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Homemade Remedies For Pets Using Essential Oils

Last week I appeared on a local talk show and shared ideas for beauty products that come from your kitchen cupboard! I also shared that I have launched my very own line of affordable and high quality essential oils (Essentials by Jillee) that I am SO excited about I can hardly stand it! Now I can indulge in my love of essential oils as much as I want because I’m not afraid of running out. I’m also learning so much more about all the different ways essential oils can be used….far beyond anything I had imagined.

For example, after the show was over I was chatting with the floor director of the show about essential oils and she said that she even uses them on her dog! Really? This was honestly the first time I’d heard of using them on or four-legged friends. She said that last year on the Fourth of July she decided to rub some lavender on her dog’s ears and head before the fireworks started because the “sounds of freedom” usually made her dog go crazy! Apparently the difference was pretty remarkable. Instead of running around like his tail was on fire…she said he was MUCH calmer and endured the whole ordeal without a pet freak-out. Amazing.

Essential Oils by Jillee

The next day I did a blog post about Essentials by Jillee essential oils and how excited I am to finally be able to offer high quality oils, for a price that makes them accessible to more people. Many of you commented that you were excited to finally be able to afford to give essential oils a try and some of you actually asked about using them on pets. Makes sense….they ARE part of the family after all! :-)

Well, I didn’t really have a whole lot of answers at the time…but since then I have been doing a fair amount of research on this topic and have come up with a handful of pet remedies using essential oils that I think those of you with pets will be interested in.

homemade remedies for pets

Essential Oil Remedies for Your Pets

Homemade Flea Repellant Spray

Mix 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil with 1-2 ounces of mild, organic soap and water. Pour into a spray bottle and spray your pet periodically throughout the day.

Essential oil formulations will need to be applied more frequently than synthetic pesticides, but the benefits far outweigh the exposure to harsh chemicals and toxic side effects. They are great for misting your dog’s legs (and your own) any time that you go out where fleas would be likely to be found.

homemade remedies for pets

Shampoo

(If you don’t have all the oils listed, don’t worry, just use what you have.) Combine in a jar. Shake well. Lather and rinse well.

For a “soothing” version, add replace 2 ounces of the water with 2 ounces aloe vera.

homemade remedies for pets

Collar

Option 1: Make your own flea collar by taking an average collar and adding some drops of essential oil mixed with 2 tablespoons of almond oil (use dilute solutions when applying to cats as they can be very sensitive to essential oils). Some great flea-repelling essential oil options include cinnamon, rosemary, wormwood, clove, peppermint, and cedar wood.

Allow the collar to dry and then place it on your pet. It’s time to re-dose your pet’s collar when you no longer note the scent, generally every two weeks or so.

Option 2: Buy a cotton scarf or bandana, or use a piece of scrap cotton fabric that will fit around your dog’s neck comfortably.

Lay the fabric flat, and place 10 drops of cedar essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil on the fabric. Distribute the essential oil drops evenly over the fabric surface. Other essential oils that repel fleas (and ticks and mosquitoes) include eucalyptus, citronella, rose, geranium, peppermint, lemongrass.

Fold or roll the fabric, and tie it round your dog’s neck snugly.

homemade remedies for pets

Ear Infection Inflammation

Apply Peppermint essential oil along the ear line, on the outside of the ear (never internally, because it would burn the tender ear canal), applied over the fur down the tube of the ear from the outside.

homemade remedies for pets

Soothing Dogs Paw Pads

Dogs who walk on concrete will get rough and dry paw pads. Sometimes the paw pads will crack and can bleed or get infected. To help prevent this, Tea Tree can be applied directly to paw pads to soothe the dryness and fight infection. Don’t over oil the paw pads, because some roughness is required for the dog to have traction.

homemade remedies for pets

Soothe Your Dog’s Skin

Just like people, dogs often get dry and itchy skin. Soothe minor skin irritations by mixing 2 Tbsp. of almond or coconut oil and 10 drops of Lavender essential oil. Massage the oil mixture into skin irritations to help reduce itch, kill bacteria and even calm nerves.

Doggie Smells Deodorizer

Ensure that you never hear that your home smells like dog again, by using bergamot oil, a natural deodorizer, two or three times a week on your sweet, yet not so sweet smelling pets. Once again, mix 10-15 drops of bergamot with 8 ounces water and apply a light spritz when needed.

homemade remedies for pets

Calming Mist For Dogs

Measure essential oil into an empty and clean 8-oz spray mist bottle. Add the water until it is filled. Put on cap and shake well before each use. Spray around the dog and even on its coat since Lavender is a good essential oil to repel mosquitos and fleas. This is great for use in a car with a nervous dog or at any time your dog is over-energized.

homemade remedies for pets

Dog Burns

Cool the burn with a cold water compress and then apply Lavender essential oil as soon as possible.

