Dogs hold a special place in our lives, don’t they? As our forever cherished companions, they bring boundless joy, loyalty, and love into our homes and lives. Therefore, ensuring their well-being is paramount, and grooming plays a pivotal role in keeping our furry friends healthy and content.
In recent years, the use of essential oils has gained popularity in pet grooming routines. These natural extracts offer aromatic and potential health related benefits, thus enriching the grooming experience for pets. From rosemary relax to calming lavender to refreshing peppermint, essential oils have found their way into various pet grooming products, promising to soothe, cleanse, and even repel pests.
However, amidst this trend, concerns arise about their safety, especially when it comes to our canine companions. One such query looms large: “Is Orange Essential Oil Safe For Dogs?” To unravel this, it’s crucial to delve deeper into the properties of orange essential oil and its potential effects on our beloved pets.
What is Orange Essential Oil?
Orange essential oil, (sometimes also called sweet orange essential oil) extracted from the peels of oranges through a process of cold pressing, has within it the essence of this citrus fruit. Its invigorating, sweet, and tangy aroma has made it a star in the category of self-care and aromatherapy. In the world of self-care, orange essential oil shines for its refreshing and uplifting qualities (like most citrus fruits). It’s often hailed for its ability to boost mood, alleviate negative emotions, and renew one’s sense of vitality. Its bright fragrance finds its way into various beauty and wellness products, from lotions and bath oils to candles and diffusers, promising a burst of energy and a delightful sensory experience.
Aromatherapists frequently make use of orange essential oil for its potential therapeutic benefits. Its aroma is believed to possess calming properties, assisting in relaxation and promoting a sense of well-being. It’s also celebrated for its alleged ability to stimulate mental clarity and focus, making it a favorite in spaces where concentration and creativity are sought. The 2017 issue of Cyta – Journal of Food published a study that highlighted the chemical composition and health-based properties of orange essential oil. 
The popularity of orange essential oil in self-care routines and aromatherapy hinges on its versatile nature, offering both a delightful fragrance and therapeutic effects that cater to various aspects of wellness. However, when it comes to our furry companions, a critical question arises: Is this beloved essential oil safe for our dogs?
Is Orange Essential Oil Safe For Dogs?
Determining the safety of orange essential oil for dogs requires a nuanced understanding of its properties and their potential effects on our canine friends. While orange essential oil boasts numerous benefits for humans, its use around dogs demands caution and knowledge.
Orange essential oil contains compounds / components like b-myrcene, a-Pinene, limonene and linalool, which can be toxic to dogs in concentrated amounts (emphasis here on concentrated amounts). When used undiluted or in high concentrations, these compounds may cause skin irritation, digestive issues, or even more severe reactions in dogs. Additionally, dogs have a heightened sensitivity to certain essential oils due to their different metabolic processes compared to humans.
Direct application (applying topically) of undiluted / concentrated orange essential oil on a dog’s skin or fur is generally discouraged due to the risk of irritation or allergic reactions. Ingestion of significant amounts of orange oil can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal issues in dogs.
Given these possible risks, many veterinarians advise against using orange essential oil directly on dogs or in areas where they frequent, such as living spaces or kennels. If considering the use of any essential oils around pets, consulting with a veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the use of essential oil for animals is highly recommended (by us) to ensure the safety and well-being of your furry companion.
As much as we may cherish the benefits of orange essential oil in our own self-care routines, when it comes to our four-legged friends, their safety and health should always take precedence.
How to Use Orange Essential Oil On and Around Dogs?
When it comes to using orange essential oil around dogs, it’s crucial to prioritize their safety and well-being. While direct application of undiluted oil is generally discouraged due to the risks it poses to dogs, there are safer ways to incorporate orange essential oil in a dog-friendly manner:
Use a high-quality diffuser to disperse diluted orange essential oil in a room where your dog spends time. Ensure proper ventilation and keep the diffuser in an area inaccessible to your pet to prevent direct contact or ingestion. Ensure proper ventilation so that the dog does not inhale too much of the odor as it may aggravate anxiety.
Dilution in a Carrier Oil
If considering topical application, always dilute orange essential oil significantly in a pet-safe carrier oil like coconut oil, jojoba oil or olive oil. Use extremely small amounts and perform a patch test on a small area of your dog’s skin to check for any adverse reactions before wider application. Orange oil has flea repellent properties that can keep the dog and its kennel insect free. Research published in peer reviewed journal Veterinary Sciences on November 2020, investigated the effectiveness of essential oil in veterinary medicines. 
Proper dilution via a carrier oil or shampoo will clean the fur and get rid of the flea in the fur, thus offering relief.
