The Top 10 Calming Essential Oils for Dogs

essential oils for dog anxiety

More than a solution to health issues, essential oils are a simple, safe and respectful way to keep your pet dog happy and emotionally healthy.

These all-natural extracts render your dog with the right level of support to fight off infections, deal with anxiety and stay de-stressed when emergency comes calling!

Here’s a comprehensive overview of the top 10 calming essential oils for dogs, and a quick guide to use calming oils for dogs.

Why Try Aromatherapy for Dogs Anxiety?

Your dog can benefit from the therapeutic effects of aromatherapy just as well as you can.

Besides eliminating bad odors and giving a pleasant scent to your pet, essential oils serve a great many practical functions, like boosting his immune system, preventing the survival of yeasts and molds, repelling insects and most importantly, making him calmer and less fearful of his surroundings.

Having a nervous dog as a pet can be extremely challenging, considering that his tendency to nip at every toddler or chew up the wires, sofa cover and practically anything that comes his way.

What essential oils are good to calm dogs?

When your dog seems mortally afraid of booming noises (like from thunderstorms or fireworks) and training isn’t helping much, then you may consider aromatherapy as an alternate solution.

The calming effects of certain essential oils relieve your dog’s anxiety and stress during those times. Even if he seems petrified of something as simple and harmless as a squeaky toy, or the neighbor’s cat, you should still opt for aromatherapy.

The main factor that exemplifies the amazing power of calming aromatherapy for dogs is that it works at the emotional, cognitive as well as physiologic levels.

Essential oils affect animals deep within, at the cellular level, impacting their neurochemistry and biochemistry positively. This, invariably, makes for more balanced and happier dogs who are also regaining their physical health.

That, in essence, is the most exciting aspect about essential oils- they promote healing at every level- physically and spiritually.

Scientists say that aromatherapy for dogs, with essential oils is a great way to cure your dog of separation anxiety- a canine behavioral disorder afflicting almost 50% of dogs.

Most dogs experience a dramatic improvement in their reaction to stress and anxiety by using these oils.

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Understanding Stress in Your Dog

Most dogs feel about certain events in their lives in a characteristic way that falls under the category of stress not anxiety.

Stress may spring up in relation to a deep-rooted fear of losing a human or animal friend, visiting the vet, staying in a confined place, or even coping with dental issues!

It is always important to monitor your dog for signs of stress, else the problem may surmount to a massive level, at which professional intervention would be the only effective solution.

What essential oils are safe to diffuse around dogs?

Typically, a dog that is stressed faces the following issues too:

#1 – Loss of appetite or binge eating.
#2 – Changes in diet.
#3 – Changes in sleep patterns.
#4 – Changes in behavior (e.g: over-excitement, whining/ snarling/barking excessively).

While monitoring your dog for signs of stress, give equal importance to physical and emotional changes.

Essential oils address both components well. They can be used to calm as well as focus the dog during the training period or ease discomfort during a lengthy transportation process.

These oils are even known to uplift their spirits when they’re dealing with loss, separation or home changes.

ALSO READ: The 18 Best Calming Dog Treats for Stress and Anxiety Relief

Top 10 Calming Essential Oils for Your Dog

#1 – Roman Chamomile Oil:

Two different varieties of chamomile flower are used as essential oils for dogs anxiety- Roman and German.

Although the medicinal properties of both are quite similar, the Roman variety is widely used for its calming properties, while the German chamomile is more beneficial in treating inflammation.

Roman Chamomile oil to help with dog anxiety

Roman chamomile is extremely gentle and works wonders to calm down restless dogs, especially in the event of a sudden emergency. It is known to be very good in uplifting the spirit and relieving negative emotions like fear, anger, evasion and anxiety in adult dogs.

Roman chamomile has a soothing effect on the skin, mind as well as the body of your dog and promotes peaceful rest.

For best results, you should add this oil to his shampoo for a skin-soothing bath. When applied topically over the chest area, it promotes feelings of well-being and soothes pent-up anger or irritability.

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#2 – Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus Atlantica or deodara) Oil:

Cedarwood Atlas is among the few essential oils for calming dogs that are tough to find. However, using it for aromatherapy has umpteen benefits.

To start with, it has a general calming effect on the canine nervous system. Being a potent antispasmodic, it relieves muscle cramps and built-up pain.

Apart from that, it is a natural repellent to fleas and pests. By boosting your dog’s immune system to preclude pest infestation, it soothes irritability and promotes general health.

