Pain Relieving Essential Oils for Dogs

Pain Relieving Essential Oils for Dogs

No matter how old your dog is, you want the best for them.

It’s why my dog Maggie gets the best food, the best vet care, and the best toys I can get her.

When Maggie gets uncomfortable, I can’t sit still until the problem has been fixed. In the past, that’s meant changing up her diet or rearranging her daily routine, but in the future it may mean pain management.

If your dog struggles with daily pain, you know the heartache that I’m talking about on a much greater level.

The good news is that going to the vet for heavier dosages of pain medication isn’t your dog’s only option.

Read on to learn about the best essential oils for canine pain relief.

You may find a few that make your dog’s life easier, so you can both get back to enjoying your days together.

Dogs can suffer from emotional pain, too. Click here to learn about essential oils to help with that, too!

Essential Oils for Canine Pain Relief

Many people have become familiar with essential oils because of a recent aroma therapy fad.

Essential oils can be used in your home to help your health while making your place smell better, but they can help dogs too.

Check out these essential oils to see how they could help make your dog’s pain management easier.

Essential OilUseAroma?Topical?Oral? 
ArnicaGeneral and Joint Pain, InflammationNoYesNoBuy Now
ChamomileGI PainNoNoYesBuy Now
CardamomGI PainYesNoNoBuy Now
CoconutJoint Pain, Inflammation, Dry SkinNoYesYesBuy Now
GingerJoint Pain, InflammationYesNoNoBuy Now
HelichrysumGeneral Pain, CongestionYesYesNoBuy Now
LavenderJoint Pain, AnxietyNoYesYesBuy Now
PeppermintJoint PainNoYesYesBuy Now
Sweet MarjoramGI Pain, Inflammation, AnxietyNoYesNoBuy Now

Joint Pain Relief

Older dogs over the age of seven often struggle with aching joints and stiff muscles[1].

It’s an issue that they share with humans, and like humans, they can use essential oils to make getting around easier.

Ginger OilArtizen joint pain relieving therapeutic grade ginger essential oil

Although you may have only seen ginger as a spice or a tea, ginger oil is also an essential oil that’s great for relieving joint pain in dogs.

How It Relieves Pain

A recent 2018 study found that when ginger oil was given to rats, it prevented inflammation by leveling kidney function molecules or markers[2].

How to Use This Oil

You can get an essential oil diffuser and have it emit eight drops of ginger oil mist around where your dog relaxes.

If they breathe it in for at least 10-15 minutes at a time, it will help keep joint pain at bay.

Possible Side Effects

Ginger has been known to thin the blood in dogs, so if your dog is pregnant or has blood sugar or blood pressure issues, talk with their vet to decide if ginger essential oil is right for them.

Product Recommendation

Peppermint OilNow essential oils peppermint safe for dogs how to apply orally

If you notice your dog struggling through a joint flare up, it’s time to get out the peppermint essential oil.

How It Relieves Pain

Peppermint is a naturally-found herb that has anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-spasmodic effects.

That means it has the ability to relax muscles and joints, which is related to the menthol it contains.

Menthol increases blood flow which creates a cooling sensation, relaxing muscles and relieving pain[3].

How to Use This Oil

You can give your dog peppermint oil by rubbing it into their skin or putting a few drops in the back of their mouth.

Your dog may feel faster relief if it’s rubbed over the painful joints, but putting three to five drops in their mouth will be just as effective.

Possible Side Effects

Although peppermint oil is safe for dogs to use, some dogs may have an unknown allergy or sensitivity to it.

More than a few drops could lead to mint poisoning, including symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea[4].

That’s why it’s not advised that you use an essential oil diffuser with peppermint.

A few drops is a much more controlled treatment that’s safer in case your dog has a bad reaction to it.

Product Recommendation

Lavender OilCliganic essential oil lavender review for puppy anxiety and pain

Lavender oil may already be in your house if you like essential oils, since it’s such a popular scent.

If used correctly, it can also reduce your dog’s joint pain.

How It Relieves Pain

Lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it works quickly to relieve any flare ups your dog may be experiencing.

A 2015 study showed that topical application of lavender oil brought pain relief comparable to Tramadol, which is a prescription painkiller[5].