Beginners Guide to Essential Oils

Dog Abscess

Clean the wound area and apply Tea Tree directly on the abscess. Continue to apply several times a day. When the pus is gone, you can use Lavender oil to speed healing.

homemade remedies for pets

Doggie Tummy Troubles

Whether it is constipation, dog motion sickness or they just ate something they shouldn’t have….just place one or two drops of Peppermint, Ginger, Tarragon, or Lemongrass Essential Oils on their paw. May also be rubbed on their stomach.

Note about Cats:

Cats are more sensitive to essential oils since they metabolize the oils differently. They are sensitive to strong odors and they generally have an adverse reaction to citrus oils. It is a good idea to consult with a veterinarian before applying oils to a cat.

I hope some of these ideas have opened your eyes to the world of possibilities that are out there for essential oils. I know they’ve opened mine!

Have you used essential oils on the family pet?

Share your experience with us! 

What essential oils do I use?
Have a question about essential oils? Curious about what brand of essential oils I prefer? Find the answers in my Essential Oils FAQ!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Essential Oils

  • Tea tree oil is toxic to dogs!! Do not put it on them or let them ingest it. There is no essential oil that should be applied directly to an animal. And the one that you’re mixing with soap and water should be rinsed off because soap should never be left on an animal. Ingesting soap will cause intestinal distress. If an animal has a wound or a burn you need to take it to the vet unless you have taken pet first aid/cpr. And then they should go to the the vet for follow up to make sure there’s no infection. That bandana with the oils, what’s going to happen if the pup chews it? Or another pup is playing with yours and gets sick from it?
    Just because you research something online doesn’t mean you should teach other people what you read. Trying to teach little hacks for things that people should see experts about is going to cause more harm to these animals then good!
    I am more than ok with helping others save some money here and there. But please do NOT put another loving heart at risk.

  • I have a Chihuahua who is really losing a lot of his top coat. Is their anything anyone can recommend to stop some of it from coming out. He used to occasionally loose a little during shedding season now it seems to be all the time. Would appreciate any help. Thank you, Sharon Kurland

    • Hi Sharon! Adding a small bit of fish oil to the pet’s food can help with the overall health of the hair. Although my son’s dog, Milo, has alopecia, and there is nothing we can do to stop him from losing fur. The vet simply suggests having Milo wear a sweater when it’s cold out. Best of luck!

    • Have you talked with your vet? It could be an allergy…to something in the pups food, the environment. There are many things that could be going on. Please ask your vet.

  • Aw, this was an incredibly good post. Taking a few minutes
    andd actual effort to produce a top ntch article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don’t
    seem to get anyrhing done.

  • Found an interesting article on essential oils!! - Boxer Forum : Boxer Breed Dog Forums says:

    […] gained interest in holistic care recently, and am loving the research!! Hope you guys enjoy it! Homemade Remedies For Pets Using Essential Oils | One Good Thing by Jillee __________________ Jessica People who say diamonds are a girl's best friend clearly never […]

  • I love my essential oils and use them on my dogs as too and they are amazing! However, I will not use any EOs other than Young Living because I want pure unadulterated oils – unless the company has their own farms and distillation process they have no control over what they are getting ….

  • I use lavender on our rat terrier mix puppy (she is 9m old) to calm her down at night when its bed time. I put a drop on my hands, rub together and then pet her. She calms down instantly. She is normally an outside dog, but if she is barking non stop at a cat or raccoon I bring her in so I can sleep. lol She is pretty hyper when this happens…. it worked beautifully last night, and we both got some sleep.

  • Please know that if your pet has a burn, abscess, or eats something that they shouldn’t, you MUST consult your veterinarian. As a registered veterinary technician I have seen many pets who were brought to the doctor too late!