Cedarwood Atlas essential oil to calm dogs

Cedarwood Atlas is also a great expectorant for coughs like kennel cough and stimulates circulation in the body, thereby alleviating arthritis problems that are particularly prevalent among aged dogs.

As a general analgesic, it reduces pain and aggression in dogs. Even puppies who are extra timid or shy benefit from Cedarwood as the latter is very grounding and instills a sense of inner security.

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#3 – Lemon (Citrus limon) Oil:

Lemon is a potent essential oil for dogs. It is both uplifting and clarifying, and particularly effective on puppies.

It helps clear confusion by seeping into the canine brain and easing the over-activity of nerves there.

Apart from that, it’s a proven stimulant too and boosts up the general immunity system of your dog to help it fight off infections faster.

Lemon is a powerful antiviral and antiseptic agent.

Lemon essential oil to calm down puppies

Often an older dog stays stressed because of a chronic underlying health issue like diabetes, anemia or fungal attack.

Lemon acts fast to remove pathogens residing within the body and clearing spasms in the stomach.

It helps to calm down puppies, increasing their concentration and making them more receptive to training.

Puppies subjected to a small portion of lemon oil find it easier to assimilate new information and trust new owners. This is especially useful for dogs that have moved homes a lot.

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#4 – Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) Oil:

Helichrysum is a magical antidote to everything that’s irritating or offensive to your dog.

It exerts a protective effect to both the physical and the emotional health by healing ugly bruises, broken bones, soft swelling, broken capillaries, bruised emotions as well as resentful anger.

Scientific studies elucidate that Helichrysum has an instant effect on the mood of dogs.

Helichrysum Essential Oil to enhance dog mood

A simple sniff of this essential oil can transform a snarling, barking canine to a happy, tail-wagging one!

This observation may be attributed to the effect that Helichrysum has on nerve cells. By promoting the rejuvenation of nerve cells, it sets the stage for behavioral modification that benefits the dog and his owner alike.

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#5 – Myrrh Oil:

Apart from its religious significance, myrrh is a powerful essential oil that does oodles to the nervous system of a dog. Myrrh oil is derived from dried resin that is extracted from Commiphora myrrha tree.

It has prominent cleansing properties and has the ability to clear up any persistent infection or debris in the mouth and throat. It also soothes the skin and promotes a heightened level of awareness.

Myrrh oil is recommended by experts for decreasing tension levels in dogs and helping them adjust with other pets in the house.

Myrrh essential oil to decrease tension levels in dogs

Since it restores emotional balance, the dog feels more at comfort with his surroundings.

Myrrh basically works by stimulating certain chemical compounds that, in turn, stimulate the pituitary gland- the primary regulator of emotions. By increasing the concentration of neurotransmitters in the brain, it elevates mood.

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#6 – Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia):

Lavender oil for dogs is the most soothing of all. Being gentle on the mind and body, it soothes the skin from its deepest layers and helps in altering the state of mind.

It is mildly sedative and thus, very relaxing, especially if your dog is suffering from painful bites, bruises, grazes or burns.

It also repels fleas and prevents further infection in an already diseased dog.

Its antiseptic properties make it a potent agent to reduce scarring and helping wounds heal.

lavender essential oil to relax dogs

Additionally, it steadies the heart, thereby reducing anxiety, stress and hyperactivity.

Make sure to buy only good quality lavender oil to calm dogs as this oil is often adulterated.

For best results, freshen up your dog’s bed by blending lavender with water in a spray bottle. lavender oil spray for dogs helps reduce nervous feelings and promotes restful sleep.

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#7 – Rosemary Oil:

Rosemary oil for dogs is a very versatile oil with a wealth of health benefits.

It’s a potent disinfectant and can remove oral bacteria, prevent cavities, plaque accumulation, and even help your dog cope up with the onset of teething.

Most dogs love the mesmerizing aroma of this oil. Therefore, for best results, it’s recommended to use it as an inhalant rather than applying it topically.

Rosemary essential oil for dogs to reduce stress

Additionally, you can infuse a wee bit of rosemary to your dog’s shampoo or conditioner. This oil is famous as a hair growth stimulant and aids in producing shiny coats.

Rosemary oil has a pronounced effect on the nervous system of dogs too. This is because it decreases the amount of cortisol, the salivary hormone released during response to stress.

Inhaling rosemary oils for approximately five minutes can cause a significant reduction in cortisol levels. This automatically reduces the dangers of chronic stress.

