Are Essential Oils Safe For Horses

Oils Safe For Horses- Vivorific Health Llc

Navigating the world of essential oils for horses can often feel like a maze. With both positive and negative properties needing further research, it's easy to feel lost. Our guide dives deep into this topic, shedding light on safety considerations, recommended oils, potential risks, and how to effectively use these potent botanical extracts with your equine companions.

Ready to embark on this aromatic journey?

Key Takeaways

  • Essential oils can provide various benefits for horses, such as relaxation, pain relief, and immune support.
  • When using essential oils on horses, it is important to consider safety factors such as dilution ratios, skin sensitivity, and allergies.
  • Recommended essential oils for horses include lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus.
  • Potential risks of using essential oils on horses include toxicity concerns if ingested or improperly administered. Consulting with a veterinarian is recommended.

Understanding the Basics of Essential Oils for Horses

Essential oils for horses work by stimulating their sense of smell and can provide various benefits such as relaxation, pain relief, and immune support.

How essential oils work

Essential oils have a powerful impact on horses, harnessing the natural properties of plants for therapeutic purposes. These potent liquids are extracted from various parts of plants - leaves, stems, bark, or flowers - and each oil carries unique benefits.

Essential oils work primarily through two routes in equine care: inhalation and topical application.

Inhalation is a direct pathway to a horse's limbic system, which controls emotions and behaviors — aromatherapy taps into this mechanism. When horses inhale the fragrant molecules of essential oils, these get absorbed by receptors in their noses and trigger responses in the brain that can soothe anxiety or generate alertness, depending on the type of oil used.

Topical application involves mixing essential oils with carrier substances like sweet almond or virgin coconut oil before applying them to the horse’s skin. The diluted essential oils penetrate through a horse's thick skin at a slow pace due to their lipid solubility attribute and reach the bloodstream, where they exert beneficial effects such as killing bacteria or reducing inflammation.

Understanding how these highly concentrated plant essences function helps maximize their potential while ensuring safety in equine wellness routines.

Benefits of essential oils

Essential oils have gained popularity in the equine world due to their diverse benefits that support horses' physical and emotional health.

  1. Lavender essential oil, known for its calming effect, helps reduce horse stress and promote relaxation.
  2. The antiseptic properties of tea tree oil make it a highly effective remedy for skin conditions and infections in horses.
  3. Thyme essential oil is a good expectorant that can be significantly effective in helping horses with respiratory issues.
  4. Basil essential oil provides relief from muscular pain, making it an excellent natural pain reliever for your horse.
  5. Bergamot's calming aroma makes it perfect for promoting emotional health and well-being as well, especially if your horse is experiencing anxious feelings.
  6. Frankincense can support the health of horse ligaments thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
  7. Peppermint refreshes and helps your horse stay healthy by encouraging proper digestion processes when inhaled.
  8. When used topically on your horse after dilution with a carrier like sweet almond oil or virgin coconut oil, eucalyptus can help alleviate minor skin irritations or rashes.
  9. The rich geranium scent is particularly soothing for nervous or agitated horses, adding to the advantages of equine aromatherapy.

Safety Considerations for Using Essential Oils on Horses

When using essential oils on horses, it is important to consider safety factors such as dilution ratios, skin sensitivity, and allergies.

Dilution ratios

Dilution ratios are a critical aspect when it comes to using essential oils for horses safely. The following table illustrates this with recommended guidelines for different situations and uses.

Purpose of UseDilution RatioCarrier Oil Examples
This field is for relaxation and calming1 drop essential oil to 1 teaspoon carrier oil (1:5)Sweet almond oil, Virgin coconut oil
This field is for wound treatment and healing1 drop essential oil to 1 tablespoon carrier oil (1:15)Sweet almond oil, Virgin coconut oil
This field is for general wellness and immune support1 drop essential oil to 1 cup carrier oil (1:20)Sweet almond oil, Virgin coconut oil

Keep in mind that these guidelines are recommendations and should be modified based on the size and sensitivity of the horse. Always consult with a veterinarian for the most accurate information.

Skin sensitivity

One important consideration when using essential oils on horses is their skin sensitivity. Horses have delicate and sensitive skin, which means that certain essential oils may cause irritation or adverse reactions if not used properly.

It is crucial to dilute the essential oils before applying them to a horse's skin to avoid any potential issues. When applied directly, some essential oils can lead to redness, inflammation, blistering, or burning.