DIY Pet Spray
Create a diluted spray by combining a few drops of orange essential oil with a large amount of water or a pet-safe base such as witch hazel. Lightly mist your dog’s bedding or favorite areas with this diluted spray, ensuring it’s dry before allowing your dog near the treated areas.
Consult a Professional: Before using any essential oils around your dog, especially if considering it for specific purposes like calmness or skin issues, consult a veterinarian who is well aware of essential oils for pets. They can provide tailored guidance and ensure the safety of your furry companion. Remember, every dog is unique, and their reactions to essential oils, including orange oil, can vary. Always observe your dog closely for any signs of discomfort or allergic reactions when introducing new scents or products. Prioritize their safety by using minimal amounts, ensuring proper dilution, and seeking professional advice when in doubt.
Side Effects of Orange Essential Oil for Dogs
Orange essential oil, popular for its aroma and potential health benefits, can pose certain risks and side effects when used around dogs:
Direct contact with undiluted orange essential oil can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions in dogs. This might have symptoms such as redness, itching, or inflammation on the skin. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin and pet owners must be wary of the concentration of oil that comes in touch with the dog.
Ingestion of significant amounts of orange essential oil, either by licking the bottle or a concentrated spill or consuming a product containing high concentrations of the oil, can lead to digestive issues in dogs. This might include vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach upset.
Dogs have sensitive respiratory systems, and exposure to strong aromas from concentrated essential oil particles in the air might cause breathing difficulties or irritation in some dogs.
Central Nervous System Effects
In rare cases, inhalation of high concentrations of essential oil could potentially affect a dog’s central nervous system, leading to symptoms like lethargy, weakness, or other abnormal behavior. Essential oils are safe, but toxic to dogs when ingested in large amounts. Sweet orange essential oil can help with canine aromatherapy, but be wary of the quantity used.
Some dogs might be allergic to specific active ingredients in orange essential oil, leading to more severe reactions such as swelling, difficulty breathing, or hives.
It’s essential to always dilute orange essential oil significantly and use it sparingly around dogs. Additionally, closely monitor your pet for any signs of discomfort or adverse reactions when introducing new scents or products. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Precautions To Follow While Using Orange Essential Oil For Dogs
When it comes to using essential oils around dogs, including orange essential oil, it’s crucial to exercise caution due to their unique physiology and sensitivity to certain compounds. Here are key precautions to follow:
· Avoid Direct Contact: Dogs lack certain enzymes in their liver, specifically glucuronyl transferase, which makes them particularly sensitive to essential oils. Never apply orange essential oil directly onto your dog’s fur or skin. Always dilute.
· Diffuse Safely: If using a diffuser, ensure it’s placed in an area out of reach to your dog and that there’s proper ventilation in the room. Allow your dog an escape route from the room where the diffuser is operating.
· Dilution and Minimal Use: If recommended by a veterinarian (again, one who knows about essential oils for pets), consider highly diluted solutions for topical use, but only under guidance (preferably of an aromatherapist). It’s generally safer to avoid direct application entirely.
· Monitor for Reactions: Dogs might exhibit signs of distress if they come into contact with orange essential oil. Watch for symptoms like excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty breathing, lethargy, or changes in behavior. If observed, seek immediate veterinary care.
· No Ingestion: Prevent your dog from licking or ingesting any products containing orange essential oil. Ingestion can lead to gastrointestinal upset or more severe issues due to their inability to metabolize certain compounds.
· Quality and Purity: Ensure you’re using high-quality, pure essential oil sourced from a reputable supplier. Avoid synthetic fragrances or diluted oils with unknown additives, which might be more harmful to your dog.
· Consult a Professional: Always consult a veterinarian experienced in essential oil use for dogs before using any oils around them. Dogs have specific sensitivities, and professional guidance is essential to ensure their safety.
When it comes to pet care, the allure of essential oils, including the vibrant scent of orange essential oil, beckons. Yet, when it comes to our beloved furry companions, due diligence is key. While these oils may offer benefits for us, the safety and well-being of our pets, be they dogs or cats, stand as the ultimate priority.
Understanding the potential risks, seeking professional guidance, and approaching their use with meticulous care ensures we enhance our pets’ lives without compromising their health. The journey to a harmonious coexistence of essential oils and our faithful companions demands vigilance, knowledge, and an unwavering commitment to their safety.
- composition, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activities of orange essential oil and its concentrated oils. CyTA-Journal of Food, 15(1), pp.129-135.
- Ebani, V.V. and Mancianti, F., 2020. Use of essential oils in veterinary medicine to combat bacterial and fungal infections. Veterinary sciences, 7(4), p.193.