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#8 – Rose Geranium Oil:

As the name suggests, rose geranium essential oil for dogs, has a rich smell of roses.

It exerts a balancing effect on the canine nervous system and instantly relieves anxiety and depression.

It uplifts the spirit and allows dogs to get used to their new owner. By easing the hyperactive adrenal cortex, it relieves stress and makes the surroundings easier to deal with.

rose geranium oil to relieve dog stress

It has a stimulating effect on the hormonal system too and restores the normal levels of the hormones that often dip low during a stressful period (like estrous cycle).

For best results, you should spray some diluted rose geranium oil into your dog’s bed linen or infuse some in small bowls around his kennel.

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#9 – Frankincense Oil:

Frankincense has been used since ages to elevate the mood and balance emotions. It is a safe oil to use and most dogs respond positively to its presence.

The best part of using frankincense is that it covers all the aspects of pet care, right from wound care and behavior improvement to antibacterial healing.

The Egyptians once used this ancient oil for mummification and even today, frankincense is widely recognized for its ability to calm the mind, increase focus and promote feelings of well-being.

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#10 – Peppermint Oil:

Peppermint oil has an instant relieving effect on dogs when they get overheated. Therefore, it can be used on lengthy hikes or road trips by simply mixing a tiny quantity with drinking water for internal cooling.

It is a wonderful insect repellent too and helps in promoting circulation.

peppermint oil for dogs chronic stress

Being highly effective as an analgesic, it reduces pain, both internally and externally, and precludes chronic stress that can occur as a result of the same.

Apart from that, peppermint oil is known to reduce motion sickness in dogs and eliminate the typical symptoms of headache, moodiness and vomiting that occur during transportation.

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How to Safely Introduce Your Dog to Essential Oils

In the wild, animals stay healthy by consuming plants and minerals that are essential for their body. Even carnivores consume grasses and herbs – you must have seen that in your own garden.

When your dog feeds on grass or drinks from a muddy puddle, he is actually expressing that instinct. Scientifically, this behavior is known as Zoopharmacognosy.

With essential oils, you make use of this natural sense and let your dog select which oil or mixture of oils they need.

At home, when you keep a pet dog, you limit his choices by controlling what he eats, who he plays with, and how he spends his days. This, in reality, causes tremendous stress to him.

However, when you offer essential oils, you reduce this stress, by respecting his choices and paying heed to his preferences. Remember, any time you reduce his stress, you increase his health.

Introduce Your Dog to Aromatherapy

The first step of aromatherapy is to decide which oils or blend of oils will help him.

To start off, keep closed bottles of five shortlisted oils on the floor and encourage your dog to sniff those bottles. Take careful note of his body language and emotional response as he smells each bottle.

Mark the ones that spur your dog to smell intently or lick. Remember, as soon as he has found the oil of his need, he’ll immediately stop sniffing. If your dog is too nervous, he may try to run off with a bottle, so be ready to stop him in time.

Every animal is clear about the essential oil he needs and he has an acute sense of smell as well to guide his own healing.

dog aromatherapy anxiety

Consider Three Major Responses

Dogs choose to interact with essential oils in three major ways:

#1 – Smelling
#2 – Localized topical application
#3 – Licking

Inhalation is the most powerful, as aromatic scents borne in the oils go straight to the canine brain via his olfactory system, thereby altering the brain chemistry.

Following an inhalation session, you dog may flicker his eyes and go into the trance mode, or even fall into deep sleep. Many people have reported complete clearance of emotional issues after a single session of inhalation only.

Dogs are quite likely to prefer oral ingestion of oils, especially if they’ve a physical health issue, or one that isn’t deep-seated.

Often your dog will indicate his preferred mode of application by pointing at his body with his head, moving into you, or stamping his foot. When he does that, it means that he wants you to apply the oil topically on that particular spot.

Many a time, this is an acupuncture point (in other words, the spot that sees tremendous nerve activity and is thus, maximally receptive to healing touch). When this happens, just rub a few drops of oil into the area.

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Understanding Your Dog’s Responses

When you first offer essential oils to your pet dog, you must be careful of interpreting his responses correctly, so that you follow his directions on how he would like to interact with the oils.

When you observe more and force him less to do your way, your listening skills develop and you become more attentive of him in all the areas of his life. Needless to say, your dog loves that!

To start off, hold the open bottle of his chosen essential oil and signal your dog to come towards it. He may get a little surprised or confused at first, sometimes even wary.

