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The holidays often make you want to cozy up with a cup of tea or glass of vino and enjoy the familiar scents of the season via candle or diffuser. Embracing the season with familiar and warm scents is part of the magic of the holidays and winter! Sharing our space with dogs means we need to be extra mindful of what we’re putting in the air as they are breathing it in as well.
Heavily fragranced candles are something I avoid year round. I stick to beeswax candles that I put my own essential oils or dried herbs in, or keep them natural. When it comes to essential oils and diffusing a holiday blend, the following list is my go-to. These are safe for adult dogs. Puppies shouldn’t really be exposed to essential oils until six months of age. I avoid the use of essential oils around cats.
Also please keep in mind that there are many woodsy essential oils listed below. As with most woodsy essential oils, they can be irritating to the mucous membranes so keep an eye on if your dog (or you) are sneezing or sniffling around them.
Wintery Holiday Essential Oils that are Safe for Use Around Dogs
Balsam Fir, Abies balsamea, a woodsy aroma distilled from the needles of Balsam Fir trees that reminds you of winter and the fresh outdoors on a cold brisk day. It is also a wonderful oil for calming muscles and joints and can help keep a healthy respiratory system.
Fir Needle, Abies sibirica, another seasonally charged smell with a woodsy smell of the outdoors, this is also great for helping ease congestion.
Cypress, Cupressus sempervirens, Cypress is a spicy and woody oil that carries the scent of evergreen ever so slightly. It also has many therapeutic properties including keeping a healthy respiratory system, and aiding in emotional support and comfort during times of grief and sadness.
Spearmint, Mentha spicata, in the same family as peppermint but much safer and less potent for our dogs. Spearmint is uplifting and can improve concentration and alleviate agitation. It also reminds us of candy canes!
Orange Sweet, Citrus sinensis, one of my favorite essential oils in general - Orange Sweet is so uplifting, cheerful, and also aids in supporting the immune system. It’s great for nervous tension while also reminding us of warmth and joy in this season.
Myrrh, Commiphora myrrha, a familiar word during this season as Myrrh was one of the gifts presented to Jesus when he was born. Myrrh is very powerful in its ability to brighten an individual and create a warm and calming environment. It also creates a great ambiance this time of year. Myrrh is a warm and woody smell.
Tangerine, Citrus reticulata, is a bright and refreshing scent that can help clear the mind. It’s also great for the immune system and even helping an uneasy stomach.
Ginger, Zingiber officinale, a very warm scent that aids in a queasy stomach but also provides a sense of mental clarity that can help in the dark days of winter.
Cedarwood Atlas, Cedrus atlantica, another one of my personal favorites, Cedarwood Atlas is great for the changing of the seasons and change in general. It has a rich woody, sweet and spicy aroma and is known to help with many physical and mental ailments. It’s a great oil that is very safe around dogs and can be added to enhance a seasonal blend!
Skip these essential oils year-round:
Cinnamon Bark & Leaf, Clove, Peppermint, Wintergreen - all are known to irritate the mucous membrane and skin. Since dogs are so sensitive to smells these are considered unsafe to use around or with them.
How do you make a blend using these oils that is not overpowering and safe to diffuse around dogs? I’ll share that in Part 2 of this series!
DISCLAIMER: The content of this website and community is based on the research, expertise, and views of each respective author. Information here is not intended to replace your one-on-one relationship with your veterinarian, but as a sharing of information and knowledge to help arm dog parents to make more informed choices. We encourage you to make health care decisions based on your research and in partnership with your vet. In cases of distress, medical issues, or emergency, always consult your veterinarian.