Neem Oil For Dogs: What Is It And What Does It Do?

Bottle of Neem Oil and Soap

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Neem oil is extracted from the seeds and bark of the neem tree, which is native to India, and is used as a natural insecticide, pesticide, skin treatment, and more for dogs. It is often chosen as an alternative to medications that repel fleas and ticks, as it is not toxic for dogs and the nasty taste makes dogs less likely to lick it off of their fur. It has many beneficial properties that boost dogs’ overall health, and it is very potent. Neem oil can be mixed with other oils and applied topically, added to shampoo, or made into a spray. It is not recommended for internal use, but the dried leaves of the neem tree can be consumed for additional health benefits. Before you use neem oil or any product on your dog, you should discuss it with your veterinarian, as some dogs may be allergic or sensitive to it, or they may have certain medical conditions or be taking medications that can interact poorly with neem oil. Here is what you should know about neem oil for dogs.

What Is Neem Oil For Dogs?

Close-up of a Neem tree (Azadirachta indica)

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Various parts of the neem tree have been used by Indians for thousands of years to treat many kinds of ailments. Neem oil can be used to treat many similar ailments in dogs. It has natural anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only does it repel insects, but it kills them, and it does so with no known side effects to dogs.

The neem oil is extracted from seed kernels in a similar manner to the way olive oil is extracted from olives. The kernels are pressed and crushed until the oil is juiced out. Pure neem oil is very potent, and it should be diluted before being used to treat dogs. One of the main drawbacks is the smell, which many liken to a mixture of burnt garlic, onion, and coffee. Those who can get past the odor often praise neem oil as a miracle cure for their dogs, and it is known to have benefits for humans, as well.

What Does Neem Oil Do For Dogs?

Beagle dog scratches its body in the wiild flower field.

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One of the most common uses of neem oil for dogs is as a pesticide and insect repellent. It is effective against mosquitoes, mites, internal parasites, fleas, and many kinds of ticks, though it does not protect against brown dog ticks or tapeworms. Many flea and tick medicines that you’d pick up from a veterinarian contain chemicals and drugs that are potentially harmful for dogs, especially if dogs ingest the medication by licking it off of their fur. Neem oil is not toxic, and it has a bitter, nasty taste that tends to prevent dogs from trying to lick it off.

Neem oil can also be applied to relieve itchiness due to food allergies, insect bites, some kinds od mange, dry spots, and chaffing. It can treat fungal infections, ringworm, and atopic dermatitis, and it tends to work quickly. Dog owners report that alopecia due to severe itching generally clears up within a week. Neem oil can fight off infections and microbes that cause itching with its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. Additionally, when neem oil is applied regularly, it is absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin and gives dogs protection from further infections or infestations for some time. It has been shown to purify the blood, support the liver, and improve immune system health. Some report that it also improves the health of dogs’ teeth.

Should I Use Neem Oil For My Dog?

Wet terrier crossbreed dog in bathtub with soap suds all over head and an unhappy expression

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You should consult your veterinarian before using neem oil for your dog. Some dogs may be sensitive or allergic to it, and if you see the signs of an allergic reaction in your dog, including sneezing, coughing, hives, swelling, difficulty breathing, or other symptoms, you should stop using neem oil right away. If your veterinarian gives you the okay, there are several ways you can apply neem oil to your dog, but remember that it is quite potent and should probably be diluted before application.

Some dog owners dilute neem oil with grape seed or olive oil and dab it directly to the places where parasites are most likely to appear, including the head, ears, tail, shoulders, and flanks. This can be done every two or three days as a preventative measure to ward off infections and infestations. This may also be applied to areas of irritation, including sunburns or hot spots, for some immediate relief. To dilute neem oil, you should start with a mixture of one part neem oil to ten parts grape seed or olive oil. If the condition doesn’t clear up, you can increase the amount of neem oil in the mixture.

Neem oil can also be mixed in with dog shampoo. This is usually done by mixing a teaspoon of neem oil with two tablespoons of shampoo. It should only be mixed a few minutes before use, as shampoo will break down the oil in time and make it inactive. The shampoo mixture should be massaged into the dog’s skin and left there for at least five to ten minutes before rinsing.

A neem oil spray can be made with one part neem oil to ten parts warm water. You may wish to mix in mild detergent or essential oils to mask the smell. The mixture should only be made for same-day use, as the oil will become less potent with time. It should be sprayed all over the dog’s body in generous amounts.

A few words of caution. Neem oil should not be applied to open wounds, cuts, or sores, and you should not let it come into contact with your dog’s eyes or let it get in their nose or mouth. Dogs may rub neem oil off on furniture, carpets, or other surfaces, and while it generally washes off easily, you will probably want to keep your dog off the furniture for a while, as the smell of neem oil is not appealing. Allow time for the oil to be absorbed by your dog’s skin before letting them roam where they please.

Do you use neem oil for your dog? Have you seen any benefits? Let us know in the comments below!

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