Is Sandalwood Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? | Health Risks

Sandalwood essential oil has become very popular recently. But is sandalwood essential oil safe for dogs? As a dog owner, it’s important to understand both the benefits and risks before using it on your furry friend.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about sandalwood oil and dogs.

What is Sandalwood Essential Oil?

Sandalwood essential oil is extracted from the Santalum album tree native to India. The oil has a rich, woody aroma and contains high levels of sesquiterpenic alcohols and esters which give it anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.

These characteristics make sandalwood oil useful for various medicinal and cosmetic applications.

Is Sandalwood Essential Oil Safe for Dogs? | Health Risks

When properly diluted, sandalwood essential oil can be absorbed into the skin and mucous membranes before entering the bloodstream. This allows the active compounds to provide therapeutic effects throughout the body.

However, sandalwood oil’s potency also makes it potentially toxic if used incorrectly.

Is Sandalwood Oil Toxic for Dogs?

While sandalwood essential oil has many benefits, it can be unsafe for dogs depending on dosage and method of use.

  • Ingestion Risks
    • Swallowing sandalwood oil can poison dogs and may cause vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, weakness, breathing issues, and drowsiness. These symptoms generally require emergent veterinary treatment.
  • Absorption Issues
    • Sandalwood oil applied directly to the skin can get absorbed rapidly. This overloaded exposure can irritate the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes.
    • Over time, excessive sandalwood oil absorption may also lead to liver and kidney damage in dogs.
  • Sensitivity in Cats
    • Sandalwood oil is especially hazardous for cats as they lack the liver enzymes needed to properly metabolize essential oil compounds. Using sandalwood oil around cats should be avoided.

So while sandalwood essential oil has some benefits for dogs, it also carries toxicity risks if used incorrectly. Monitoring your dog closely and following dosage guidelines is crucial for safe usage.

Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil for Dogs

When used properly, sandalwood essential oil has several beneficial medicinal effects for dogs:

Topical Uses

Applying diluted sandalwood oil onto the skin or fur can help treat various dermatologic conditions:

  • Relieves itchy fungal and bacterial skin infections
  • Soothes allergy symptoms
  • Repels fleas as an alternative to harsh pesticides

The antibacterial properties of sandalwood oil also make it useful for cleaning and preventing ear and eye infections when applied via cotton swab.


Diffusing sandalwood essential oil aromatically can provide respiratory and emotional benefits:

  • Eases dog flu bronchitis through inhalation
  • Calms anxious or stressed dogs
  • Anti-inflammatory effect reduces nasal congestion

So used judiciously, sandalwood oil can be a helpful complementary therapy alongside conventional veterinary care.

Using Sandalwood Oil Safely on Dogs

To maximize benefits and safety, proper dilution and dosing of sandalwood essential oil for dogs is crucial.

Here are some best practice guidelines:

Dilution Ratios

  • Small Dogs (under 20 lbs): 3 drops sandalwood oil to 15 mL carrier oil
  • Medium Dogs (20 – 50 lbs): 5 drops sandalwood oil to 15 mL carrier oil
  • Large Dogs (over 50 lbs): 5-8 drops sandalwood oil to 30 mL carrier oil

As a general rule, sandalwood essential oil should not exceed 5% concentration in any solution applied topically.

Carrier oils help evenly distribute and prevent overconcentration of sandalwood’s active compounds on the skin. Good options include vitamin E, sweet almond, coconut, and olive oil.

Methods of Use

Use highly diluted sandalwood oil sparingly using these administration routes:

  • Topical – Mix with carrier oil and apply lightly to affected areas
  • Diffusion – Diffuse for only 10 minutes per hour
  • Compresses – Add a few drops to a warm wet towel and apply
  • Sprays – Mix a 0.5-1% solution to mist bedding or fur

Avoid prolonged exposure to sandalwood oil. 10 days on followed by 4 days rest from usage is a good rule of thumb.

Safety Precautions

Take these extra precautions when using sandalwood essential oil on or near dogs:

  • Keep out of eyes, ears, nose, and mouth
  • Monitor closely for skin irritation or gastrointestinal upset
  • Don’t use for puppies or pregnant/nursing dogs without veterinary guidance
  • Ask your vet before using if your dog takes any medications
  • Discontinue use if any worrisome symptoms develop

Following these guidelines will help ensure you and your dog safely benefit from sandalwood essential oil without adverse effects. Monitor closely and ask your veterinarian any questions.

Properly diluted essential oils can be massaged into a dog's skin and fur

Recommended Sandalwood Oil Products for Dogs

Edens Garden Sandalwood Essential Oil – 100% pure therapeutic grade for aromatherapy diffusion. Best for relaxing anxious dogs.

Natural Dog Company Snout Soother – Soothing sandalwood-based balm to protect dog noses. Best for dry, cracked nasal planum skin.


While sandalwood essential oil can help treat certain skin conditions, allergies, and respiratory issues in dogs, it also carries a risk of toxicity if administered incorrectly.

Work closely with your veterinarian to determine if your dog might benefit from cautious sandalwood oil use.

Always dilute adequately, start slowly, and monitor for any signs of intolerance. This beautiful natural oil must be respected for optimal health.