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Is Lemon Essential Oil Safe for Dogs, Cats & Other Animals?

If you are a dog owner and also a fan of essential oil, it can be difficult for you to choose an essential oil that will not bother your dogs at all.

But if you have heard that some essential oil is not safe for dogs, and now you are in search of a safe essential oil for dogs, this attempt is for you.

Let’s explore which essential oil is safe for your dog and other pet animals

Is lemon essential oil safe for dogs?

Lemon essential oil is not always safe for dogs. It is toxic if ingested in high dosage. It contains such ingredients that can damage liver and irritate skin, nose and eyes. Digestion of lemon essential oil may cause vomiting. Even high dose of this oil may cause liver damage and liver failure.

Lemon essential oil is basically a citrus oil containing linalool and d-limonene. Citrus oil act as antimicrobial agent suppressing the growth of bacteria and fungi and linalool reduce inflammation.

But, this oil also contains insecticide properties (d-limonene) which are harmful to dogs. Such oil can be highly toxic for dogs if ingested.

Digestion of this oil interrupts the digestive tracts and causes vomiting. Ingestion of considerable amount of lemon essential oil (a dose of greater than 5 grams per kg of weight) may also cause liver damage and irritation of skin, nose and eyes.

Vomiting, skin rashes, eye irritation, nasal issues are very common symptoms of digesting lemon essential oil.

This oil may also cause liver failure. Besides, there are some controversy that this oil is sometimes beneficial to dogs.

It relieves pain and anxiety of dogs. But while using them on dogs, certain caution need to be ensured and sensitive parts like eyes, nose should be avoided.

Even using lemon oil diffusers around dogs might be toxic to them. They might fall sick inhaling such oil. Due to their high potency, they might cause irritation to dog’s skin when diffused to their fur.

So, it is very important to keep this oil far away from dogs to ensure their health safety. Diffusers can only be used in the room at the absence of dogs and turned off after a while to protect the dogs from inhaling that oil.

Can dogs smell lemon essential oil? Are dogs allergic to lemon oil?

Smelling lemon essential oil can lead dogs to breathing problems and indigestion. There are many reason for what dogs cannot smell such essential oils.

Smelling power:

Dog’s sense of smell is much stronger than human. In their noses, they carry up to 300 million olfactory receptors, compared to around six million in ours. It is about 10000 to 100000 times better than ours.

So, even a mild smell can be overpowering for them. Using lemon essential oils at home of mild scent can sometimes be overwhelming to dogs and lead to citrus oil poisoning.

Moreover they are highly concentrated and potent. Their high potency can exaggerate the negative impacts of lemon essential oil on dogs. The poisonous nature of lemon essential oil get increased on dogs due to their smelling power.

Toxicity of citrus oil:

Lemon essential oil is basically a citrus oil containing linalool and d-limonene.

Linalool are antimicrobial agent that can prohibit the chances of growth of bacteria and fungi. And d-limonene is considered as pesticides to stop the growth of insects.

These elements are poisonous for dogs. Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent oil made from plant elements. Due to their high potency, they can easily get absorbed to the skin of dogs orally and topically and even through breathing.

So, if the dogs smell undiluted citrus oil, it will damage the respiratory system and they will face breathing difficulties.

Smelling lemon essential oil would be more dangerous for dogs with breathing issues. If dogs get exposed to lemon essential oils and breathe a significant amount of lemon essential oil, they will start to show symptoms of citrus poisoning.

In that case, they should be immediately taken to the veterinarian.

What to do if your dog eats lemon essential oil?

Lemon essential oil contains linalool and d-limonene which are used as pesticides. This elements are highly potent, and due to their high potency, they can get easily absorbed to the skin, plasma membrane and gastro intestinal tracts.

As a result, the liver gets affected and even stop functioning properly. When a high quantity of this undiluted oil is ingested by dogs, it metabolizes in the liver and causes toxicity and even liver failure.

