How to Give Your Dog Aromatherapy Massages

10 - 30 Minutes
1 Week


Your dog is a lean, keen smelling machine! Since smell is such an important sense to your dog, aromatherapy should be extra effective. Aromatherapy is the use of essential plant oils for therapeutic effect. Effects can be both physical and/or behavioral. Incorporating essential plant oils and the principles of aromatherapy and massage therapy can be very beneficial as physical properties of plant oils provide antibacterial, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects. Aromatherapy also provides relaxing or stimulating effects, depending on the essential oils used, which complements massage therapies. As part of a massage therapy, aromatherapy can be used topically, with essential oils diluted in a carrier oil and applied as a massage oil, or essential oils can be diluted in a diffuser and distributed while a massage is taking place. It is very important to remember that not all essential oils are appropriate for use with dogs, as some can be toxic. Also, essential oils need to be diluted in a carrier oil, and since your dog is often smaller than you are, smaller amounts of essential oils are adequate to provide therapeutic effects.

Dog's Perspective

A dog's sense of smell is much more powerful than our own, and aromatherapy can be very effective for your dog, as he will definitely pick up the scent of the oil. However, this same sensitivity can also make your dog too sensitive to essential plant oil aromas. Be sure to dilute essential oils and use smaller amounts for a smaller, sensitive dog.  Remember that dogs are not people, some plant oils can be toxic to dogs and make your dog sick. Make sure to use non-toxic essential oils, use appropriate amounts for your dog's size, and dilute essential oils appropriately.

Caution & Considerations

  • Avoid oral administration, except under the supervision of a holistic veterinarian.
  • Use 100% pure essential oils that are safe for dogs, and dilute in carrier oils or water for diffusers. Remember if your dog is smaller than you, he needs a smaller dose than you would use.
  • Do not use aromatherapy with epileptic dogs, as scents can trigger seizures.
  • Check with a holistic veterinarian before using aromatherapy on a pregnant or lactating dog.
  • Keep essential oils away from the eyes, ears, and mouth.


The use of aromatherapy with massage is a common practice for humans, why not for your dog! Just remember that not all essential oils are appropriate for dogs, as some plants are toxic to dogs. Make sure you check with a reliable reference, like a holistic veterinarian or veterinary pharmacist for beneficial essential oils, dosage and dilution ratios.  Applying essential oils directly to the skin can be therapeutic, especially if your dog has a skin condition that could benefit from topical use of essential oils, like a fungal or parasitic infection. Aromatherapy can also be administered by diffusing scent in the air, for a calming effect on your dog. Whatever method you choose, your dog can benefit from the healing and soothing effects of aromatherapy, and so will you!

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