil for dogs’ anxiety is lavender (it also works well for human anxiety). Lavender oil is very safe and gentle for dogs. It can be used to calm and soothe your dog by gently rubbing it into your dog’s ear fur and skin while giving it a nice massage. In addition, lavender oil for dogs has antibacterial and anti-itch agents. This is great if your dog has a skin irritation or needs first aid.


Studies are still underway, but early results indicate that CBD (the portion of the hemp plant that contains no THC) can reduce anxiety in pets and humans. It is a natural solution and to-date, no real side effects have been noted in trials.

Available as an oil that can be added to food or baked into dog treats, it is an easy solution to administer and one that we feel is worth trying. But, before you give it to your dog, be sure to check with your vet to make sure it is safe for your pet.

Learn More About CBD Oil

Coconut Oil

Editor’s Pick
Nature's Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut OilNature’s Way Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many benefits for dogs. Coconut oil aids in your dog’s digestion, improves their coat and can help prevent infection. Below is a more extensive list of the benefits of coconut oil for dogs.

  • Healthy skin and coat: clears up eczema, relieves itchy skin, minimizes dog odor, reduces allergic reactions, gives a shine to their coat, heals wounds and more
  • Improves digestion: helps with nutrient absorption, colitis and inflammatory bowl syndrome, reduces bad breath and helps with coughing
  • Considered a superfood: aids in weight loss, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-fungal, may be possible to prevent or control diabetes (check with your vet), increases energy level, prevents infections and diseases and more

Coconut oil can be rubbed into your dog’s fur or ingested. But be careful, introducing coconut oil into your dog’s diet takes time and you must start with small amounts. Talk to your vet about adding coconut oil to your dog’s diet to see if it is okay and how much to give them.

Learn More About Coconut Oil For Dogs

Neem Oil

Editor’s Pick
Organic Neem OilNaked Neem Organic Neem Oil

Neem oil is used to help dogs with ticks, intestinal parasites, mange mites and fleas. It can improve your dog’s immune system, coat, teeth and more. To help with these things, many pet parents use neem shampoo on their dogs.


If you decide to use pure neem oil you’ll want to know a few things.

If your dog has an open sore you should dilute the neem oil 1:10 in a light carrier oil like grape seed oil or almond oil. Then massage the solution into the skin. Feel free to apply it multiple times a day. If your dog has eczema or demodectic mange, dilute the neem oil 1:1.

It’s important that whenever you apply something onto your dog’s coat that you monitor the skin. If there is any type of reaction wash it off immediately. Also, should you choose to put pure neem oil on your dog’s skin you should leave it on for no more than 48 hours.

Tea Tree Oil

Recent reports state that tea tree oil may do more harm than good for your dog. If your veterinarian recommends tea tree oil proceed with caution and follow instructions precisely. However, if you feel uncomfortable with administering it to your dog you can always ask your vet for another course of treatment. Should you go forward with the treatment you’ll want to know that tea tree oil should never be given to your dog orally and it should always be diluted. You should never administer tea tree oil without the consent of your vet.

*Studies have shown that using tea tree oil for dogs and cats can be toxic. Tea tree oil is risky and it’s important that you understand its effects and potential risks.*

Aromatherapy For Dogs

There are many benefits to aromatherapy for dogs. Not only will many of the scents calm and soothe your pet, but it’s also a great bonding time for the two of you. Check out this video to see how this woman uses aromatherapy on her dog.

Want more pampering for your pup? Learn more about the benefits of dog massages to help with anxiety.

What’s your dog’s favorite essential oil?

About The Author:

Kimberly received her Bachelor of Arts in multimedia journalism from Simpson College. She has been writing about dogs since 2014, covering subjects such as dog insurance, training, health, accessories, and more. Her work has appeared in many notable brands, including The New York Times' Wirecutter, Reader's Digest, Forbes, People, Woman's World, and Huffington Post.

Kimberly's natural curiosity helps her research as she seeks the truth when learning about, comparing, and personally testing canine products and services. With every piece she writes, her goal is to help our readers find the best fit for their unique needs. Kimberly grew up in a family that loved Labrador Retrievers and remembers running and playing in the yard with them as a child.

In 2017, she and her husband adopted their Coonhound mix, Sally, from a local shelter. Kimberly’s research was put to good use since Sally faced some aggression issues with other dogs and needed some training to be an inside dog. She worked daily with Sally and sought help from professionals to help Sally become the happy pup she is today. One of Kimberly’s favorite pastimes is spoiling Sally with new toys, comfy beds, and yummy treats (she even makes homemade goodies for her). She tries to purchase the safest products for Sally and knows that each canine has their own specific likes and dislikes. Kimberly is passionate about dogs and knows the bond between humans and canines is like no other.

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Disclaimer: The information provided through this website should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or a disease. It is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should consult your health care provider.

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March 26, 2020 9:57 pm

I have a dog and just found out my fiancé is allergic and trying to see if we put lavender oil in her shampoo if it will help with the dander or what oil can I use for the dander

Lisa Casey
March 20, 2020 6:36 am

Hello there what would be the best oil to use for my old doggies arthritis and pain? Actually any natural remedy that you recommend to help him would be great! Thanks so much. I loved this article.

