Is Lavender Safe for Dogs?

Is Lavender Safe for Dogs?

While lavender is a popular fragrance among humans, it may not be safe for your furry, four legged friends. Finn is here with everything you need to know on how this common herb affects your dog.

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While lavender is best known as a fragrance, it has slowly made its way into the dietary and supplement realm. Lavender lattes, lavender essential oils, and even lavender capsules have been popping up more frequently in stores and advertisements. 

As a pet owner, you may have wondered if these benefits can extend to your perfect pup. Is lavender safe for dogs? Let’s talk about it. 

Is Lavender Oil for Dogs Safe, and How Can It Help?

In humans, lavender oil is mainly praised for its ability to help reduce stress and anxiety. But is lavender oil for dogs just as helpful? And more importantly, is it safe? 

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is complicated. 

First of all, the ASPCA considers lavender to be toxic to dogs (as well as cats and horses). If ingested, the plant can cause nausea, vomiting, and inappetence. These symptoms can be traced to a single dangerous component known as linalool. Even though your dog would need to ingest a large amount of it to begin to show signs of toxicity, it’s not a situation you want to find yourself in accidentally. 

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The only way to safely use lavender to help relax your dog is through aromatherapy. While research is minimal, the studies on using lavender oil for dogs show that it can be safe. However, you must know the safe way to utilize aromatherapy to help your dog feel less stressed out to help you avoid any accidental toxicity.

Using lavender oil for dogs in aromatherapy involves placing a few drops of essential oil in areas your pet frequents. For instance, lavender oil in their bed or on their favorite blanket can give them a space to retreat to when they get overwhelmed. The key is to keep the lavender oil away from places where they may accidentally ingest it or get it on their skin.  

Remember, a dog’s sense of smell is at least 1,000 times stronger than ours. Lavender is already a strong scent, so it can easily overwhelm your dog. 

Why It’s Important to Help Your Dog When They’re Stressed

Lavender oil for dogs is cited as helpful with reducing feelings of stress and tension. This is important because our furry friends cannot speak up and tell us when they feel overwhelmed or stressed out. That means it is up to us as pet owners to step in and help them relax before things get out of hand. 

Recognizing the Signs of Stress in Your Pet

Every dog is different. Each comes with a distinct personality, and the way they deal with stress can also be individual. 

That’s what makes you love your pet so much, right? You know your pup better than anyone, so always trust your gut. If you feel like something is wrong with them, you’ll likely be the first to pick up on it.

What that said, there are a few common signs of stress in dogs. If you notice any of the following, especially if they are unusual for your pet, it’s time to investigate further.

  • Excessive paw licking — Have you ever bitten your nails when you were stressed? Dogs can do something similar as a way to self-soothe when their anxiety levels start to climb. The reasons why dogs lick their paws can vary, but excessive paw licking may signify that your dog is feeling overwhelmed. Make sure to have medical causes ruled out as well, though. 

  • Growling — Growling is a complicated issue, as misinterpreting it can be dangerous (it is one of the top indicators that your dog may bite). However, growling is a form of verbal communication, and it is intended to get a point across. It’s up to you to interpret what that point may be so that you can diffuse the situation appropriately.   

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  • Pacing — Stressed-out dogs often pace around the house as a way to diffuse their excess, anxious energy. If your ordinarily relaxed dog has started pacing, see if you can figure out what’s bothering them. Don’t physically try to stop them from pacing, though. We’ll discuss why in a moment.  

  • Whale eye — Not every sign of stress in dogs is active. Some are easy to overlook or misread. Whale eye is one of those signs. When a dog shows you whale eye, it looks like they are showing you the whites of their eyes. This may be the only sign indicating they are anxious, but many dogs will do this right before biting. 

What Can Happen If Your Dog Is Stressed?

Stress can have a few negative repercussions on your dog’s life, especially if it is allowed to continue for more extended periods. It can have a significant impact on their immune system, for example. Dogs who spend most of their lives anxious also tend to spend more of their lives ill because their bodies constantly focus on keeping them afloat.

More specifically, chronic stress and anxiety can lead to frequent tummy troubles for your pup. If you’ve ever been nervous about something and found yourself running to the bathroom every five minutes, you know the feeling. 

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Dogs experience the same issues, resulting in either vomiting or diarrhea (or both). In some highly stressful situations, your dog may develop a condition known as stress colitis, a very uncomfortable GI issue characterized by bloody diarrhea.

Stressed dogs are also more likely to bite, even if they don’t necessarily mean to. Even the most beautiful, loving dog can snap when they feel like they have no other option. Don’t let your dog feel like they have to bite to get you to acknowledge their stress. Instead, work to help your furry friend reduce their tension before things get out of hand.

How Can I Help My Dog De-Stress?

Although lavender oil for dogs may be safe, it’s not a risk that some pet owners are willing to take. The good news is that there are plenty of other ways that you can help reduce your pup’s anxiety without lavender.

Finn’s Calming Aid is formulated with natural calming ingredients like melatonin, chamomile, and L-theanine to help promote an overall sense of calm and relaxation in your pet. These ingredients help support dogs during feelings of nervousness, hyperactivity, environmentally-induced stress, and discontentment. Just read the label to give your dog the appropriate number of beef liver chews every day to help them feel more at ease. 

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In addition, try to figure out what your dog’s stressors are so that you can work to eliminate them as much as possible. It may be that your dog becomes anxious when they sense that you are leaving for work or that they start to pace or chew their feet when people come over to the house. 

Keep a special toy that your dog only gets when you go to work, or cut back on the number of people you have over (and make it a positive experience by having them bring treats!). You’ll be amazed by how much of a difference simple environmental changes can make in your dog's life and stress level. 

Finally, this may be hard to hear, but there is always a possibility that you are the source of your dog's stress. This often comes down to the difference between how humans communicate with each other and how dogs do. 

For most of us, when we start to feel anxious, we seek others to be around us and support us (often physically, like a hug). On the other hand, dogs tend to be more solitary and run away or hide when they are stressed out. 

When your dog is stressed, and you try to pick them up, snuggle them, or even be physically close to them, it may make them even more anxious. Try to remind yourself to give your dog some space when they are anxious, and don’t force yourself onto them if they are trying to get away. For your dog, giving them that space shows them the love and support they need to feel calmer. 


While the scent of lavender may be relaxing, it is not something that belongs in your dog’s diet. Instead of using lavender oil for dogs for anything other than aromatherapy, develop an arsenal of tactics you can go to when your dog starts to show signs of stress. 

At Finn, we create supplements based on trusted nutrition, pairing a fresh approach with better ingredients. Our goal is to help you provide your dog with the best life possible so that you can enjoy a long, happy life together. 

Looking for a little guidance on what supplements may benefit your pup? Take our free consultation here


Lavender | ASPCA 

How To Tell If Your Dog Is Stressed: Body Language And Warning Signs | AKC 

Aromatherapy for travel-induced excitement in dogs | PubMed 

Principles of Pharmacologic and Natural Treatment for Behavioral Problems - Behavior | Merck Veterinary Manual



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