Is Patchouli Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? | Health Risks

Patchouli essential oil is growing in popularity for its earthy, musky aroma and uses in aromatherapy and skincare. But is it safe to use around our furry canine friends? In this post, we’ll explore the benefits and risks of patchouli oil for dogs.

What is Patchouli Essential Oil?

Patchouli oil comes from the leaves of the patchouli plant, which is native to tropical regions of Asia. To extract the oil, the leaves are put through a process called steam distillation. This separates the oil from the plant matter, giving us the final product we know as patchouli essential oil.

The oil has an intense earthy, musky fragrance. Some describe it as incense-like or reminiscent of wet soil. Because of its strong and unique scent, patchouli oil is commonly used in perfumes, incense, and aromatherapy.

patchouli leaves and extracted essential oil

When diffused, patchouli oil can have relaxing and uplifting effects. It’s also added to skincare and haircare products for its purported benefits like anti-aging and moisture retention. With so many uses for humans, it’s tempting to share patchouli oil with our canine companions! But is it safe? Let’s take a look.

Potential Risks of Patchouli Oil for Dogs

While there are many benefits of patchouli for people, the oil may cause some adverse effects in canines. Potential side effects include:

  • Skin irritation or inflammation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Digestive upset like vomiting and diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties

The strong scent and chemical composition of patchouli oil is very concentrated. Terpenes and other compounds in essential oils can be irritants for a dog’s sensitive skin and respiratory system.

Pets like dogs and cats also seem to lack some of the enzymes needed to properly metabolize oils. Their bodies don’t process the oil as efficiently as humans. This makes dogs more prone to negative reactions from essential oil toxicity.

Using patchouli oil incorrectly could cause your dog to become unwell

Diffusing patchouli oil around dogs appears to be low risk, but it’s still important to be cautious. Limit diffusion times to 30 minutes or less at one time. Always provide pets an escape route from the room with diffused oils. Never apply oils directly near your dog’s face or airways.

Using Patchouli Oil Safely with Dogs

While patchouli essential oil does require some safety precautions, it can be used carefully with dogs. Here are some tips:

Dilute Oils Before Topical Use

When applying patchouli oil to your dog’s coat or skin, always dilute with a carrier oil first. This helps prevent irritation. Coconut oil is an excellent carrier for dogs. Mix 1 drop of patchouli with 10 drops coconut oil before use.

Avoid Sensitive Areas

Never apply patchouli oil undiluted or near your dog’s eyes, nose, mouth, genitals or open wounds. These areas are extra sensitive.

Diffuse Cautiously

Limit diffusion time to 30 minutes or less. Keep diffusers in well-ventilated rooms and switch to intermittent settings. Allow your dog to leave the room at any time.

By following these precautions, patchouli oil can be inhaled and applied topically for dogs in moderation. But it’s always best to consult your vet before trying any new essential oil.

Choosing the Safest Oils for Dogs

If you want to use aromatherapy around dogs, some essential oils are safer than others. The Young Living line of oils is extremely high quality, but also pricey. Oils like lavender, ginger, and frankincense have calming and soothing properties for dogs when used appropriately.

You can also look for sprays, wipes, shampoos and other products designed just for dogs that contain gentler oil blends. Always read labels carefully and check for proper dilutions. Ask manufacturers for safety data sheets if in doubt.

Choose dog-friendly essential oil products when using aromatherapy around pets

While patchouli offers certain benefits, oils like lavender and frankincense tend to be gentler for dogs. Buy high-quality products and take precautions whenever using essential oils around canines.

Assessing Patchouli Products for Dogs

As we’ve discussed, using undiluted, high-concentration patchouli oil directly on dogs carries risks. However, some companies create patchouli-based formulas specifically for dogs. When shopping for these products, here are some tips:

  • Look for ones labeled as dog shampoos, grooming sprays, coat spritzers, etc. This indicates they’re pet-safe.
  • Check that patchouli is not the only oil. Blends are gentler.
  • Call the company to ask about safety data or ingredient concentration.
  • Search online for the product name and look for reviews about dog safety.
  • Test carefully on a small area first and watch your dog’s reaction.

Taking these steps helps ensure the product was designed with dog health in mind versus harsher traditional oils. An example is this water-based spritz with a diluted patchouli and lavender formula. Always patch test before wider use.


Patchouli essential oil has some fantastic therapeutic uses for humans. But its strong concentration means this earthy oil should be used cautiously around dogs. Look for properly diluted products designed specifically for canine use.

When diffusing patchouli, limit exposure times and provide adequate ventilation. With some care, you can safely incorporate this beneficial oil into your dog’s environment. Just remember to keep safety first when using aromatherapy or any natural oils with pets!