My Dog Licked Citronella Oil What Should I Do?

By Kyoko •  Updated: 09/03/21 •  3 min read
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It’s great to spend time outside with your dog. What could be better than playing chase, catch, or some other doggie games with your fur baby? However, warm weather does bring out insects, such as mosquitoes. Mosquitoes love to fly in for supper, leaving a painful, irritating bite behind! For this reason, many people use citronella oil to deter mosquitoes and other pests.

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However, is citronella oil safe to use around dogs?

Has your dog licked citronella oil? Are you worried the citronella oil will make your dog sick? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. We understand it can be scary when your dog does something like this.

In this article, we’ll take a look at citronella oil and whether or not it can make a dog sick. Let’s get started!

What is Citronella Oil?

Citronella oil comes from a plant called Cymbopogon nardus or Cymbopogon winterianus, which are grasses. There’s a lot of confusion about citronella plants. Chances are, if you’ve purchased a “citronella plant,” which doesn’t have grass-like leaves, then it’s not a true citronella plant. Instead, you may have a citronella-scented geranium or another type of plant that smells like citronella. Only the grass called citronella is the real source of citronella oil.

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Citronella grass originally comes from some parts of Asia, where it’s used as an insect repellent. The oil is often used in soaps, candles, and more.

While citronella oil is an effective insect deterrent, is it harmful to dogs?

Dogs & Citronella

Research has shown that citronella is only slightly toxic to dogs. However, it can cause skin and digestive irritation if large amounts are ingested. Even so, it’s best to keep all citronella products away from your dog. It’s not a major toxin, but it could still make your fur baby sick.

In addition, plants that are marked as “citronella” but are not true citronella grasses can also make your dog sick. So, be sure to avoid having these plants in your yard or inside the house. It’s just best to avoid any potential problems if your dog is curious and likes to chew on plants!

So, if your dog has only licked a small amount of citronella oil, chances are he will be OK. Just monitor him for any signs of digestive problems. These could include vomiting and diarrhea. If these last longer than 24 hours, then be sure to call the vet.

And if you have any worries after your dog has licked citronella, then do go ahead and call the vet.  They will have the information you need on whether or not they need to check your dog.

If you’d like to learn about safe insect deterrents for your dog, then asking your vet for advice is best.

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Kyoko

Kyoko is from a family of 3 and moved to New York with her parents and siblings when she was 13. Kyoko is fond of spending a great amount of time with pets, specifically her beagle Luna and cat Missy. Her boyfriend often complains that she spends too much time giving attention to their animals. Kyoko has written dozens of articles concerning pets and is aiming at owning a pet shop one day!

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