Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? Benefits of using Lemon Essential Oil | Alternative and Preventive Measures

Lemon essential oil, known for its invigorating citrus scent and numerous benefits for humans, has been a topic of discussion among pet owners in recent years. As with many natural remedies, the use of essential oils for pets requires a balanced understanding of both potential benefits and risks. For dogs, lemon essential oil can serve as a natural insect repellent, potentially warding off fleas and ticks.

Furthermore, its calming aroma might help soothe anxious dogs, and it possesses antiseptic qualities that some believe can be useful for minor wound cleaning. According to an article published by the International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol 306, 2019, Lemon essential oil has antimicrobial influence and can help one get rid of pathogens on skin [1].

However, while these benefits make lemon essential oil seem like a promising addition to a dog’s holistic care regimen, there are significant concerns to address. Although lemon essential oil is safe for dogs, one of the foremost issues is the risk of citrus toxicity. Lemon essential oil contains citronellal when ingested by dogs or even applied topically in high concentrations, can be harmful around your dog, leading to skin irritations, digestive upsets, and in rare cases, respiratory issues. Consult your veterinarian before your make your dog to try any new element to in its routine.

What Is Lemon Essential Oil?

Lemon essential oil is a concentrated liquid extracted from the lemon fruit, specifically from the peel. Essential oils are toxic if they are not diluted properly. Lemon essential oil is commonly obtained through a process called cold pressing, wherein the lemon peel is mechanically pressed to release its oils. On occasion, it can also be produced using steam distillation, though cold pressing is the preferred method to retain the oil’s aromatic and therapeutic qualities.

The resulting oil encapsulates the fresh, zesty aroma of lemon and is rich in compounds such as limonene, beta-pinene, and gamma-terpinene. These compounds contribute to the oil’s distinctive scent and its potential therapeutic properties. According to the European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 2013, Lemon essential oil is filled with antioxidants and helps for a healthy skin glow [2]. 

Lemon essential oil is prized for a variety of uses. In aromatherapy, its uplifting and refreshing scent is believed to boost mood, reduce anxiety, and improve focus. It also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, making it a popular addition in natural cleaning solutions. According to the Flavor and Fragrance Journal, Lemon essential oil in skin care, is sometimes used for its astringent and brightening qualities [3]. 

However, like all essential oils, lemon essential oil is potent and should be used with caution. One should always be careful while using a lemon essential oil. It should always be diluted appropriately when applied topically, and it’s essential to ensure that its use is suitable for the intended purpose, especially when considering its application on pets or ingestion.

How Is Lemon Essential Oil Derived?

Lemon essential oil is derived from the peels of the lemon fruit, capturing its fresh and zesty aroma. The primary method used for extraction is cold pressing. Here’s a brief overview of the process:

  1. Harvesting and Preparation: Mature lemons are harvested and then cleaned to remove any dirt or contaminants. It’s essential that the lemons are ripe and free from blemishes to ensure high-quality oil.
  2. Cold Pressing: The predominant method for deriving lemon essential oil is through cold pressing or expression.
    • In this method, the lemon peels are mechanically pressed to rupture their oil glands.
    • This pressure releases the essential oil, which is then collected.
    • The oil is separated from the juice and any other by-products using a centrifuge or other separation methods.
  3. Refinement: After extraction, the oil might undergo processes to remove any remaining impurities or particles, ensuring the purest form of the essential oil.
  4. Bottling: Once refined, the lemon essential oil is stored in dark, airtight bottles to preserve its aroma and potency. Exposure to light or air can degrade the quality of the oil over time.

DIY Lemon Essential Oil Blends For Dogs | DIY Recipes For Using Lemon Oil

Recipe #1 – Calming Blend


  1. 3 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 3 drops Lavender essential oil
  3. 30 ml carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil)


  1. Combine the essential oils with the carrier oil in a small bottle.
  2. Shake well before use.
  3. Use in a diffuser or dilute further to apply topically on a dog’s bed or bandana.