  • Any help would be greatly appreciated. My family includes 5 dogs and 2 cats. One of my cats snuggles with my dogs. Our 13 year old basset chow lab mix has developed dementia. He begins pacing and panting at bedtime and does it all night. The vet says he’s healthy. She has him on diazepam, composure, melatonin, hills brain diet. And we’ve tried the thunder shirt. He is fine during the day. And we have himalian salt night lights. Oh yeah, we also have dap diffusers. Nothing is working! Do you think I could use lavender oil and maybe roman chamomile without harming the cat? Thankfully the cat doesn’t snuggle too close to the stressed dog, but they both sleep on the bed with us. Thanks in advance. Jerri

  • […] I’ve listed some of what I came up with (I used this website and a lot of information I found on Experience Essential Oils to help me figure out what I […]

  • I could’ve swore this said remedies for pets, not dogs. I was misled and instead of finding anything about essential oils I didn’t know, I’ve nearly wasted my time.
    I digress.
    There are cat lovers reading this and it is correct that you do NOT want to use essential oils on your cats. However, you can use Hydrosol sprays. Hydrosol is condensation of diffused essential oils and is a lot less potent and safe for cats.

  • My dog is allergic to fleas and I have problems with her each year. I purchased a product that has all the essential oils in it that is mentioned in the article. This works well but is very greasy. I also read somewhere where Cream of Cornstarch helps with their itching. That worked wonderful but only lasted a couple of days. But, if I know there are no fleas, I rub the cornstarch into her fur to help her with her itching. I also give her 2 Benadry tablets, opened and sprinkled in food, a day. This is calming to her and she does not itch so very much…

  • I love your site, Jillee! It’s always a great source of ideas. With respect to this post, I do agree 100% with Cynthia, the vet tech, who commented above. Essential oils can be a great tool, but one should definitely use common sense and check with their vet before use in their healthy pet. I don’t agree that essential oils should be used for home treatment of ailments such as ear infections, abscesses, or stomach problems. These types of illnesses warrant a trip to the vet. Ear problems usually have some underlying cause and certain stomach problems may require immediate medical attention (e.g. pancreatitis, cancer, foreign bodies, etc.)

  • Looking into getting a dog, this will be very helpful. I have a cat, and I know NEVER to use Lavender oils on her. Have to reference a list of which oils are toxic to which pets.

  • We used lavender on our yellow lab and he had a SEVERE allergic reaction. Our vet told us that a lavender allergy was common among dogs. That reaction created a cascade effect with his skin that we are still dealing with. That said, I do still make shampoo for his poor itcy skin. The main ingredient for that is oatmeal, which is very calming for him. It is pathetic to watch him itch all the time. Poor baby. SO BE CAREFUL!!!

  • Dear Jillee,
    I have been using essential oils to treat my human family as well as my doggie family for about five years. PLEASE, Caution everyone to NEVER use essential on pets or humans without proper dilution. The chances are great that you will become sensitized to the oil and it can cause great discomfort as well as not being able to use that oil again. Every book that I have, says to never use essential oil on cats. I realize that some essential oil sites say that you can use all of their oils neat. However, I have not found that to be the case in the books I have studied. If a carrier oil is not available use olive oil. I read your post everyday and think you site is wonderful I started a folder and keep all of the post that I think I might need in the future at my fingertips. I hope you find this post worth passing on to your readers. thank You, Jo Ann

  • Please never put essential oils on or near a cat. They can be damaging and even fatal. Please do not put them on a dog without specific approval from your vet. To suggest using essential oils in this way is irresponsible and could cause illness or death for beloved pets.

  • Pure therapeutic grade essential Oils can be safely used on cats as well as other animals. Dr Melissa Shelton DMV has done a ton of research on this and has written several books.

    • ThankYOu! Melissa!

      There is a huge difference between essential oils and pure therapeutic grade essential oils…this is misunderstood by the masses…research to educate yourself.I always say…:)

  • Great Post.
    I too will add a word of caution no matter what you use on or give your pet.
    Whenever I go the vet I ask for potential side affects when medicine is prescribed. Now that our dog is 14 yrs old there are a number of different reactions she can have-even to medicines previously prescribed. Also, the use of oils can be the answer to problems because they are less evasive. For a younger dog a certain course of action may be the best option; but for an old dog (and the risks involved) EO’s may be the best solution.
    I have always asked for just a few doses so we can observe closely before filling the whole script–this way money is not wasted on a script in which she is sensitive.
    As a last note– if your Vet categorically disqualifies the use of EO’s–you may want to find a new vet.

  • Thank you so much for this information!
    I plan to print it out for handy reference. Our dog has major seperation anxiety issues,
    so the next thing I buy will be some lavendar oil.
    I hope you bring more info for our pets.

    • For anyone whose dog has separation anxiety or noise phobias, you may want to try a Thundershirt before trying any essential oil or other medicinal. A number of my colleagues in the veterinary field swear by them and have had great success.

