Lavender is one of the most popular aromatic herbs out there. Not only is the scent fresh and inviting, it’s calming and soothing, making it ideal for a variety of uses.
Lavender for dogs is also incredibly popular. Often for many of the same reasons pet parents use it for themselves, they'll also use it for their animals.
As a natural remedy, lavender has a solid reputation, and for many very good reasons.
Is Lavender for Dogs a Safe Choice?
As with many different herbs, the answer here is not a simple yes or no. But don’t worry, the risks are few.
Lavender, the plant, does contain a small amount of a compound called linalool, which is toxic to both dogs and cats. However, that linalool is found in such small concentrations that your pet would have to ingest a lot for it to be an issue.
Still, perhaps allowing your pet to romp around in a field of lavender (if you could even find one) and chomp away wouldn’t be on our list of recommendations.
Does that mean, though, that it does’t have its uses. No way! There are tons of ways to use lavender for dogs safely.
Why We Love Lavender for Dogs
One of the biggest reasons we are such big fans of lavender for dogs is because it is such an effective natural calming aid.
Lavender’s soothing effects can help ease anxiety and reduce feelings of stress. And that’s great for both our canine companions and ourselves!
This is essential if your pet suffers from things like:
- noise phobia (thunderstorms or fireworks)
- travelling in the car
- going to the vet
- separation anxiety
- meeting new people/being in crowds
If you know your pet gets anxious in certain situations, a few drops of lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil on the tips of the ears or on her collar can work wonders.
But that’s not the only reason it’s at the top of our essential oils list.
It can also help to:
- reduce inflammation in joints
- relieve itchy, irritated skin
- reduce motion sickness
- fight germs and promote healing
- ward off mosquitos and other pests
- antibacterial properties make it good for pet-safe cleaning
- refresh without washing!
Tips for Using Lavender Oil for Your Pet
First and foremost, using essential oils with animals requires some caution. Our animals can be sensitive to them, often moreso than even ourselves, so we want to keep that in mind. Their sense of smell is far more advanced that ours, so that’s important to remember. Even if your pet likes lavender, you don’t want to use it at an overwhelming level.
Start by simply offering it to your pet to see what they think. Without shoving it in your dog’s nose, bring the bottle with the cap loosened around her face. See how she reacts. If she turns away, starts panting or whining, or rubs her face, it’s probably not for her. If she agrees with the smell, you know it’s ok to diffuse it.
When diffusing it, don’t overdo it. Only run a diffuser for a limited period of time, and make sure it’s not in a small room without ventilation. Make sure your pet has a way to get away from it if it becomes too much.
If you’re using it topically, make sure that you:
- Dilute it in a carrier oil (coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, olive oil, etc.)
- Start small - test it first on a small area, with only a small amount.
- Keep an eye on your pet to make sure there are no adverse reactions to it.
Finding the Right Oil for Your Animal
There is currently no regulation for essential oils. This is why it is so, so important to make sure that what you are buying is in fact a pure plant oil. Far too many products on the market are not pure lavender, and those ‘unknown’ ingredients could be harmful.
The best way to prove an essential oil product contains what it says it does is to ask for a Certificate of Analysis from the manufacturer. Do your research when buying essential oils and only buy from reputable companies. Check those reviews!