Recipe #2 –
Freshening Spray


  1. 4 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
  3. 250 ml distilled water


  1. Mix the essential oils in distilled water.
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle.
  3. Shake well before misting your dog’s bedding or favorite resting spots.

Recipe #3 – Flea Repellent Blend


  1. 2 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 2 drops Cedarwood essential oil
  3. 2 drops Lavender essential oil
  4. 30 ml carrier oil


  1. Mix all the essential oils with the carrier oil.
  2. Store in a dark glass bottle.
  3. Apply sparingly to the base of the dog’s tail and behind the ears to repel fleas.

Recipe #4 – Shiny Coat Blend


  1. 2 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 2 drops Chamomile essential oil
  3. 30 ml carrier oil


  1. Combine the essential oils with the carrier oil.
  2. Massage a small amount into the dog’s coat.
  3. Brush through for a shiny finish.

Recipe #5 – Outdoor Spray


  1. 3 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  3. 250 ml distilled water


  1. Add essential oils to the distilled water.
  2. Transfer to a spray bottle.
  3. Spray lightly on your dog before they go outside to help repel insects.

Recipe #6 – Skin Soothing Blend


  1. 2 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 2 drops Lavender essential oil
  3. 2 drops Frankincense essential oil
  4. 30 ml carrier oil


  1. Mix the essential oils with the carrier oil.
  2. Store in a bottle.
  3. Apply to areas of minor skin irritations, avoiding open wounds.

Recipe #7 – Room Diffuser Blend


  1. 3 drops Lemon essential oil
  2. 2 drops Bergamot essential oil
  3. 1 drop Ginger essential oil


  1. Combine all essential oils.
  2. Add the blend to a room diffuser with the recommended amount of water.
  3. Diffuse in a room for a pleasant aroma that’s also dog-friendly.

Benefits of Using Lemon Essential Oil on Your Dog

According to Nutrition, Well Being and Health Magazine Lemon essential oil, when used judiciously and appropriately, can offer several potential benefits for pets. However, it’s crucial to consult with a veterinarian before introducing any new treatments or products to your pet. Here are some of the potential benefits of lemon essential oil for dogs:

1. Natural Insect Repellent

Lemon essential oil can serve as a natural repellent against certain pests like fleas and ticks. When a proper amount of lemon essential oil is diluted appropriately, it can be sprayed on a dog’s bedding or added to their shampoo to help ward off these pests.

2. Antiseptic Properties

The oil has natural antiseptic properties, which means it can be useful for cleaning minor wounds or abrasions. Again, it’s important to use it in diluted form to avoid any adverse reactions.

3. Calming Effects

It has been found that lemon oil for some dogs might be calming. It can be particularly useful for anxious pets or those that get stressed easily. Using a diffuser in the room, rather than applying the oil directly to the dog, is the safer method to impart these potential calming benefits.

4. Deodorizing

The fresh scent of lemon can act as a natural deodorizer. Spraying a diluted lemon essential oil mixture on dog bedding or using a lemon-infused pet-safe shampoo can help combat doggy odors.

5. Boosts Immunity

There’s some belief that lemon essential oil might support the immune system, though concrete evidence, especially in dogs, is limited.

6. Antifungal Properties

Lemon essential oil has antifungal properties which can help in combating certain fungal infections. However, it’s essential to consult with a vet before using it as a treatment option.

