Essential Oils for Dogs: An Insider’s Guide to the Skin and Coat Care Benefits
Here we’ll explore how essential oils can help redeem (or maintain) a furry friend's furrificosity—from addressing uncomfortable itches to cleaning up slobbery messes—all while staying within boundaries of safety and feasibility. So buckle up and let’s get started on our journey into understanding what makes these powerhouses such an excellent choice when selecting products for every part of your pup‘s self-care routine.More
While essential oils have been around for a very long time, in more recent years, their popularity has seemed to have picked up. Especially when it comes to healthy skin and hair.
So what happens when a Chemical Engineer co-founds a pet company and formulates an all natural dog shampoo? An entire line of shampoos and conditioners formulated specifically for your dog’s sensitive-skinned, heavy-shedding, or non-shedding needs is born, utilizing the many natural benefits of essential oils. PRIDE+GROOM, a line of luxury dog grooming products, was founded in February 2020 by four female entrepreneurs, one of whom happens to be a Chemical Engineer.
The main idea was to have a beauty line for dogs with clean products that smell amazing and are designed for good performance during the grooming process. Every PRIDE+GROOM formula contains its own unique blend of essential oils and sustainable ingredients chosen for dogs' specific coat and skin types.
Patricia Machado was born in Brazil. She is a chemical engineer who also specializes in marketing. Before moving to the U.S. to be with the love of her life, she worked for over 10 years in the oil and pharmaceutical industries.
Patricia confesses that she’s always been obsessed with washing her Shih Tzu, Leo. Over the years she tried all of the high end products that purported to clean a dog’s fur and leave it smelling amazing, but she was never satisfied. She didn’t particularly like the way Leo smelled or the way his fur felt after returning from the groomers.
Having a degree in chemical engineering, Patricia mused about formulating a better product, one made from essential oils and clean ingredients that would also smell amazing. So when a couple of Manhattan-based friends approached Machado about starting a business together, the spark of an idea was already there. Why not create a solution for this problem that surely affected other dog owners, too? Machado, along with Regina Haymes, Jane Wagman, and Heather Perlman, founded Pride + Groom, a line of luxury dog grooming products, in February 2020.
When it comes to the ingredients and health benefits, Pride + Groom focuses on a specific set of essential oils. “Our product has a lot of unique oils, such as niaouli, marshmallow root, flaxseed and quinoa. We use a lot of natural ingredients that are truly beneficial for both the skin and the coat. Every ingredient comes from vegetable sources, not chemical sources,” Machado said.
The moisturizing products smell divine, thanks to all-natural ingredients like calendula extract for soothing itchy skin, marshmallow root for healing hot spots, and jojoba seed oil for unclogging hair follicles.
Are you considering using essential oils for your dog(s) or cat(s)? We are here to break down everything you need to know about how to safely and effectively use essential oils with your dog.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavor, or “essence.” Unique aromatic compounds give each essential oil its characteristic essence.
Essential oils are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with carrier oils to create a product that’s ready for use. The way the oils are made is important, as essential oils obtained through chemical processes are not considered true essential oils.
Whether it’s for relaxing aromatherapy or a natural way to repel bugs, millions of people use essential oils daily. And like many other things you have around your house, you might be wondering if you can use them for the same purposes on your dog, too. Because here's the truth, some essential oils are safe for dogs, and others are bad (or potentially toxic) for them.
Understanding Essential Oil(s):
Have you ever asked why plants contain essential oils?
One reason is that they can’t move to escape threats. Instead, they produce compounds to repel predators and pathogens.
How can the body absorb essential oils?
The body can absorb essential oils into the bloodstream through various methods:
Ingestion (eating or licking)
Through the skin
Once the oils get into the bloodstream, they can travel to various tissues and have numerous benefits.
Different chemicals in the oils have a biological affinity for certain tissues. So knowing your oil’s components is the first step in choosing the right oil that is safe for your furry friend.
Essential oils are very powerful, especially for animals. You need to make sure the ones you choose are safe for dog(s) or cat(s). Even tiny amounts can have powerful biological effects on every system of the body. Although essential oils are not new, the research into them is. Ironically, while most studies (unfortunately) start on animals and progress to humans, the look into the science behind essential oils has mostly only been done on human subjects.
Why Use Essential Oils In Dog Grooming Products?
Patricia says “all of our products contain essential oils that are used to treat and clean a dog’s coat and skin. Many of the oils we use are also widely used in the best natural beauty products on the market, such as jojoba oil, coconut oil and almond oil.”
What are the most popular pet safe essential oils used in beauty and skincare products?
Here are the reasons why these three oils are commonly used in many beauty and skincare products, for both humans and dogs:
It’s nontoxic and hypoallergenic, and it's safe to use on your fur babies. If your kitty or dog's skin is dry and they suffer from excessive scratching, rub this oil on their problem areas once or twice a day for natural itch relief.
