Essential Oils for Dogs with Dry, Itchy Skin

Essential Oils for Dogs with Dry, Itchy Skin

The first time I noticed Maggie scratching at herself more than usual, my first thought was that she had fleas.

After a closer inspection, that didn’t end up being true, but she still continued scratching.

It wasn’t until after I called the vet that I learned that dogs get dry and itchy skin like humans.

It can happen for a variety of reasons.

Some dogs get it from seasonal allergies, while others may have skin issues due to medication they’re on.

I wanted to give Maggie something to provide her some relief, which is when I started reading about essential oils.

They can be very beneficial for dogs with skin problems, so try these out on your dog to see if they help with their uncomfortable itching or dry skin.

The Best Essential Oils for Dry and Itchy Dog Skin

OilLatin NameUseRequires Carrier Oil?Price
AvocadoPersea gratissimaDry Skin, Carrier OilIs One$

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ChamomileMatricaria chamomillaItchy SkinNo$$$$$

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CoconutCocos nuciferaDry Skin, Carrier OilIs One$

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HelichrysumHelichrysum gymnocephalumItchy SkinYes$$

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LavenderLavandula angustifoliaDry SkinYes$$

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NiaouliMaleleuca quinquenerviaItchy SkinYes$$

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Essential Oils for Your Dog’s Dry Skin

While you’ve been petting your dog, you may have noticed something like dandruff in their fur.

That means they have dry skin, although they may not scratch at it like you’d assume.

If your dog has basic dry skin, check out these essential oils that can get your dog’s skin back to normal.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil to moisturize dry itchy rough dog skin

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Lavender is one of those scents that you can find in just about anything.

Soap, air fresheners and even laundry detergents are all made in lavender scents because it’s so fresh and pleasing.

When lavender essential oil is used, it has amazing healing properties for dry skin.

What it Does

Natural lavender oil has antioxidant and analgesic properties[1], which is what makes it so great for skin that’s dried out.

It also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it good for fighting ear infections as well.

Lavender oil heals and moisturizes, all while leaving a popular scent wherever it’s absorbed.

How it Does it

The various healing properties in the oil work quickly to relieve any inflammation and soothe pain[2].

As long as it’s absorbed, it will keep the skin moisturized and protected from dryness.

How to Use this Oil

How to use lavender essential oil to soothe dog painful skin ailments

Dilute this oil in a carrier oil then rub a few drops of oil into your dog’s skin and keep them from licking at it until it’s completely dried.

Repeat daily as needed.

Possible Side Effects

Some symptoms of lavender oil that aren’t common but can still occur can be:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Reduced appetite

Watch your dog carefully after applying lavender oil for the first time to monitor for any of these side effects.

Potential Concerns

If your dog were to grab the container of lavender oil off the counter and drink all of it, they may get lavender poisoning[3].

The symptoms listed as possible side effects are the same for lavender poisoning, but your dog would have to consume a lot of oil to experience any bad side effects.

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Coconut Oil

Fractionated coconut oil skin moisturizer for pet dogs

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You may already use coconut oil in your daily beauty or even cooking routine, but coconut essential oil is great for dogs to use when they have dry skin too.

What it Does

Coconut oil natural repairs your dog’s skin from dryness and even minor abrasions that occur from particularly dry skin.

How it Does it

The secret to coconut oil is the Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs.

They contain lauric acid, which is anti-viral and anti-fungal. Because it’s also a fat, it’s extra moisturizing for skin.

How to Use this Oil

Coconut versatile carrier oil how to dilute soothe dry skin

You can apply coconut oil on your dog once every week[4].

Leave it on for at least five minutes before washing the area clean with soap and water.

If any oil still resides, clean the area again with a gentle shampoo.

Possible Side Effects

Some dogs that lick the coconut oil off after it’s applied experience greasy stools or diarrhea.

Excessive MCTs can irritate a dog’s stomach, which is why it’s advised that your dog not lick the area until after it’s been washed clean.

Potential Concerns

There are a few dogs who should be wary of using too much coconut oil, depending on their situation.

Dogs that gain weight easily or have pancreatitis may be advised to stay away from coconut oil.

Consult your vet if you have any concerns before using coconut oil on your dog.

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Avocado Oil

Avocado moisturizing essential carrier oil for dry canine skin

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Avocado oil is another natural oil that people have become more aware of in recent years.

Because it’s a healthy, natural oil, your dog can benefit from it as well.

What it Does

After your dog’s skin comes into contact with avocado oil, it will be naturally moisturized and less likely to become dry and flake off.

How it Does it

Avocado oil contains essential nutrients like vitamin E, lecithin, and potassium.

These are all great for dry skin and easily absorbed, so they act quickly after application.

How to Use this Oil

Take a little bit of this oil and rub into your dog’s dry skin.

It will spread well on its own, so you won’t need to use much at first.

Keep your dog from licking it off and wash the area after ten minutes if your dog insists on figuring out why their skin suddenly smells so good.

Possible Side Effects

Is avocado oil safe for dog topical skin outside internal eat

On its own, avocado oil won’t harm your dog unless they happen to swallow a large amount of it.

The danger comes in when dog owners think their dog can eat avocados because they can use the oil, but the two aren’t the same.