Are Essential Oil Safe For Dogs ? Learn About Safety And Precautions

When using lemon essential oil—or any essential oil—on dogs, safety should be of paramount importance. While lemon essential oil has potential benefits, it also comes with risks. Here are the safety measures and precautions you should consider:

  1. Dilution is Essential: Never apply undiluted lemon essential oil directly onto your dog’s skin. It’s essential to dilute the oil with a carrier oil (like coconut or almond oil) to prevent skin irritations. A general guideline might be 1-2 drops of essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, but always consult with a veterinarian for precise dilution ratios. It’s a good idea on applying essential oils are safe to use topically when diluted.
  2. Avoid Oral Consumption: Dogs should never ingest lemon essential oil. Even small amounts can be toxic if consumed. Ensure that the oil is stored out of reach and that any application avoids areas where the dog might lick.
  3. Monitor for Allergic Reactions: Even with proper dilution, some dogs might be allergic to lemon essential oil. Signs of an allergic reaction include redness, itching, swelling, or hives. If you notice any of these reactions, discontinue use immediately and consult a veterinarian.
  4. Respiratory Concerns: Some dogs, especially those with respiratory issues, might be sensitive to aromatic compounds. Always introduce the scent gradually, monitor your pet’s reaction, and ensure there’s adequate ventilation.
  5. Avoid Eyes, Nose, and Ears: If you’re applying diluted lemon essential oil on your dog’s skin or coat, avoid sensitive areas like the eyes, nose, and ears. These areas are more prone to irritation.
  6. Limit Frequency: Don’t overuse lemon essential oil. Using it occasionally is safer than frequent applications, as it reduces the risk of sensitization or adverse reactions.
  7. Store Properly: Ensure the essential oil is stored in a cool, dark place and out of reach of pets. Proper storage not only maintains the oil’s efficacy but also ensures your pet won’t accidentally come into contact with it.
  8. Consult with a Veterinarian: Before introducing lemon essential oil into your dog’s routine, always consult with a veterinarian. They can provide guidance tailored to your pet’s specific needs and health status.

How To Use Lemon Essential Oil Around Dogs | Best Ways To Use Essential Oils For Dogs

Using lemon essential oil around dogs requires careful consideration and cautious application to ensure their safety. Here are some guidelines and steps on how to use lemon essential oil around dogs:

1. Diffusion

  • Method: Use an essential oil diffuser to disperse the scent of lemon essential oil into the air. This can provide a calming atmosphere for dogs and also help freshen up the living space.
  • Precaution: Ensure the room is well-ventilated and always give your dog an escape route. If they don’t like the scent, they should be able to move to another room. Observe your dog’s reaction to make sure they aren’t showing signs of discomfort.

2. Natural Insect Repellent

  • Method: Mix a few drops of lemon essential oil with water in a spray bottle and lightly mist your dog’s bedding or favorite resting spots. This can help repel insects.
  • Precaution: Always avoid spraying directly on your dog and ensure the mist is light, so it doesn’t leave a heavy residue.

3. Deodorizing Spray

  • Method: Mix a few drops of lemon essential oil with water in a spray bottle. Lightly misting a room or dog’s bedding can help neutralize odors.
  • Precaution: Ensure it’s a light mist and let the bedding or area dry before allowing your dog to come into contact with it.

4. Cleaning Solutions

  • Method: Lemon essential oil can be added to natural cleaning solutions to enhance their cleaning properties and impart a fresh scent. This can be used for cleaning floors or surfaces your dog might come into contact with.
  • Precaution: Ensure the cleaning solution is thoroughly wiped away, leaving no residues that the dog might ingest or come into contact with.

5. Calming Blend

  • Method: Combine lemon essential oil with other dog-safe essential oils like lavender in a diffuser to create a calming ambiance.
  • Precaution: As with any blend, always introduce the scent gradually and observe your dog’s reaction.

General Precautions:

  • Dilution: Always dilute lemon essential oil before using it around dogs. Undiluted essential oil can be too potent and may cause adverse reactions.
  • Introduce Gradually: Introduce any new scent, including lemon essential oil, gradually. Observe how your dog reacts before making it a regular part of their environment.
  • Consultation: Before using lemon essential oil or any other essential oil around your pet, consult with a veterinarian for guidance specific to your dog’s needs.