  • I, myself, have worked in the vet industry and been on the board with our local SPCA. I have many many veterarians that are close person friends including several that work at a nearby vet school. I’ve learned a lot from them.Essential oils are very beneficial to dogs (not cats), but like everything you much use precaution. I would never let them injest it and be very careful of tea tree oil as this can harm your pet IF injested. Obviously, not a problem for a single dog if using on it’s ears. Of course you would never spray directly in a dogs face and anyone that owns a pet bird should know to never use anything like this for a pet bird! Birds can die from spraying regular air freshener in the house. These tips are quite good, just use some common sense too. I use them on my dog often and if you’ll read the ingredients of most expensive dog shampoos you’ll see these same ingredients listed. Good post!

  • Once again devine and jill intervention. I live in florida which means we don’t have dirt we have sand. Which adds up to twice the amount of flees my two dogs get. My little Lucy has basset hound in her and it makes her susceptible to ear infections. Right now the flee’s are so bad even with their flee pills we get from the vet that we have been considering bombing the house and dipping the dogs. Which we really didn’t want to do. Also Lucy has a possible ear infection that I was going to take her to the vet for on tuesday. I have been cleaning her ears three times a day and it seems to be getting a bit better, so now I will be able to add the peppermint oil and see if I can avoid a very expensive vet bill. I only have peppermint and lavender oil but that is enough to get them some much needed relief. Lucy was picked up by my husband at work one new years eve during a bad storm. Poor thing had been dumped. So she is also very afraid at fourth of July as well as when it storm’s. Now I will be able to sooth her of her anxiety.
    Thank you so much Jill. You have no idea how much you have enriched me and my family’s life with your wealth of information you give us. God has given us a true Blessing.

  • For ear mits: Mix 2 drops of tea tree oil with 2 tablespoons of any oil (I use ev coconut oil) and massage into the ear and wipe away extra but try leave a little to coat. The oil will drown the most and the tea tree oil will kill the eggs and clear up the infection since it has anti viral, bacterial, and fungal properties. I also use it on their collars to repel fleas and ticks. Works great

  • Great info! I’ve been wondering about this, and actually trying to research on my own for the last few days. Does anyone have any advice or experience in treating dogs with seasonal allergies with EOs? Our Bulldog is allergic to grass pollens (seems like a cruel twist of fate for a dog to be allergic to grass). We live in south Georgia where the pollen counts are extremely high, and she is having an awful time. She is constantly itching and will chew her feet until they’re raw. We’ve done everything the vet recommends- she takes antihistamines, baths a couple times a week, high quality food, special vitamins and an omega 3 supplement…done a few rounds of steroids and the prednisone did help but with the bad side effects associated with it, we really want to minimize that. I’ve been taking EOs for my allergies but I’m not sure what is safe for dogs. Anyone tried it?

    • I haven’t tried any essential oils on our pets yet, but do know that some Chiropractors do great work on animals…….including allergies. Good luck.

    • Okay…yesterday I mixed up some Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint oil and combined that with about an equal part of regular extra virgin olive oil ( I just estimated) that I had in the kitchen. I applied it twice yesterday and again twice today to the bottoms of her paws. I swear she is itching less. My husband, who is a bit of a skeptic about EO’s, even noticed it. Obviously, she has still scratched a little bit, but it’s only been two days and I see a definite improvement. The funny thing is, she normally doesn’t like having her feet touched or fussed with (I think maybe they hurt from her chewing on them, or she knows when someone starts touching her feet that probably means she is going to get some medicine on them or even worse- the dreaded nail clip!) But she seems to like the oils! It might be the lavender relaxing her. I’m not sure. But she doesn’t mind it being applied at all! I’m going to keep putting it on her. Would recommend!

  • I have a rat terrier that has lots of nervous energy. She is very afraid of thunder (and fire crackers) so I am going to try the lavender oil on her. I can hardly wait to see how it works!

    • Melissa–I have a big huge Lab that is terrified of thunder, lightening, rain even. He paces, and whines, tries to get in bed with me, etc. One night, I thought, OH what the heck I’m gonna try some lavender. I diffused it, rubbed some on MY hands and then rubbed him down, he laid down in the floor and NEVER flinched! I diffuse lavender everyday now when I get home from work, rain/storms or shine! It works WONDERS!

  • I had two dogs with horrible smelling breath. Even after dental cleanings it just was foul smelling. So I put a drop or two of peppermint essential oil into their large water bowl. It made a world of difference!

