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Is Frankincense Safe for Dogs?  

Golden lab sitting on a couch with frankincense essential oil coming out of a diffuser

Surrounded by an ever-expanding world of wellness, you’re probably wondering how natural remedies and supplements can help not only you but your beloved pet too. Although they have been used in herbal medicine for centuries, essential oils have exploded into the mainstream in recent years. One lesser-known example is an aromatic oil called frankincense, sometimes known as olibanum. If you’ve only ever heard of frankincense in relation to gold and myrrh, don’t worry — you’re not alone. While often used as a fragrance in perfumes, the botanical extract may also possess myriad beneficial health properties.  

With new products and ancient ingredients available on the market, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Intrigued by essential oils but still asking yourself: Is frankincense safe for dogs? Let’s delve into this aromatic world and explore. 

Table of Contents:

What is Frankincense? 

Frankincense is an essential oil distilled from the resin tapped from the Boswellia tree, a genus native to tropical regions of Africa and Asia, though its population is under threat due to exploitation and pest issues. The aromatic oil has been used for millennia in traditional medicine, spiritual practices, and aromatherapy — it was even central to the mummification process in ancient Egypt!  

Across cultures, the oil has been used both topically and orally to treat gastric, respiratory, and circulatory issues. The fascination with frankincense persists today — it is often touted as possessing anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and even anxiolytic properties. Modern clinical studies have established frankincense’s potential for treating conditions like asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and anxiety conditions, among others. However, more research is needed to support the potential health benefits of this intriguing ancient oil.  

When it comes to pet care, frankincense may be added to supplement and skincare products as a holistic approach for various health issues in dogs, including anxiety, arthritis, and skin conditions.  

Is Frankincense Safe for Dogs? 

The answer as to whether frankincense is safe for dogs is dependent on multiple factors. There’s no black and white when it comes to holistic healthcare for dogs — each animal is an individual that will respond differently to various therapies. PetMD classifies frankincense as a “pet-safe essential oil.” While the risks are generally low, when it comes to oils, it’s essential to consider the following:  

  • Ask the Expert: Before incorporating any new supplement into your dog’s routine, consult with your veterinarian on whether frankincense may be suitable for your pooch. They can provide personalized advice based on your dog’s health history, existing conditions, and individual needs. 
  • Quality Counts: Ensure that the frankincense used in your pet care products is of high quality and sourced from reputable suppliers. Low-quality or adulterated frankincense may pose risks to your dog’s health. 
  • Dosage: Like any supplement, the key to ensuring safety is moderation. Follow the recommended dosage guidelines, and consult your veterinarian before introducing frankincense to your dog’s routine. 
  • Individual Sensitivity: Dogs, like humans, can react differently to substances. Monitor your dog for any signs of allergies, adverse reactions, or changes in behavior when introducing frankincense-based products. 

How Can Frankincense Potentially Benefit My Dog? 

  • Anti-Inflammatory: Frankincense contains compounds that may help reduce inflammation, making it potentially beneficial for dogs with arthritis or joint pain. 
  • Anxiety Relief: The calming aroma of frankincense is believed to have anxiety-reducing effects, which may be beneficial for dogs experiencing stress or separation anxiety. 
  • Skin Health: Frankincense may aid in maintaining healthy skin and coat, making it a valuable addition to products designed for skin conditions or allergies. 

The Bottom Line

While frankincense may offer potential benefits for dogs, remember there are no scientific studies to support its effectiveness in treating health conditions. Frankincense holds promise as a natural addition to pet care products, offering potential benefits for dogs’ joint health, anxiety, and skin conditions. However, responsible pet ownership requires thorough research, adherence to recommended dosages, and consultation with a veterinarian. With the right precautions in place, frankincense may be a valuable ally in the pursuit of optimal wellness for our beloved canine companions. 

For more information about pet health and wellness, check out the ElleVet blog. We offer resources and tools for all pet parents looking to support their pets’ health and wellness.  

Sources: 

https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-frankincense-essential-oil

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27117114

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2605614

https://www.petmd.com/dog/general-health/are-essential-oils-safe-for-dogs

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