5 Best Essential Oils to Calm Dogs

Filed in Dog Health on April 23, 2022

Best Essential Oils to Calm Dogs

It’s hard to watch our dogs struggle with anxiety, and it may require trial and error to find a solution.

Whether your dog is constantly anxious or gets stressed out in certain situations, you’re likely looking for a convenient way to reduce their symptoms.

Essential oils may provide effective relief. They’re quite easy to use and safe when used appropriately.

In this blog post, I discuss the best essential oils to calm dogs and how to use them properly.

My Top Picks for Best Essential Oils to Calm Dogs

1. Lavender

Lavender is probably the most famous and frequently used essential oil to soothe anxiety in people. It makes sense that you’d consider using this oil with your dog as well.

In fact, lavender is one of the few essential oils that has been found in studies to have some calming effect on dogs. While there’s still research to be done, it seems that lavender can slow a dog’s heart rate and help them relax.

When used in shelters, lavender oil causes dogs to spend more time resting. It also can calm an anxious dog and help them sleep better.

As an added benefit, it can also be helpful for soothing allergies, relieving pain, and naturally deterring insects. It’s also a very gentle essential oil that most dogs tolerate very well, assuming they don’t ingest it.

2. Chamomile

Chamomile oil

Chamomile is another one of the best essential oils to calm dogs. It has been a popular tea for humans to consume when they want to relax, particularly before bedtime.

It turns out that chamomile can also be very soothing for dogs.

The smell of chamomile caused dogs to relax more and sleep better when used in a shelter environment.

When applied topically, chamomile may also reduce allergic reactions and have anti-inflammatory benefits to soothe your dog’s skin and coat.

This gentle oil is unlikely to result in irritation to your dog’s skin, so it’s a great option for applying topically or putting on bedding or clothing.

3. Cardamom

Cardamom not only soothes your dog’s mental state but can also reduce the physical consequences of anxiety. Anxious, stressed dogs often have digestive upset or refuse to eat.

Cardamom promotes healthy digestion and improves all sorts of gastrointestinal issues like constipation or diarrhea. It can also soothe the airways, which can be very helpful for dogs that are stress panting.

It works very well when used in oil diffusers and can also be helpful as a topical treatment.

4. Valerian

Valerian root has mild sedative effects that humans have long used to reduce anxiety and support sleep. It may have similar benefits for dogs.

It appears to increase the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which reduces activity and has a calming effect.

Although there aren’t conclusive studies for either humans or dogs as to its effectiveness, it’s frequently used in veterinary medicine and has anecdotally been found effective.

Valerian works well as a topical treatment or when used in a diffuser.

5. Rose

Rose is an extremely expensive essential oil and can be hard to find, but it may be worth going through the extra effort to get this essential oil for your dog.

It appears to be safe for dogs when diluted appropriately, and it seems to have a strong effect when it comes to calming and soothing a stressed-out dog.

Dogs that may not tolerate stronger-smelling essential oils like lavender or cardamom may like a rose instead.

Because the rose is a powerful essential oil, you don’t need very much of it to get the effect you’re looking for.

Therefore, although it’s expensive, you’re likely to find that it lasts a long time.

How to Use Essential Oils to Calm Dogs

After choosing the best essential oil to calm your dog, you’ll want to figure out the best way to use them.

If used during times when your dog is stressed, you may unintentionally create an association between the oil and the stress.

This can have the opposite of the desired effect by causing your dog to feel more stressed out, not less, whenever they smell the oil.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to use oils primarily when your dog would otherwise be calm and then introduce them during stressful times once a positive association has been developed.

Here are some ways to use essential oils to calm dogs:

With an Oil Diffuser

modern oil diffuser

One of the best ways for people to enjoy the benefits of essential oil is by putting the oil into an oil diffuser.

A diffuser can also be a very effective way to use essential oils to calm your dog, with a number of benefits:

  • An oil diffuser can be placed well away from your dog so they won’t be able to get to the oils within it.
  • It continuously puts out the oil so that the concentration remains consistent across time.
  • You have control over how much oil the diffuser releases, simply by making the water and oil concentration stronger or weaker.

When using an oil diffuser, remember that dogs have a better sense of smell than humans do.

Start with an extremely weak concentration, so weak that you may not even be able to smell it, and gradually increase the strength as you gauge your dog’s reaction.

As a Topical Oil

Many essential oils are safe to apply on your dog topically. However, you’ll need to use a safe carrier oil, dilute the oil sufficiently, and ensure that your dog doesn’t lick it off themselves.

Some essential oils, like lavender, can also soothe allergies and irritated skin.

Make sure that the essential oil that you’re considering using topically is safe for your dog.

Always start with a very small amount to ensure there won’t be an allergic reaction or that your dog isn’t overly sensitive to it.

On Bedding and/or Clothing

Some people find it very effective to use essential oils in their dog’s bedding or on clothes that they wear. By the way, I also have an article on calming dog beds if interested.

Putting oil on dog clothing can also be a good way for the smell to go along with your dog without applying it directly to their skin.

Placing the oil in bedding is also a great way to help dogs sleep. However, be careful that your dog isn’t licking or chewing the oil off of their clothes or bedding.

You’ll also want to make sure you dilute it sufficiently, so that when it rubs off onto your dog’s skin it won’t cause any problems.

Just as with topical oil, start with a very small amount and gauge your dog’s reactions.

Conclusion on Best Essential Oils to Calm Dogs

Well, I hope I’ve given you some options to try for the best essential oils to calm dogs.

The right essential oil can go a long way toward helping your dog to relax. They can be used in combination with other soothing elements and are generally quite easy to integrate into your dog’s life.

Experiment with them and the techniques discussed in this article and there’s a good chance that your dog will benefit.

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