Assuming you have held the oil of his choice, he is most likely to look your way and come closer to you. In case, you choose an oil that’s deterring to him, he’ll just turn away or lower his head to avoid the smell.

best calming essential oils for dogs

Licking lips quickly is also another indication of showing interest towards the oil. On the other hand, a big yawning lick may be indicative of stress, which means that you need to keep the oil further away from him.

Allow your dog to rest at a good distance from the bottle. Don’t try too hard to make him come to you. That way he gets extra cautious and perceives the whole situation as a tough task. In fact, you should even be prepared to see him moving away from it initially.

Allow him to leave if he chooses. As long as your dog remains in the same room as you with his nose pointing in your direction, it’s a positive response.

using essential oils to calm anxious dogs

The one and only key to success in this endeavor is patience. Don’t try to rush your dog into deciding whether he likes the oil or not; instead, wait quietly and give him plenty of time to get used to its presence in his own comfort zone.

If you see a positive response from him initially, try keeping the bottle around his kennel. That way he gets enough time to acclimatize with the idea of aromatherapy and choose his preferred mode of interaction with the oil.

Remember, not all dogs are the same. They all differ in their personality. So if your dog is the shy kind, he’ll need more time to interact and if he’s very energetic or greedy, he needs to really settle down fully. In this case, it’s your duty to ensure that he gets enough exposure to essential oils before something else grabs his attention!

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Using Essential Oils for Dogs Anxiety

When your dog seems to have approved the oil, ensure to use it in the best possible manner for desired results. For this, dilute each oil individually, with one-three drops in one small spoon of frozen vegetable oil, like olive oil or sunflower.

Following this, offer each diluted portion to your dog separately and note his responses.

Offer the oils around once or twice every day until he shows signs of recovery or seems to have lost interest. Remember, your dog will respond differently to each oil he has selected and the responses will change every day.

In case, he shows a keen response, offer the oils twice per day but for a moderate response, offer it only once a day.

In all probability, your dog will get bored of the oils within approximately five to seven days, at which point, you should be seeing a marked change in the issue.

ALSO READ: Is Oregano Safe For Dogs? What You Need To Know!

Important Precautions

#1 – Ensure to use only the best quality of essential oils for anxiety in dogs. You can avail good quality oils from small companies or online merchants who cater to professional aromatherapists specifically.

#2 – Make sure to dilute essential oils before use. As much as they’re harmless on the system, overuse may result in liver failure and more commonly, skin irritation. Essential oils when undiluted, can even assault your dog’s sensitive sense of smell.

#3 – A tiny amount of essential oil is enough to reap results, so there isn’t any need to take extra risk by using undiluted oils.

#4 – Don’t ever be tempted to mix essential oils with your dog’s food or rub them on him when he doesn’t want to, otherwise this will cause adverse reactions and make way for heightened anxiety.

diffusing essential oils around dogs

How to Buy Essential Oils for Dogs?

If you’re a novice to aromatherapy, you may not have access to the right retailers for buying authentic, therapeutic aromatic scents for your dog. It’s common to end up thinking where to buy lavender oil for dogs?

While there are tons of places to purchase them from, you’ll often notice a considerable difference in cost for the same essential oil at different stores.

These guidelines will teach you how to secure the best quality essential oils for your dog.

1 – Always buy essential oils that come bottled in cobalt, amber or violet glass bottles.

2 – Additionally, look for important information on the bottle regarding the oils. This information may be either printed on the label or given in the store’s brochure and/or website:

  • Scientific name of the essential oil (e.g: Lavandula angustifolia).
  • The common name of the oil (e.g: Lavender).
  • The manner in which the oil was extracted.
  • Country of origin.
  • Exact method of cultivation (e.g. wild harvested, cultivated, organic, etc).
  • Presence of the words: “100% pure essential oil”.

Generally, essential oils are expensive, so do not go for oils that are unreasonably cheap as they are most likely to be adulterated.

Additionally, avoid purchasing essential oils from health food stores or supermarkets.

Are essential oils safe for dogs to smell?


Contrary to chemical agents and drugs, the aforementioned calming scents for dogs are safe, effective and come devoid of major side-effects.

As long as you use essential oils for dog anxiety in limited portions and keep him away from the ones he dislikes, you’re good to go!



Passionate lover of dogs and proud owner of a friendly, mischievous and energetic Golden Retriever named Beethoven! I’m incredibly excited to share my experiences on how best to care for your beloved pet. The more we know, the happier we and our canine friends will be!

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