This is why following recommended dilution ratios and patch test the oil on a small area of the horse's skin is vital before full application. By taking these precautions and consulting with a veterinarian or experienced professional, you can ensure the safe and effective use of essential oils for your equine companion.


Allergies can be a concern when using essential oils on horses. Some horses may have sensitivities or allergies to certain oils, which could lead to skin irritation or other adverse reactions.

Testing a small amount of diluted oil on a small area of the horse's skin is crucial before applying it more extensively. This patch testing helps determine if the horse has any negative reactions and allows you to adjust the dilution ratio or choose an alternative oil if needed.

Consulting with a veterinarian familiar with essential oils for horses can also provide guidance in selecting safe options and minimizing the risk of allergies.

Are Essential Oils Safe For Horses-Vivorific Health Llc

Recommended Essential Oils for Horses

Lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and eucalyptus are some of the recommended essential oils for horses.


Lavender essential oil is a go-to option for horse owners looking to provide their equine companions with a sense of calm and relaxation. This versatile oil has been found to decrease stress indicators such as heart rate, alert postures, and defecation in horses.

A study published in 2017 even supports using lavender oil to reduce a horse's stress response. By utilizing lavender aromatherapy, horse owners can help their beloved animals cope with stress naturally without resorting to tranquilizers or medications.

Considered one of the best essential oils for horses, lavender oil is commonly used for its calming properties and is associated with relieving stress in these magnificent creatures. Its safety for use on horses further makes it an ideal choice when seeking natural remedies to promote emotional well-being and overall health.


Peppermint essential oil is a fantastic option for horse owners looking to incorporate aromatherapy into their equine care routine. Known for its soothing properties, peppermint can help with various issues that horses may experience.

It can provide relief for digestive problems, cool sore muscles, and joints, and open up the airways to assist with respiratory conditions. Additionally, this invigorating oil can clear the head and relieve mental fatigue in horses, promoting emotional well-being.

Other recommended essential oils for horses include lavender, thyme, oregano, bergamot, basil, chamomile, cedarwood mandarin, eucalyptus, and sweet orange. Peppermint oil is highly regarded among horse people as it offers numerous benefits when used correctly.

Tea tree

One highly recommended essential oil for horses is tea tree oil. Known for its versatility and effectiveness, tea tree oil has a wide range of benefits when used on horses. It can be used as an expectorant to help clear respiratory issues and is also beneficial for maintaining healthy hooves.

However, it's crucial to use caution with tea tree oil as it can be too harsh if not properly diluted. Diluting the oil properly ensures that it remains safe and gentle for your horse's needs.

Tea tree oil shows promise as an insecticide for horses and has even been studied for its efficacy in treating equine streptothricosis. With its potent properties and holistic aromatherapy benefits, tea tree oil is popular among horse owners looking to support their horse's well-being.


Eucalyptus essential oil is popular among horse owners due to its many benefits. This powerful oil has anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in treating or relieving pain in horses with overused sore muscles.

Additionally, eucalyptus oil can open the respiratory tract in horses, making it beneficial for those experiencing respiratory issues. However, it's crucial to remember that essential oils should always be used with caution and proper dilution ratios to ensure the safety of your horse.

When used correctly, eucalyptus essential oil can be highly beneficial for your equine partner's health and well-being.

Oils Safe For Horses -Vivorific Health Llc

Potential Risks and Side Effects of Essential Oils for Horses

Using essential oils on horses can pose potential risks and side effects, such as toxicity concerns, respiratory issues, and skin irritation.

Toxicity concerns

It is important for horse owners to be aware of the potential toxicity concerns associated with using essential oils on their horses. Some essential oils, such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus, can be toxic if ingested by horses.

This highlights the importance of caution and proper usage when it comes to essential oils. Additionally, improper administration of essential oils can lead to side effects such as rashes, and some oils can even be poisonous if absorbed directly through the skin.

It is crucial that horse owners dilute essential oils properly and consult with professionals before using them on their horses to minimize any potential risks. The safety and efficacy of essential oils for horses are still not fully understood, which further emphasizes the need for research-based guidelines and expert advice in this area.

Respiratory issues

Respiratory issues can be a common problem for horses, and essential oils are often used as a natural remedy. However, it's important to understand that not all essential oils are safe for respiratory issues in horses.