Apiffany Gaither Billings
March 20, 2020 2:29 pm
Reply to  Lisa Casey

Hi, Lisa. CBD oil and CBD treats can be effective in helping dogs with arthritis and pain.

January 23, 2020 12:02 am

Any recommendations on the best way to apply the oils for dry skin around the ears, neck, and face? I’ve tried Adding oils to coconut oil and he just doesn’t like it. Maybe a spray??

Michelle Schenker
January 23, 2020 5:14 pm
Reply to  Zoe

We would not recommend a spray because it could accidentally get into the eyes or mouth, which would not be advisable. If coconut oil did not work well for your pup, maybe try olive oil? My dog loves to eat coconut oil so using that on her skin never works well because she licks it all off! So, I use olive oil instead and she leaves it on to work its magic.

It is also possible that it is not the carrier oil that is causing you problems – it may be that your dog is not used to the smell of the essential oil you are using. Try diffusing it in the air or even just waving the open bottle in front of his nose a few times over a couple of days to get him used to it before you apply it. My dog now loves the smell of lavender and comes running when I open the bottle, but it took about a week of light exposure to it before she would let me get to close to her with it.

November 25, 2019 10:45 pm

Hi, trying to find a reputable resource to determine if Tangerine and Ylang Ylang are safe for dogs. I find some articles that say yes and others that say no. Can anyone help?

December 3, 2019 11:11 am
Reply to  sheri

NO ylang n anything citrus isn’t good for dogs. I’ve been doing EO for years. Cats are more sensitive than dogs. So be careful if you have a cat roaming the house n breathing in the diffuser. Example peppermint is good for dogs but not cats…

August 25, 2019 10:27 pm

My dog has severe skin irritation/allergies and I’m looking g for an essential oil recipe if anyone knows of o e.

Constance M Goodwin
August 24, 2019 7:52 pm

How can tell the difference between itching for fleas/ticks and for allergies/dry skin????

October 8, 2019 6:40 pm

Well, if they have fleas or ticks, you’ll be able to see the bugs. If not and they have dry, scaly, or flaky skin, then that’s a skin issue. Pretty straight forward.

May 20, 2019 9:58 am

Coconut oil,and vitamin E oil

February 23, 2019 4:57 pm

How many times should I use the spray bottle mixed with the essential oils to treat fleas? Once a week?

Barbara Steadman
November 16, 2018 4:25 am

Can you use diluted lavendar oil on a 6 week old puppy that has fleas?

September 29, 2018 12:04 am

Doterra essential oil is steam distilled and therefore is ensured to be 100% pure. Their oil is tested several times and quality reports are available on each lot. Essential oils are not all created equally so choose wisely. Good luck.

July 1, 2018 6:02 am

There is no wrong grade of essential oil because there are no grades at all! There’re only pure and high-quality essential oils or low-quality oils and synthetic fragrances!

Ivy Baker
May 21, 2018 10:30 pm

My grandmother really loves her dog and I think she would love to know that essential oils can be great for dogs too. It is cool that coconut oil can help a dogs skin with eczema. I wonder if there is a doggy spa she can take her dog to so it can get coconut oil treatments.

sergio trevino
November 23, 2017 6:55 pm

does anybody have a good recommendation of a reputable online store or a brand that sells essential oils? i tried N essential, based in Australia good products but they wanted to charge me 45.00 in shipping.

Dee Hill
February 26, 2019 12:36 pm
Reply to  sergio trevino

I work for doTERRA and can safely say our oils work wonders on fur babies

September 9, 2018 1:45 pm
Reply to  sergio trevino

Young Living oils. They have pet line also.

Delana Delameter
September 5, 2018 11:36 am
Reply to  sergio trevino

Sergio I use Young Living Essential Oils because they have many farms that grow the plants. They extract the oils and monitor the way they are made. They are also one of the top companies.

sergio trevino
November 27, 2017 4:39 pm
Reply to  Kimberly Alt

thanks so much kimberly. this is exactly the information i was looking for, thanks again, really appreciate it

November 11, 2017 11:18 am

When using the essential oils for dogs allergies do you use it topically or orally? There aren’t any instructions on how it is to be used.

July 25, 2016 3:49 pm

This post has been immensely helpful. I have also found that Eucalyptus, citronella and peppermint oil (not Tea Tree) can be a great combination for dogs with dry bacterial affected skin or hot spots. I used 100 pure Aloe Vera gel as the base (1 cup) and added 5 drops of each essential oil listed above, (mix well and use gloves) then applied to the affected areas only. Massage in really well. Then I left it on for three days, followed by using your shampoo formula to give him bath and it cleared up his sore spots while removing the dry dander. I am going to keep using the Aloe between baths since it doesn’t make a mess on carpet or furniture like other oily moisturizers. Our dog is a 98 lb. golden retriever.

Lisa Gentry
June 17, 2016 4:44 pm

Thank you for this post! I have spent hours reading through pins for flea treatments and many of them just weren’t helpful. The pins often contradict each other or were not practical. We just rescued our 4th dog and he has fleas. Since we are sure that his immune system is weak at the moment, we don’t want to use harsh chemicals on him. This pin of yours has lots of good information that will help our dogs.