Is Aromatherapy Safe For Pets?

The types of oils and herbs you can use on your pets will depend on the animal, but generally, you can use an assortment of essential oils to create aromatherapy shampoos, bath and massage oils which can cleanse and heal your pet

We all love to sink into a bath scented with our favourite essentials oils, especially after a long day at work, but can this same luxury be experienced by your pets?

Well, supposedly yes.

Britain’s Got Talent Star Pudsey (a dog who danced his way to fame with his owner) was recently treated to a spa day at Chateau Marmutt by Simon Cowell, where he made full use of their full body massages; teeth and ear cleaning services, pawicures (doggy manicures) and an aromatherapy grooming session.


What aromatherapy can pets have?

In this instance Pudsey was offered an aromatherapy session consisting of a bath, cut and nail trim where he was able to pick from (well, his owner was) the following natural shampoos: honeysuckles, citrus (a natural flea repellent), oatmeal (for dry skin) or medicated (ideal for treating hot spots and allergies).

Admittedly this treatment cost $150, but as you can see, aromatherapy can be enjoyed by all – even your pets!

What aromatherapy is safe for pets?

The types of oils and herbs you can use on your pets will depend on the animal, but generally, you can use an assortment of essential oils to create shampoos, bath and massage oils which can cleanse and heal your pet.

To get you started, here is a list of essential oils to avoid when creating your aromatherapy concoctions:

  • All animals      – Anise, Birch, Bitter Almond,      Boldo, Calamus, Camphor, Cassia, Chenopodium, Clove Leaf and Bud, Crested      Lavender, Garlic, Goosefoot, Horseradish, Hyssop, Juniper, Mugwort, Mustard,      Oregano, Pennyroyal, Thyme, Rue, Sanatalina, Sassafras, Savory, Tansy,      Terebinth, Thuja, Wintergreen, Wormwood and Yarrow.


Now, this is a general list of what to avoid with all animals.

When it comes to your household pets, I recommend avoiding essentials oils that are high in phenols and ketones as these are usually strongly scented (an animal’s sense of smell is 50-100 times stronger than ours) and often hard for them to break down (once in their system).

However, if you do still want to use them, you can as long as they are highly diluted (usually no stronger than 10%), as this will ensure they do not overpower your pets (i.e. always dilute stimulating oils such as Peppermint, Rosemary, Niaouli, Tea Tree, Spearmint, Ravensara and Eucalyptus).

More useful aromatherapy animal facts and information:


  • Do not use essential oils on medium to large breed puppies under 8 weeks old. For small breed puppies wait until they are at least 10 weeks old before you use essential oils.
  • Ensure you introduce essential oils to your pet in a positive environment. First let your pet smell it and wait for signs of acceptance i.e. wanting to lick the oils, rubbing against you. Once you are happy, you can then apply. If however, your pet turns their head away or starts panting, drooling, pacing, whining or sneezing, this means they don’t like the oils.
  • Oil blends work best on dogs, especially those who have been through a traumatic experience. Good blends to take note of are:      Frankincense can help with gum disease; Lemongrass is good for ligament and joint injuries; Lavender and a blend of Valerian, Vetiver, Petitgrain, Sweet Marjoram and Sweet Orange have been found to have a calming effect, relieving dogs of stress, and a blend of Peppermint, Cypress, Juniper Berry and Lavender is often used in arthritis cases to stop inflammation.
  • Cats do not have the necessary enzymes to break down certain compounds in essential oils. For this reason, avoid oils that contain phenols or ketones: Oregano, Thyme, Cinnamon, Clove, Savory, Birch, Tea Tree and Sage. Others to avoid when treating cats include lemon and pine oils (Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Lime, Bergamot, Pine, Spruce and any Fir oil).

Hopefully all of these facts and tips will act as a good starting point to offering your pet the healing properties of aromatherapy, but in a safe environment.

With the right oils and herbs you can help your pets to have more than a glossy coat, but experience relief from bites, arthritis and stress.

Ellie Oliver writes about Aromatherapy, Essentials Oils and other Natural Remedies. Being an animal lover and pet owner, Ellie researched the effect of aromatherapy products on her cuddly flat mates.