Is Eucalyptus Oil Safe for Dogs?

In terms of using eucalyptus in a diffuser, most veterinarians and canine experts would not recommend using eucalyptus oil around dogs.

There are 2 main types of diffusers: reed diffusers and plug-in varieties.

  • The reed diffusers work by absorbing the oil into the reed stick, which gradually dissipates the scent into the air. Since there is no electricity or heat involved, reed diffusers are generally safe in terms of indoor use.
  • Plug-in or electric diffusers work by emitting a low heat, which releases the oil scent. As they create a low level of heat and require power, there is an element of fire risk should the diffuser be faulty, but this risk is generally low.

Why is eucalyptus oil bad for dogs?

Eucalyptus is one of the strongest essential oils with a dominant scent. For us, a small amount is pleasant and calming, but for dogs it can uncomfortable and even overwhelming.

Dogs have a sense of smell far greater than humans. Dachshunds have approximately 125 million olfactory (scent) receptors in their nose, a Labrador has roughly 220 million and a bloodhound has an impressive 300 million. By comparison, humans only have around 5 million receptors.

Dogs can find certain essential oils to be overpowering and unpleasant. They can even cause irritation to the lining of the nose, windpipe and lungs.

Other symptoms of eucalyptus exposure include:

  • behavioral changes
  • vomiting and diarrhea
  • pawing at the mouth or nose
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • poor co-ordination
  • skin irritation if direct contact is made against the skin
  • digestive issues if the oil is ingested.

What oils are safe to diffuse around dogs?

While eucalyptus is not considered safe, there are many essential oils that are safe to be diffused around dogs:

  • chamomile
  • lavender
  • ginger
  • peppermint

The safest way to use essential oils in a diffuser is to dilute the oil first. this reduces the potency of the oil and protects your dog from any side effects.

Which essential oils are toxic to dogs?

The list of oils considered unsafe for dogs is quite extensive since many essential oils come from plants or flowers with a naturally strong aroma. Even diluted, these essential oils should not be diffused around dogs:

  • anise
  • bergamot
  • eucalyptus
  • garlic
  • juniper
  • santolina
  • tea tree oil
  • wormwood
  • yarrow
  • hyssop
  • camphor
  • birch
  • pennyroyal
  • oregano
  • thyme
  • tansy
  • wintergreen

If you are unsure, it is best to speak to a licensed veterinarian or canine behaviorist. They will be able to give advice on which essential oils are safe to be diffused around dogs.

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Hannah Elizabeth is an English animal behavior author, having written for several online publications. With a degree in Animal Behaviour and over a decade of practical animal husbandry experience, Hannah's articles cover everything from pet care to wildlife conservation. When she isn't creating content for blog posts, Hannah enjoys long walks with her Rottweiler cross Senna, reading fantasy novels and breeding aquarium shrimp.

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