Benefits of Neem for Dogs

Neem leaves and neem oil benefit dogs in numerous ways. The leaves can be used to boost the immune system of dogs in general, and to repel intestinal parasites. Neem oil can also be used to treat skin problems, repel fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks. Read this page to see how neem can benefit the health and wellbeing of dogs.

Puppy with Leaves Are you using neem oil and/or leaves regularly for yourself and your dog? If not, I highly recommend that you keep some at home. Neem is versatile and effective as a safe home remedy for a number of health issues, both for people and dogs.

Not sure what exactly neem is? Read on... This page will focus on using neem for dogs.

Uses and Benefits of Neem for Dogs

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What Is Neem?

Neem Leaves Neem (Azadirachta indica) is a tree that grows in tropical places such as India, Africa, the Middle East, etc. It belongs to the Mahogany (Meliaceae) family.

Neem oil is pressed from the seed kernels of the neem tree. The neem seeds are rich in oil and various compounds; therefore neem oil is considered to be the most powerful and concentrated "essence" of the neem tree. One compound that is of particular interest is azadirachtin, which has proven to be effective as a pesticide against about 300 insect species and, the good news is, it is non-toxic to humans and dogs. It works by interfering with the hormones of the pests, making them "confused", so they stop eating, mating, and reproducing! Another compound is salannin, which is also a powerful insect repellent that has been found to be more effective than DEET.

There are different kinds of neem oil and not all of them are of the same quality. Be sure to get one that is organic, unrefined, and "cold pressed", since heat destroys the active compounds, making the oil less potent and effective.

Neem leaves are rich in quercetin (a flavonoid), which has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Neem leaves also contain compounds such as azadirachtin; therefore the leaves can be used to repel insects as well.

Other compounds in neem are just as beneficial - They can relieve pain and reduce fever, and as such neem is often used to heal wounds such as cuts, burns, sprains, as well as arthritic pain.

Recent studies have found that compounds in neem oil and leaf extract may have anti-cancerous properties. Some studies show that the compounds may be able to slow or stop cancer cells from growing.

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How Can Dogs Benefit From Neem?

The medicinal power of neem can be safely used to benefit our dogs.

In particular, we can use neem oil and leaves on dogs for the following:

Skin Problems

Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, neem oil relieves dry skin and soothes skin irritations and itching. Because of the oil's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, it can also be used to treat dog skin infections, scabies, ringworm, acne, and ulcerations. If your dog has any of these problems, make a neem shampoo (see below) and use it to wash the dog.

To treat a serious case of skin problem, in addition to shampooing your dog, you probably need an additional remedy. Try diluting pure organic neem oil in a carrier oil such as almond oil (1 part of neem oil to 10 parts of carrier oil), and apply the oil mixture to the affected areas.

For whole body treatment, it is better to use neem leaves to make an herbal tea rinse.


The tea can also be put in a spray bottle and you can use it as an insect repellent. You can also spray the tea on your dog for minor skin irritations and problems.

Add about 3 tablespoon of organic dried neem leaves to 2 cups of water (at room temperature). Let the leaves soak overnight. In the morning, strain the tea through cheese cloth and use the tea as an after-shampoo rinse (or just sponge the tea liberally over affected areas).

Yeasty Itchy Paws

If your dog is prone to yeast infection and is constantly licking and chewing on her itchy paws, try using neem leaves to make an herbal tea (see above) and use it as a foot soak.


Got a crispy "hot dog"?? If your dog has stayed out in the sun too long and got a red sunburned tummy, add 4-5 drops of neem oil to your dog's shampoo and bathe your dog in cool water. The neem oil can soothe and heal the skin.

Insect Repellent

Neem oil benefits dogs by acting as a natural insect repellent. Added to shampoo, we can use it to repel fleas, mosquitoes, and to some extent, ticks (it is not too effective against the brown dog tick).

If, like me, you live in an area where there are lots of mosquitoes in the summer, you need added protection in addition to the neem shampoo! What I like to do is to make a simple spray using neem oil and a few other 100% pure essential oils. I use it to spray both my dog and myself before going out for walks.

My spray bottle is 120 ml (4 oz.) and I usually fill 3/4 of the bottle with distilled water. To it I add:

  • 10 drops neem oil
  • 10 drops citronella essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops lemongrass (or eucalyptus) essential oil

Since water and oil do not mix, remember to shake the bottle well each time before using! (Remember also to avoid spraying your dog's face.)

Alternatively, here's what you can do for a spot treatment to repel fleas and mosquitoes. Add 2 drops of pure neem oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil, and dap this mixture strategically on your dog (the "armpits", the nape of the neck, the back, the tail area, tummy, etc.) You can dap this on your own body (neck, wrists, ankles, etc.) to repel mosquitoes if you don't mind the smell!

Intestinal Parasites

Neem leaves can be used internally to eliminate intestinal parasites such as worms (except for tapeworms). The leaves are safe for ingestion and there has been no report of overdose toxicity. Dried neem leaves in capsules are readily available at health food stores or online.

For large dogs (40-100 pounds), a dosage of up to 1000 mg twice a day can be given for one week. This can readily eliminate most intestinal parasites. For smaller dogs (20-40 pounds), you can cut the above dosage to half, and for toy breeds, to a third.

General Health Support

Last but not least, neem leaves in capsules can also be given as a supplement to dogs to strengthen their immune systems, support liver function, and to cleanse the blood. It can also reduce bad breath, prevent gum disease, and ease arthritic pain. Recommended dosage is 500 mg per 10 pounds of body weight per day.

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Making Neem Shampoo For Dogs

This shampoo can be used on dogs with skin problems such as hot spots, scabies, ringworm, etc.

Just add 10 drops of pure neem oil to 1/4 cup of a mild, chemical-free shampoo. Lather the shampoo well into the coat and leave it on the skin for 5-10 minutes (or as long as your dog allows!), then rinse it off thoroughly with water.

You can also use this shampoo to repel fleas, ticks and mosquitoes. If you are not too crazy about the smell of neem oil, you can add a few drops of pure essential oils to the shampoo to make it smell better. Lavender, peppermint, citronella, and/or lemongrass essential oils are good choices.

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Neem Oil Benefits for Dogs - Good Products

Don't want to concoct your own remedies? No problem! Here are a couple of good neem products that can benefit your dog:

  • Ark Naturals Neem Protect Shampoo: This shampoo contains neem oil and is effective in repelling fleas. All natural ingredients - safe for your dog, and safe for the environment!
  • Ark Naturals Neem Protect Spray: This spray contains neem oil, citronella oil, celery seed oil, and eucalyptus oil. It can be used as a flea/tick repellent. Simply spray your dog before going out for a walk!

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Safety & Precautions

Neem oil is practically non-toxic to mammals (as well as to bees, birds, and plants), but is slightly toxic to fish. Neem oil breaks down rapidly and does not have any toxic effects on the environment.

Neem oil, especially if used undiluted, can cause irritations to the eyes and skin. To be safe, always dilute the oil before putting it on dogs. Since different dogs react differently, it is also prudent to do a patch test on your dog before using neem oil even in its diluted form.

DO NOT use neem oil internally as it can be very irritating to the stomach.

However, as stated above, dried neem leaves in capsules can be safely given to dogs.

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J. Conrick, Neem The Ultimate Herb (Lotus Press, 2001).
C.J. Puotinen, Natural Remedies for Dogs and Cats (Keats Publishing, 1999).
Discover Neem (
National Pesticide Information Center (
Neem Foundation (