The skin, fruit, pit, and even the leaves are poisonous to dogs because they contain persin. Persin will result in extreme vomiting and diarrhea[5], in addition to pancreatitis.

Avocado oil doesn’t have persin in it, which is why it’s okay for dogs to use.

Remember to keep the fruit away from your dog and they’ll be safe from any bad side effects.

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Essential Oils for Your Dog’s Itchy Skin

Some dogs just deal with dry skin, but for other dogs, dry skin means itchy skin.

Although essential oils for dry skin will cause some minor relief, itchy skin can be treated much more effectively with the following essential oils.

Chamomile Oil

German chamomile soothe itchy skin dogs how to use precautions

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You may have heard of friends drinking chamomile tea before bed because it’s calming.

As an essential oil, it does the same thing for inflamed, itchy skin.

What it Does

Chamomile oil quickly calms itchy skin so your dog gets instant relief.

It naturally heals and moisturizes as it soothes, which makes it good for doggy arthritis as well.

How it Does it

There are two parts of chamomile that make it so effective: the flavonoids and the terpenoids[6].

While the flavonoids make it a calming tea, the terpenoids are what make it so helpful with skin reactions.

They bind with the skin and act as a natural coolant, soothing inflamed areas.

How to Use this Oil

Roman chamomile not as strong as german chamomile do you have to dilute

Chamomile is a powerful essential oil but it’s one of the few that’s supposedly safe to use undiluted, so there are two ways to use it.

You can rub a few drops into a small area of itchy skin on your dog, or you can dilute it with a carrier oil to rub it on a larger area.

Possible Side Effects

There are no side effects to worry about when using chamomile essential oil as a topical treatment except for sensitivities or allergic reactions.

Potential Concerns

Like with other human products, it’s dangerous for your dog to ingest a large amount of chamomile essential oil or even tea.

They may experience internal bleeding if they drink enough, which is why it’s important to keep this oil away from where they can get it.

It’s also important to note that if your dog has allergies to plants in the Aster family, they won’t be able to handle chamomile[7]. The flower comes from the Aster family, which a small percentage of dogs are allergic to.

Use a tiny amount at first if you’re unsure about your dog’s allergies.

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Helichrysum Oil

Helichrysum essential oil for itchy dog skin uses cautions directions

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Spend some time browsing through essential oils and you’ll eventually come across helichrysum oil, which is great for your dog’s itchy skin.

What it Does

Helichrysum oil calms the skin it’s rubbed into, relieving inflammation upon contact.

How it Does it

The biological makeup of helichrysum oil gives it anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

These allow it to reduce tissue inflammation[8], both internally and externally.

In fact, it can even be used to help fight your dog’s bad breath!

How to Use this Oil

Although it works for humans as an oral and topical treatment, dogs should only receive it topically in small doses.

Dilute it and rub a bit into where your dog itches to provide relief and repeat daily as needed.

Possible Side Effects

Helichrysum is an easy-going and effective essential oil, so as long as it’s used topically, there are no known side effects.

Potential Concerns

In addition to avoiding letting your dog drink an entire bottle of helichrysum oil, dog owners should also avoid this oil if your dog struggles with blood pressure issues.

This oil reduces inflammation and tightens blood vessels around abrasions caused by scratching. That could raise your dog’s blood pressure if it’s used in large quantities.

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Niaouli Oil

Niaouli essential oil for dry skin pets side effects safety tea tree oil

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Although you may not have heard about it before, niaouli oil is something dogs can use for itchy skin related to dryness or allergies.

What it Does

Niaouli oil acts as a natural antihistamine and anti-inflammatory.

It’s often used as a replacement for tea tree oil, which has a much higher toxic potency for dogs[9].

Niaouli oil offers relief with none of the tea tree oil poisoning risks.

How it Does it

Along with other natural components, niaouli oil contains cineole and pinene to immediately reduce inflammation[10].

It also helps heal the itchy skin, closing any minor skin wounds.

How to Use this Oil

Niaouli oil can be rubbed into your dog’s skin or mixed into a natural, moisturizing shampoo for additional coverage and comfort.

Possible Side Effects

When used correctly, there are no side effects to be concerned about regarding niaouli oil.

Potential Concerns

Some dog owners get tea tree oil and niaouli oil confused because they both heal and calm skin.

Make sure you know what you’re buying before you use any oil on your dog, since tea tree oil is highly potent and not recommended for canine use.

Also, pay attention to any sensitivities or allergic reactions.

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Conclusion

When your dog is itching at their skin or dealing with dryness, the vet isn’t your only option to give them some relief.

Instead, try some of these safe and effective essential oils, which should help your dog with mild to moderate discomfort.

Resources

  1. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/681304/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/lavender-oil-for-skin
  3. https://www.healthypawspetinsurance.com/blog/2018/09/04/is-lavender-safe-for-dogs
  4. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/is-coconut-oil-good-for-dogs/
  5. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/can-dogs-eat-avocado/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  7. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/chamomile
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3988595/
  9. https://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/ken-tudor/2014/january/tea-tree-oil-safe-pets-31282
  10. https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/niaouli-oil.asp
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.