It’s nutrient-dense and can be a great addition to your pet’s diet in safe, small amounts, whether added to dog food, as a supplement, or applied to the skin. Rich in fatty acids and healthy saturated fats, coconut oil may have the following benefits for dogs:
Makes a dog’s coat extra shiny
Can relieve allergies and itchy skin
Kicks bad breath
Improves cognitive function in pets
Boosts the immune system
Increases energy levels
Helps eliminate fleas and ticks
Possesses antifungal properties
Treats arthritis and ligament issues
Soothes dry skin, skin conditions, infections, hot spots, dry paw pads, and cracked noses when applied topically (and it’s ok if they lick it off!)
A great first aid or wound care option
It's great for dry and itchy skin. Just massage it into your dog's coat and let its soothing qualities do their job. Sweet almond oil also has anti-inflammatory properties and can be a light sun protectant.
Why PRIDE+GROOM Grooming and Skincare Products Are Different:
“My two favorite oils are a real beauty secret, not only for dogs, but for us women too. That’s why I chose to include them in our products. The first one is marshmallow root. Many people with very curly hair know about this amazing essential oil, which is gold in color and has a very unique fragrance, along with powerful detangling properties. We use it in our NON SHEDDER shampoo formula and our customers are always amazed with how much easier it is to comb their dog’s hair after using our shampoo.” Patricia says.
Marshmallow Oil for dogs
Marshmallow Oil: It can nourish and detangle, condition dry skin and hair, prevent breakage, restore damaged locks, and prevent irritation caused by dry skin and scalp.
“The second essential oil that we use in our pet grooming products is immortelle oil, also known as helichrysum oil. This magical gift from nature has skin healing properties. It is used in my personal favorite skin care products (sometimes I even add a few drops into a regular moisturizer). The results on my own skin inspired me to incorporate it into our PAW BALM formula, as I noticed that during the winter and summer, or just from walking on the streets of New York City, my dog’s paws were always dry and had small cuts.” Patricia says.
Helichrysum Oil (Immortelle Oil) for dogs
Helichrysum Oil (also known as Immortelle Oil): though quite expensive, this essential oil contains many therapeutic properties which are beneficial for pets, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties as well. It acts as an antioxidant, helping to detox your dogs. Helichrysum oil also has antimicrobial and antibacterial components which is great for treating cuts and injuries. It's one of the best essential oils for skin problems in pets.
How To Use Essential Oils For Your Dogs
There are many ways to use all of these oils safely for your dog, however, keep these things in mind:
Understand purity/dilution -- While you definitely want to have the purest form of essential oil to use on your dog, more is not always better. In fact, many oils can be harmful if applied directly, so diluting them is essential. As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t be using oils that are more potent than 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.
Think about the other members of your household -- Dogs may not be your only animal friends at home. Some oils that are safe for dogs are not safe for other pets, like cats. Be mindful of which oils you use and how you use them to make sure it’s safe for everyone at home.
Using essential oils topically -- The safest way to use these oils for dogs is by infusion or topical application. You can either put the diluted oil on your hands and pet your dog, rubbing the oil onto the skin, or mix it into their bath products. Please note, you should NEVER use pure essential oils directly on your pet’s skin (without your veterinarian’s recommendation). Pure essential oil is far too concentrated to be beneficial and will likely cause skin irritation and discomfort. Using products, like PRIDE+GROOM’s shampoos, where the essential oils are already properly formulated, will save you a lot of time and research, as they already contain the perfect essential oil blend.
Harmful Essential Oils for Dogs:
Some essential oils (such as tea tree oil or peppermint oil) are actually very bad or even toxic to dogs and cause a sleuth of adverse effects including breathing problems, muscle tremors/weakness, fatigue, rash, redness and burns, vomiting, and even collapse. Remember, it is important to diffuse essential oils and research different oils before using them.
Note: if your dog shows any of these signs at any time, stop what you’re doing and contact your veterinarian or holistic vet immediately!
Some common essential oils that are harmful or bad for dogs include:
Keep in mind this isn’t an exhaustive list, so be sure to do your research before using new oils. Your best bet is to call your vet and ask them the risks and benefits before you use any oils.
Air fresheners, oils labeled as having a "calming effect" or "relaxing effect," and ones that combat stress may cause serious issues for a dog, impacting their central nervous system or blood pressure. Always consult a veterinarian or a holistic veterinarian first to use essential oils safely.
Essential oils should be used with caution, even with "dog-safe" options! It is best to consult your vet when you have specific questions about essential oils for a dog (or a cat!) When you know how to use essential oils for dogs in a safe way, it can give you another effective tool to help make their life as happy and healthy as possible. Remember not to allow your dog to ingest them, store them safely, and choose only essential oils that are known to be safe.
The benefits of essential oils in a dog or a cat, especially when it comes to skincare and coat care, are incredible.
Are there any other essential oils that your dog loves? We want to hear all about it in the comments below!