How to Use This Oil

Because dogs have extra sensitive noses, it’s best to give your dog an oral dose of lavender oil for pain relief.

Otherwise, the oil may overpower their senses and cause discomfort.

Give your dog two to three drops by mouth, and if you want to rub it into their skin, dilute three to five drops to reduce the odor for them.

Possible Side Effects

If your dog is accidentally given an overdose of lavender oil, either by receiving too many drops orally or by standing next to a diffuser, they may have symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Constipation
  • Respiratory problems

Using a little bit of lavender oil at a time will help your dog benefit from it while adjusting to the dose.

Product Recommendation

Gastrointestinal Pain Relief

As dogs age, they may also experience gastrointestinal upsets and issues that are caused by inflammation.

Vets may prescribe medication, but you can also try out these all-natural essential oils for pain relief.

Chamomile OilGya Labs roman chamomile essential oil uses for pet dogs

You may have relied on chamomile tea in the past to calm you down after a long day, but chamomile oil can do the same thing for your dog’s digestive tract.

How It Relieves Pain

Chamomile is a natural anti-inflammatory herb, so it’s commonly used to help dogs recover after allergic reactions.

If it’s ingested, chamomile will relax your dog’s stomach muscles and relieve GI pain.

How to Use This Oil

Put two to three drops of this oil into the back of your dog’s throat for proper digestion.

They should feel relief almost immediately, although vets discourage long-term internal use of this oil.

Plan to only use it occasionally, and talk with your dog’s vet if your dog’s stomach is continuously upset when the oil isn’t used.

Possible Side Effects

Some dogs have a natural allergy to chamomile, so watch for any allergic reactions.

Itching, rashes, and hives are all signs that your dog’s system doesn’t tolerate chamomile and should stop taking it immediately.

Product Recommendation

Cardamom OilNature's oil organic cardamom essential oil for dog GI pain stomach upset

As one of the few essential oils dogs can inhale, cardamom makes it easy to relieve any pain related to your dog’s inflamed digestive tract.

How It Relieves Pain

The enzymes in cardamom work quickly to relax the digestive muscles and move food along, which may be causing cramping or inflamed bowels.

How to Use This Oil

Place five to seven drops in a diffuser and let your dog breathe in the diffused oil for at least ten minutes.

They should start relaxing as the cardamom works, so anxious panting or pacing will stop.

Possible Side Effects

Because cardamom focuses on mainly the digestive tract, the regulation of your dog’s appetite is a common side effect.

This is especially beneficial for older dogs who are also going through chemotherapy or are taking medications that make them want to eat less.

Product Recommendation

Sweet Marjoram OilNature's Oil sweet marjoram essential oil organic

If you’re looking for a two-in-one solution to your dog’s inflamed bowels and skin, sweet marjoram oil is what you want to use.

How It Relieves Pain

Sweet marjoram oil has anti-inflammatory properties that begin working immediately after it’s used.

It relaxes the nervous system, muscles, and skin that it comes into contact with.

How to Use This Oil

Most dog owners give their dogs sweet marjoram oil by rubbing it into an area of skin that’s become inflamed.

Rubbing this over your dog’s belly will help calm their digestive tract while it heals any irritated or inflamed parts of their skin.

Possible Side Effects

Known side effects of sweet marjoram oil are things like improved mood and healed bacterial infections.

Along with relieving pain, this oil regulates hormones related to canine depression and acts as an antiseptic.

Product Recommendation
Sweet Marjoram essential oil can also be used to freshen up your stinky dog

Anti-Inflammatory Pain Relief

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where your dog’s pain is coming from.

Your vet may diagnose them with an inflamed nervous system, but not know what exactly caused it.

You can still help your dog by using one of these general pain relievers.

Helichrysum OilArtizen Helichrysum pure natural essential oil for general pain relief and congestion

Helichrysum oil is all about healing and relieving pain.

It’s easy to use and will help make your dog more comfortable quickly.

How It Relieves Pain

The helichrysum herb has been used medicinally for centuries.

It has antiseptic properties, but is mainly used for healing and pain relief by burning the herbs or transforming them into an oil.

How to Use This Oil

This oil can be put in a diffuser for your dog to breathe in or it can be rubbed into your dog’s skin. Either way is equally effective.