Some popular essential oils, like eucalyptus oil, known for its strong aroma, can be highly toxic to horses if ingested or inhaled in large amounts. It's crucial to consult with a veterinarian before using any essential oil on your horse's respiratory system.

On the other hand, some essential oils have been studied for their potential benefits on equine respiratory health. Lavender oil, for example, has been found to have calming properties and may help reduce stress-related breathing difficulties in horses.

Additionally, certain reputable brands like Young Living offer specific blends designed to address breathing difficulties in horses.

Skin irritation

One important consideration when using essential oils on horses is the risk of skin irritation. Undiluted essential oils can be too strong for sensitive horse skin and may cause redness, swelling, or even chemical burns.

It's crucial to always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them topically on your horse. Additionally, certain individuals may have allergies to specific essential oils, so it's important to perform a patch test before using any new oil.

Keep in mind that each horse is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. If you notice any adverse reactions or signs of discomfort, discontinue use immediately and consult with a veterinarian.

Skin irritation is a common side effect if proper precautions are not taken when using essential oils on horses. Some undiluted essential oils can irritate sensitive horse skin or nostrils and result in redness, headaches, blisters, or even chemical burns.

To avoid these issues, it is crucial to properly dilute the essential oils by mixing them with a carrier oil like sweet almond or virgin coconut oil before applying them topically. Additionally, some horses may have allergic reactions to certain essential oils, so performing a patch test beforehand can help determine individual sensitivities.

Proper Usage and Application of Essential Oils for Horses

Properly using and applying essential oils on horses involves conducting patch testing, deciding between inhalation or topical use, and consulting with a veterinarian for guidance.

Patch testing

Patch testing is an essential step when using essential oils on horses. It helps determine if the oil will cause any irritation or adverse reactions. Here are some key points to remember about patch testing:

  • Apply a small amount of diluted essential oil to a small area of the horse's skin.
  • Observe the area for at least 24 hours for any signs of redness, swelling, or irritation.
  • If there is no reaction after 24 hours, using that particular oil on the horse is generally safe.
  • Patch testing should be done every time you introduce a new essential oil or blend.
  • Different horses may have varying sensitivities, so patch testing is crucial for each individual horse.

Inhalation vs. topical use

Inhalation and topical use are two common methods of using essential oils with horses. Inhalation involves allowing the horse to sniff or inhale the aroma of the oil, which can have a calming effect on their emotional well-being.

Horses have a highly developed sense of smell, making them particularly responsive to aromatherapy.

On the other hand, topical use involves applying diluted essential oils directly onto the horse's skin. This allows for easy absorption of the oil into their system and can be beneficial for addressing physical ailments like muscle soreness or skin irritations.

It's important to remember that each method has its own benefits and considerations. Inhalation is more suitable for addressing emotional concerns in horses, while topical application should only be done as needed and with proper dilution ratios.

Consulting with a veterinarian

It is essential to consult with a veterinarian before incorporating essential oils into your horse's care routine. Veterinarians have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you in determining the best essential oils for your horse's specific needs and health conditions.

They can provide valuable insight into proper usage, dilution ratios, and potential interactions or contraindications. Consulting with a veterinarian ensures that you are using essential oils safely and effectively, optimizing their benefits for your horse's well-being while avoiding any possible risks or complications.

Remember, while aromatherapy can be beneficial for horses, it should always be done under professional guidance to ensure the safety and health of your equine companion.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil has several health benefits including: supporting the immune system, alleviating stress and reducing insomnia.

Vivorific’s peppermint essential oil is: 100% Pure and natural, free from fillers, additives and harmful chemicals, vegan and kosher certified and sealed with tamper evident closure and Euro style dropper cap. 

Best Practices for Using Essential Oils on Horses

Ensure the quality and purity of essential oils, properly store them, and monitor for any adverse reactions - read more to learn about best practices for using essential oils on horses.

Quality and purity

Using high-quality and pure essential oils is crucial when using them on horses. High-quality oils are not only more effective but also safer for use on horses. Lower-quality oils may contain impurities or additives that can be harmful to your horse's health.

It is recommended to avoid lower-quality oils as they may be less safe and effective, especially when it comes to the well-being of your beloved equine companion. Opting for trusted brands prioritizing purity and quality ensures that you provide your horse with the best essential oil experience possible, promoting their physical and emotional health.