  • Please also make a note about the use of melaleuca (tea tree oil) It can be very toxic to pets after just a few drops. It should never be ingested by the pet (or people), and the use of it on feet or anywhere the pet can lick can be very dangerous…

  • The best advice I’ve read is to let your dog choose. They seem to know what they need. Our greyhound loves lavender and enjoys a rub down with a diluted mixture of lavender and a carrier oil.

    Use caution however on their face bc their sense of smell is so sensitive.

  • I love reading all the info about eo’s. Just getting started and am constantly amazed by the uses. I wish I had known about all this 20 or 30 years ago. Such a better lifestyle and I think alot of health issues could have been avoided or minimized. Thanks for sharing the knowledge.

  • If you care for your cats, do not use essential oils on them. Many oils will kill them by either suffocating them, or shutting down their liver or kidneys. It’s a good idea to not even use them in your house if you have a cat.

  • As a certified veterinary technician, I would exercise extreme caution when using essential oils with any animal, especially cats. While I am very open to the use of complementary medicine, such as acupuncture, chiropractic, laser therapy, etc., it is advisable to consult with a veterinary professional, preferably a DVM or VMD, before using any essential oil in any concentration on your pet. Some essential oils do have antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, but that does mean they should be applied to open wounds, and they may not be an adequate substitute for prescribed medications. While certain oils can be very therapeutic and helpful, they can also do harm. Remember, just because a product is natural, does not mean it is safe.

    Cats are exquisitely sensitive to toxins that would not have the same effect on humans or dogs. Their livers cannot process toxins the way ours can, and some of the chemical constituents of oils, such as terpenes, phenols, and ketones, are no exception. The effects of these can show up immediately, or can take years to damage internal organs, such as the liver and kidneys.

    Birds should never be exposed to oils, whether topically or in the air due to their extreme sensitivity. Even a drop of essential oil can be enough to kill a bird.

    Please, please, please consult with a veterinary professional before the use of any alternative treatment, and by all means, never resort to your medicine cabinet for your pet. What you may give your animal at home will possibly limit what a veterinarian can give to your pet, and even the smallest amount of some human medications can be enough to poison you animal or worse. Signs of toxicity to look for in animals can include ataxia (lack of control of voluntary muscle movement), in-coordination, seizures, weakness, tremors, vomiting, diarrhea or depression.

    We all love our pets, and would do anything to help them live longer, healthier lives. Please see your veterinary professionals as people willing to be open to help you in any way possible.

    • Well put Cynthia! I am a LVT and as I read the post I kept waiting for some sort of disclaimer about caution/ask your vet/etc. like most posts get about the poster not being a doctor and that this should not be used in place of medical advice, but it never quite got there for the dogs… I especially worry about people’s use of melaleuca, and the fact that toxic exposure can be cumulative as with people giving their pets grapes. I also am a fan of complimentary medicine and use quite a bit of essential oils for myself, but I definitely would not advise the use of EOs on pets without consulting with a vet first.

      • True, but the “THREAT” is diminished, if not vacated, when using PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE ESSENTIAL OILS. Many vets are now incorporating these precious oils to their protocol, as are Major Hospitals, Hospices, etc., in their care of humans. It only takes a moment to discover oils, they are using. There are many EO companies on the market, and many fine oils to use for various applications, but ONLY “PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS” are safe when using on your own body, as well as those of your pets. USE caution when using anything other than PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE. Do you know that any company can tout being an essential oil, with as little as 5% of the actual oil in it? Did you know that a product touting ORGANIC, does not equal PURE? Sure, PURE costs more, but it goes a lot further as well. You will always have to use more of a product that is not pure, but additionally, you can cause great harm.

    • Great article. I agree that cost can be an issue in taking care of our pets, as well as ourselves. Having said that, unless we are using PURE THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS, and the products we are using from home are organic, we are spinning our wheels, as we are exposing our pets to all sorts of potential health issues. I only know of ONE company, that produces, Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, and been allowed to say so, on their packaging! <3

  • I have read that essential oils shouldnt be used with cats at all. It isn’t only that they are more sensitive to smells, but that the oils are actually toxic to them. Be careful.

    • Yes! I have read the same thing. Do your homework before using oils on cats! They are VERY DIFFERENT from dogs how they metabolize everything!

  • I love this article. I always remember when using oils on my dogs that they can smell things we can not. Therefore i always dilute with a fractionated coconut oil or water and apply sparingly. They will smell it long after we do not.

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