Possible Side Effects

If your dog is struggling with mucus in their lungs while you use helichrysum oil on them, they may experience thick coughing to expel the mucus.

This is because the oil will help clear out their lungs, which is a positive sign that it’s working.

Product Recommendation

Coconut OilFractionated coconut oil for dry skin inflammation and joint pain

It seems like everyone’s using coconut oil these days, especially dogs.

I’ve been told by the vet to rub coconut oil on Maggie’s paw pads when they’re dry, but it can also be used as an essential oil.

How It Relieves Pain

The secret to the power of coconut oil lies in the medium chain triglycerides (MCT) it contains, which is a healthy fat.

MCT fats relieve pain while also improving digestion, skin health, and your dog’s metabolism.

How to Use This Oil

Even for humans, this oil is extremely potent.

You should only ever give your dog a drop or two at the most, and diluting it is a good idea.

The most effective way to use this oil is to rub it into your dog’s skin above areas that are in pain, like joints.

Possible Side Effects

If your dog comes in contact with too much coconut oil, it could cause some minor diarrhea or burping.

Product Recommendation

Arnica OilArnica oil good for dog joint pain inflammation apply topically

Arnica oil is another essential oil you can use to help your dog feel less pain.

You may have to search for it in specialty stores or online, but it will be worth it.

How It Relieves Pain

Arnica is a naturally occurring herb that acts quickly to open up capillaries and even drain lymph nodes.

Swollen capillaries are one common reason why dogs experience muscle and joint pain, so arnica oil gets right to the source of the problem.

How to Use This Oil

You can rub this essential oil into your dog’s skin where they need the most relief.

It may be smart to make your dog wear a cone for the first half hour after application, since this oil has a strong scent and may encourage them to lick it all off.

Possible Side Effects

Because arnica oil opens the capillaries, it should not be used by dogs who take blood thinning medication or who have open wounds.

Product Recommendation
Are fleas causing you trouble? Find out how to use essential oils to fight flea infestations!

Dangers to Avoid With Essential Oils

Once you’ve found the right essential oil or two for your dog, you should know what to avoid doing so your dog isn’t accidentally hurt.

Safely diffusing essential oils canine aromatic therapy without danger

Essential oils can overwhelm sensitive dog noses, so never trap your pup near a diffuser!

Diffusing Undiluted Oils

Dogs have extremely sensitive noses, so if you put undiluted oils in a diffuser, they could become quickly overwhelmed.

It’s best to dilute your chosen essential oil with water, so your dog can get more exposure time and stay comfortable.

Also, always set up the diffuser so your dog can leave the area if they need to.

Eating Essential Oils

You may think that putting a drop or two of essential oil on your dog’s food will help them digest it, but that’s not true.

Mixing oils with food gives the oil less time to be absorbed into your dog’s system, which can shock their body into painful side effects.

Certain essential oils are also best absorbed through the skin, so they’re not meant to be digested.

It’s safer to keep essential oils away from where your dog will eat them.

Drinking Essential Oils

Can you give essential oils to dog in water dish danger efficacy

Keep oil out of your dog’s water dish

Another issue comes up when owners put essential oil into their dog’s water bowl.

It’s all too easy to put too much oil in the water because it looks like it’ll be diluted.

Remember, oil and water don’t mix!

Your dog may also not get enough of the oil as they need if they only stop by their water bowl for a few sips.

Giving Essential Oils to Puppies

Essential oils are all-natural, but that doesn’t mean puppies can digest them.

A normal dose of essential oil for a dog will be much larger than what a puppy would need, so it’s best not to give puppies any essential oils until they’re over ten weeks old.

Conclusion

You don’t need to pay for expensive prescription medication if your dog deals with daily pain.

While you should always listen to what your vet recommends, you can also give your dog essential oils to manage their pain.

Read about which essential oils could be right for the kind of pain your dog experiences and make sure you learn the correct way to use it. If you do, pain relief will be just around the corner for your dog.

Resources

  1. https://www.southbostonanimalhospital.com/blog/6-signs-your-dog-could-be-experiencing-early-arthritis
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30305562
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peppermint-tea
  4. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/mint
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26247152
About the author

Emily Pierce

Emily Pierce is a self-published novelist, award winning short story writer, and freelancer. When she’s not writing, she enjoys baking and making clothes for dogs.