Proper storage

Proper storage is essential to ensure the longevity and efficacy of your essential oils. First and foremost, it's important to keep your oils away from direct sunlight. Exposure to light can degrade the quality of the oils and reduce their potency.

Instead, opt for storing them in a cool, dark place like a cupboard or drawer.

Additionally, temperature fluctuations should be avoided as much as possible. Extreme heat or cold can also impact the quality of the oils and alter their chemical composition. Aim for a consistent room temperature environment to maintain their integrity.

Monitoring for adverse reactions

To ensure their well-being, it is crucial to closely monitor horses when using essential oils. Here are some important steps to follow:

  1. Observe your horse's behavior and reactions after applying essential oils.
  2. Look for any signs of discomfort, such as itching, redness, or swelling on the skin.
  3. Monitor your horse's respiratory system for any coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing.
  4. Pay attention to changes in appetite, digestion, or energy levels.
  5. Keep an eye out for any behavioral changes, including restlessness or lethargy.
  6. Regularly check for signs of allergic reactions, such as hives or excessive scratching.
  7. Consult with a veterinarian if you notice any unusual symptoms or concerns.
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In conclusion, while essential oils can offer potential benefits for horses, it is crucial to approach their use with caution. Safety considerations such as dilution ratios and patch testing should be followed, and it is important to consult with a veterinarian before using essential oils on your horse.

While some essential oils may provide positive effects, there are also potential risks and side effects that need to be taken into account. By practicing proper usage and adhering to best practices, you can ensure the well-being of your horse when incorporating essential oils into its care routine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is aromatherapy?

A: Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses natural plant extracts, known as essential oils, to promote physical and emotional well-being.

Q: Are essential oils safe to use on horses?

A: Yes, essential oils can be used on horses when used properly and with caution. It is important to use high-quality oils and to dilute them with a carrier oil before applying topically.

Q: What are the best essential oils for horses?

A: There are several essential oils that are beneficial for horses, including lavender, chamomile, peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil.

Q: How are essential oils used on horses?

A: Essential oils can be used on horses by diluting them with a carrier oil and applying them topically or by diffusing them in the air. It is important to follow proper dilution ratios and only use a small amount at a time.

Q: What are the benefits of using essential oils on horses?

A: Using essential oils on horses can help with relaxation, stress reduction, respiratory support, skin healing, and immune system support.

Q: Can essential oils help with horse care?

A: Yes, essential oils can be a valuable addition to horse care routines. They can help with muscle soreness, skin conditions, hoof care, and overall well-being.

Q: Can essential oils and aromatherapy be potentially harmful to horses?

A: When used properly and with caution, essential oils, and aromatherapy are generally safe for horses. However, it is important to use high-quality oils, follow proper dilution guidelines, and observe any adverse reactions.

Q: Why are essential oils easily absorbed by horses?

A: Horses have a highly permeable skin, allowing essential oils to easily be absorbed into their bloodstream.

Q: Are essential oils highly concentrated?

A: Yes, essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts. Only a small amount is needed for them to be effective.

Q: Are diluted essential oils significantly effective for helping horses?

A: Yes, diluted essential oils can still be significantly effective for helping horses. Using the proper dilution ratios to ensure safety and effectiveness is important.


  1. Effect of Aromatherapy on Equine Heart Rate Variability. (2018, May 26). Effect of Aromatherapy on Equine Heart Rate Variability - ScienceDirect.
  2. Getting Started with Essential Oils for Horses. Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

  3. Peppermint Oil: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, and Safety Risks. Peppermint Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Side Effects.

  4. DVM, MSc, S. O. (2021, September 14). Using Essential Oils in Horses? Consider the Pros and Cons – The Horse. The Horse.


  6. Essential Oils for Horses. Tribute Equine Nutrition.

  7. Poutaraud, A., Guilloteau, L., Gros, C., Lobstein, A., Meziani, S., Steyer, D., Moisan, M. P., Foury, A., & Lansade, L. (2017, November 30). Lavender essential oil decreases stress response of horses. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 16(2), 539–544.

  8. Cox, A., Wood, K., Coleman, G., Stewart, A., Bertin, F., Owen, H., Suen, W., & Medina‐Torres, C. (2020, August). Essential oil spray reduces clinical signs of insect bite hypersensitivity in horses. Australian Veterinary Journal, 98(8), 411–416.

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