Alternative And Preventive Measures

If you’re considering using lemon essential oil for specific benefits related to dogs but have concerns about its safety, there are alternative and preventive measures you can explore. Here’s a rundown of alternatives based on common uses of lemon essential oil for dogs:

1. Insect Repellent

  • Alternatives: Natural repellents like cedarwood oil, lavender oil, or eucalyptus oil can be effective against fleas and ticks. There are also commercially available natural flea and tick sprays that use a blend of safe essential oils.
  • Preventive Measures: Regular grooming and flea/tick combing can help detect and remove pests early on. Also, consider preventive flea and tick treatments as recommended by your vet.

2. Calming Effects

  • Alternatives: Lavender and chamomile are known for their calming effects and are generally safe for dogs when used appropriately.
  • Preventive Measures: Ensure a stable environment for your dog, regular playtime, and training sessions to help reduce anxiety. Thunder shirts or calming wraps can also help soothe anxious dogs.

3. Deodorizing

  • Alternatives: Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can be sprinkled (and then vacuumed up) on carpets and dog beds. Natural pet-safe sprays with ingredients like aloe and oatmeal can help freshen up a dog’s coat.
  • Preventive Measures: Regular baths with dog-safe shampoos, frequent grooming, and ensuring a clean sleeping area will naturally help combat odors.

4. Cleaning Solutions

  • Alternatives: Vinegar and water solutions are excellent for cleaning and disinfecting. You can also explore commercially available natural pet-safe cleaning products.
  • Preventive Measures: Regular cleaning, using pet-safe products, and ensuring your dog’s living areas are free of hazards and toxins will reduce the need for intensive cleaning.

5. Skin Irritations

  • Alternatives: Aloe vera gel (without alcohol or additives) or coconut oil can be soothing for minor skin irritations. There are also specialized pet creams and ointments designed for skin issues.
  • Preventive Measures: Ensure your dog has a balanced diet, as many skin issues stem from nutritional imbalances. Regular grooming and checking your dog’s skin/coat for signs of issues can also help catch and address problems early.

6. General Health and Immunity

  • Alternatives: A balanced diet, regular vet check-ups, and appropriate supplements (as recommended by a vet) will support overall health and immunity.
  • Preventive Measures: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, preventive healthcare, and reducing exposure to environmental toxins can all contribute to a dog’s overall health and well-being.


In the world of holistic pet care, the use of lemon essential oil, like other essential oils, has been both championed and scrutinized. While it offers potential benefits such as acting as a natural insect repellent and deodorizer, its use comes with a set of precautions to ensure the well-being of our furry companions. It’s essential to always prioritize dilution, observe your dog’s reactions, and avoid areas of potential ingestion or sensitivity.

Furthermore, there are numerous alternative and preventive measures available that can achieve similar outcomes without the associated risks. As with any change in your dog’s care routine, consulting with a veterinarian is paramount. Their expertise will help ensure that choices made are in the best interest of the dog’s health and happiness.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe for dogs to smell lemon oil?

Lemon oil can be irritating to dogs’ sensitive noses and may cause discomfort or even mild toxicity if ingested in large quantities. It’s best to use caution and avoid direct exposure of lemon oil to your dog. Always consult your veterinarian for specific concerns about your dog’s health and well-being.

Is lemon oil diffuser good for dogs?

It’s safer to opt for pet-friendly essential oils like lavender or chamomile if you want to use a diffuser around your dog, but always ensure proper ventilation and monitor your pet’s reaction for any signs of distress. Consulting with your veterinarian is also a wise step for specific guidance based on your dog’s health and needs.

Is lemon oil spray toxic to dogs?

If Lemon oil spray is sprayed on directly on the skin of the dogs, then, may lead to symptoms such as drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, or skin irritation. One has to make sure to dilute the lemon essential oil spray. 

Do dogs hate lemon oil scent?

Dogs don’t necessarily hate the scent of lemon oil, but it can be too intense and overwhelming for their sensitive noses. Some dogs may find it unpleasant, while others might simply be bothered by the strong odour. It’s best to use caution when using lemon oil.

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