So, exposure of dogs to lemon essential oil or ingestion of it might lead to citrus toxicity which is dangerous for dog’s life.

The symptoms of citrus toxicity are breathing issues, vomiting, skin rashes etc. If your dog show such symptoms, you should instantly consultant with your veterinarian.

To avoid unpleasant circumstances, dogs should be taken to the hospital to evacuate the stomach immediately.

Is lemon essential oil safe for cats?

Lemon essential oil is not safe for cats. Such oils get absorbed to the skin rapidly and may lead to breathing difficulties, liver failure, skin rashes etc. Citrus oils are on top of the list of essential oils to avoid. So, citrus oils cannot not be used around cats, not even as diffusers.

Lemon essential oil is actually a citrus oil containing linalool and d-limonene. Linalool and d-limonene are pesticides which can endanger the life of cat if ingested. This essential oils are chemically highly potent when not diluted.

So, they get absorbed quickly both orally and topically. And exposure to such oil may cause breathing difficulties, skin rashes, weakness and many more.

Moreover, cats, unlike dogs and humans, lack glucuronosyltransferase enzymes, which are liver enzymes essential for safe chemical digestion.

As this enzyme is absent in cats, they cannot breakdown the chemical constituents and the potency of linalool and d-limonene remain in high concentrations leading to liver failure.

Due to this facts, essential oils are more harmful and even deadly to cats than dogs.

Citrus oils are not only mildly allergic but also poisonous to cats. Great exposure of cat to citrus oil lead to breathing difficulties, vomiting, and dysfunction of liver and even liver failure.

As elements present in the essential oil, contain pesticides properties, they provide the great threat to cats.

Avoiding lemon essential oils around cat is also applicable for diffuser. Such diffusers cannot be used at the presence of cats. As oil and water do not mix, the oil remains in its original state even after diffusion.

The concentration remains high. So, when the droplets of diffusers fall on pets, they expose the same risk as ingestion. Even the reed diffusers and evaporator possess the same risk.

Can you use lemon essential oil for fleas and ticks on dogs & cats?

Lemon essential oil can be a remedy for fleas and ticks on dogs and cats. The citrus droplets present in the lemon essential oil can be used for removing fleas and ticks.

But essentials oils are not considered safe to use on or around dogs and cats, especially the unadulterated version.

Due to high chemical potency of essential oils, they are quickly absorbed to the body through the skin, cell membrane and gastro intestinal tracts.

Moreover, lemon essential oils have linalool and d-limonene containing insecticide properties which is dangerous for cats and dogs.

Digestion of this oil may lead to liver damage and skin rashes. So, lemon essential oil cannot be applied to cats and dogs, not even for fleas and ticks. Even, you should be aware of using diffusers containing lemon essential oils around dogs.

Is lemon essential oil safe for other animals or pets?

Lemon essential oil contains linalool and d-limonene which have insecticides properties. Digestion of such properties may affect the health of pets negatively. They can be toxic whether taken internally, inhaled or applied to skin.

Generally, indigestion, vomiting, skin rashes, eye irritation, liver damage, nasal issues are common symptoms of ingesting lemon essential oil. But a high dose of such essential oil might lead to liver failure, respiratory failure, seizure and even death.


Highly concentrated lemon essential oil are not safe for birds. A very small amount, one drop per liter, can be used in the diffuser around birds.


Unlike dogs and birds, lemon essential oil is considered safe for rabbits.

But while using, some cautions should be followed, such as, avoiding nose and eyes area. Exposure of nose and eyes to any essential oil might cause rashes as these portions are very sensitive in nature.

Final Thoughts

Despite having a nice smell, lemon essential oil can be very dangerous for dogs. Apart from having vomiting and digestive problems, such essential oil can lead to much acute health issues. Animal physicians and dog owners suggest to not keep lemon essential oil inside if there is a dog in the house.