If you’re curious if you can use lavender for dogs, this article will answer that question and share how to safely use it as a spray or in essential oil form.
Lavender is a genus of 39 flowering plants from the mint family, with the most commonly cultivated form known as English lavender. It is planted in gardens around the world, but it can also grow wild and that means it can also encounter your four-legged friend.
Is lavender safe for dogs?
Good news: lavender is not toxic.
Better news: lavender has some incredible benefits for your pet.
From a commercial standpoint, lavender for dogs is mostly grown for its essential oils. Its anti-inflammatory properties are renowned, while its usage as a fragrance is also notable. English lavender can be used in perfumes, balms, salves, cosmetics, and other products for people. The effects are similar in dogs, with the essential oils providing a wealth of benefits.
Therapeutic Uses of Lavender for dogs
While lavender is safe for dogs, it’s important to note that animals are more sensitive to essential oils than humans. For this reason, it’s better to dilute lavender essential oils when first using. The size of your dog will play a role here. If you have a small dog, dilute the lavender essential oil around 80 to 90 percent prior to use. For a larger dog, dilution may not be as necessary. You have to use common sense to see if your dog has a negative reaction or not.
- Lavender can be used to soothe irritated skin, plus it can prevent possible infections. It can also assist in the healing of burns and the treatment of ulcers, while also alleviating the negative effects of allergic reactions. Applying lavender essential oil directly to your dog’s skin can provide significant relief from itching and the healing of wounds, too.
- Many pet owners swear by using lavender as part of an aromatherapy regiment for their furry family members. This use of natural oils can promote physical and mental well-being for your dog, especially given the fact that your pet has a better sense of smell than you do. As the oils evaporate, the molecules will enter the nasal cavity and provide a positive healing effect that can yield significant effects on your dog’s mood.
- Some stores offer dog treats with lavender as an ingredient. These have an advertised calming effect, particularly in dogs that are predisposed to high levels of stress. Some customers have sworn by lavender dog treats in situations such as thunderstorms, where some of our more skittish friends may have considerable difficulty. An available source of lavender in your garden can also be made into homemade dog treats.
- Lavender can also work as an insect repellent. A mist or spray of lavender can repel insects and other pests when sprayed on your dog. It should be noted that lavender spray does not kill pests, but the scent does repel them and that can be a lifesaver in certain situations. You can make your own bug repellent using a few drops of lavender essential oil and water. Don’t be afraid to spray it on yourself and even your furniture for a good-smelling repellent with non-toxic properties.
Dosage and Directions
How to Make Lavender Tea to Use as a Spray
You can easily make a spray to use on your dog for minor skin conditions such as contact dermatitis. It can also be used to help repel bugs. You’ll want to use fresh or dried lavender leaves, stems, and flowers:
- 1 cup of fresh or 1-1/2 cups dried lavender flowers, stems, and leaves
- Cheesecloth to wrap the lavender in
- Glass bottle or bowl to mix the tea
- 1 pint CLEAN STERILIZED spray bottle
Add the lavender in the cheesecloth and tie it closed. Place the cheesecloth in the glass bowl or measuring cup. Boil your water and add it to the glass container. Cover and allow to cool completely.
Remove the cheesecloth and gently squeeze the cloth to remove excess moisture into the container. Add the lavender water to your CLEAN STERILIZED spray bottle.
How to Use Lavender Essential Oil to Calm Your Nervous Dog
- Simply move it the open bottle back and forth under your dog’s nostrils several times.
- You can also place a few drops of lavender oil to your dog’s collar or to the neck area. USE CAUTION: When applying to the skin, use in small amounts at first to make sure your dog doesn’t have a reaction to the lavender. DO NOT USE THE ESSENTIAL OIL ON CATS!
While lavender is safe as an essential oil for dogs, there is a possibility that your pet may be allergic. For this reason, start with a highly-diluted solution.
Better still, wear a bit of lavender as an essential oil and monitor any reactions your dog may have to it. This should give you a strong indication as to lavender’s safety for your four-legged friend.
Dogs should not ingest the essential oil form of lavender, either, as it can cause stomach problems and even kidney or liver damage.
Again, essential oils should also be kept away from cats and should not be applied to open wounds or used on pregnant animals, as any effects would doubtlessly be compounded.
Reasons to Use
There are, as you can see, many reasons to use lavender for your dog. It is a safe and reliable essential oil and it yields many benefits, with a focus on calming down jittery dogs and relieving stress. Lavender is one of those wonderful herbal treatments that can be used by humans and dogs alike, which can also promote a bonding experience between you and your best friend.
You can find lavender essential oils, shampoos, pet treats, and other products at many retailers and commercial outlets, but you can also make your own if you have a supply in your garden. It is a multipurpose and easy-to-use herbal treatment that can be administered nearly risk-free.
References: Herbs for Pets by M.L. Wulff-Tilford and G.L. Tilford, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats by CJ Puotinen