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Can Dogs Eat Lemongrass? The Truth About This Aromatic Herb’s Toxicity (2024)

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can dogs eat lemongrassYou’re right to be cautious about feeding lemongrass to your pup. While its citrusy aroma may seem harmless, this aromatic herb contains potentially toxic compounds like citronella that can wreak havoc on a dog’s digestive system and even cause liver damage.

The leaves, stalks, and roots all pose risks, from vomiting and diarrhea to topical irritation and metabolic disruptions. Essential oils are especially hazardous – a single lick could spell misery.

But don’t worry, I’ll guide you through safer herb alternatives and preventative measures to keep your furry friend happy and healthy.

Key Takeaways

  • Lemongrass may seem innocent with its zesty aroma, but it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing – those fragrant leaves and stalks pack a punch of potential toxins that can wreak havoc on your pup’s digestive system. A single nibble could spell a night of misery on the porcelain throne.
  • While the fresh herb itself might only cause some tummy troubles, the concentrated Essential oils and roots are the real troublemakers. These bad boys can trigger a full-on toxic meltdown, complete with vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver damage if your furry friend overindulges.
  • If your dog does happen to snack on a lemongrass leaf, don’t panic – but do keep a close eye on them for any signs of gastrointestinal distress. And if the situation escalates, don’t hesitate to call in the big guns (your vet) for professional help.
  • Prevention is key when it comes to lemongrass and dogs. Keep the plants out of reach, properly dispose of any trimmings, and consider safer, pet-friendly alternatives like rosemary or ginger to spice up your pup’s life without the risk. A little caution goes a long way in keeping your furry companion happy and healthy.

Can Dogs Eat Lemongrass?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat lemongrass. Lemongrass contains compounds that are toxic to dogs and can cause various health issues if ingested, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and even more severe symptoms in some cases.

Lemongrass Overview

Lemongrass Overview
You’ve probably encountered lemongrass in your favorite Asian dishes or as an aromatic addition to teas. This tall, perennial plant with a citrusy fragrance is cultivated across the tropics and subtropics.

While lemongrass offers health benefits like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s essential to understand its impact on our furry friends. The plant can grow up to 10 feet, but it’s the soft, white inner leaves that are commonly used in cooking and essential oils.

When using lemongrass essential oils around dogs, proper dilution is key to avoid skin irritation or respiratory issues from the potent fragrance. And you’ll want to be cautious about letting your pup ingest lemongrass, as it could potentially lead to gastrointestinal upset.

Lemongrass Toxicity in Dogs

Lemongrass Toxicity in Dogs
Lemongrass contains certain compounds that can be harmful to dogs if ingested in large quantities. While the plant itself may not be highly toxic, its essential oils and some components of the leaves and roots can lead to adverse health effects in our canine companions.

Harmful Compounds

Lemongrass contains 3 harmful compounds that can cause:

  1. Gut upset
  2. Topical irritation
  3. Potential liver damage

Dogs ingesting large amounts risk lemongrass poisoning. Essential oils like citronella pose toxicity risks, while herbs like garlic, onions, and chives can also damage their health.

Health Implications

While lemongrass offers benefits, ingesting it poses risks. Digestive Diarrhea Changes
Impact Vomiting in Appetite
Gastrointestinal Excessive Liver
Issues Drooling Damage

Your furry friend’s safety comes first. Discuss alternative remedies with your vet.

The Essential Oil Issue

Lemongrass essential oils carry risks; topical use can cause:

  • Skin irritation or burns
  • GI upset if ingested
  • Respiratory issues from diffusing

So, use caution and proper dilution. Consider pet-safe alternatives like:

  • Neem oil for flea/tick control
  • Citronella candles for mosquitoes
  • Consulting your vet first

Recognizing Lemongrass Poisoning

Recognizing Lemongrass Poisoning
If your dog has ingested or been exposed to lemongrass, be vigilant for immediate symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Beyond gastrointestinal issues, watch for signs of lethargy, incoordination, and skin or oral irritation, as these could indicate a more severe reaction requiring prompt veterinary attention.

Immediate Symptoms

If your dog ingests lemongrass, immediate symptoms may include vomiting and diarrhea. The severity depends on the amount consumed and your dog’s breed size. Monitor closely and contact your veterinarian, especially if symptoms persist or worsen.

Beyond the Gut

While gastric issues are common with lemongrass toxicity, you’ll want to watch for other worrying signs like lethargy, fever, or changes in urine color. These could indicate an infection or organ distress needing urgent veterinary care. With prevention and pet-friendly alternatives, lemongrass risks are avoidable.

Skin and Oral Reactions

If your pup ingests lemongrass, watch for:

  1. Skin redness/itching from topical contact
  2. Drooling or pawing at the mouth
  3. Digestive upset after licking the plant
  4. Signs of an allergic reaction

Test spot-treating their coat before widespread application.

Severe Signs

If your dog struggles to eliminate, you must act quickly—this signals a potentially life-threatening blockage that could result in extensive liver damage if left untreated. Seek immediate veterinary attention for severe lemongrass toxicity cases.

Risky Parts of Lemongrass

Risky Parts of Lemongrass
The essential oils, leaves, stalks, and roots of the lemongrass plant can all pose risks if ingested by dogs. While the fresh or dried leaves may cause mild digestive upset, the concentrated essential oils and roots are more likely to result in serious toxicity issues like vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and even liver damage.

Essential Oils

Essential lemongrass oil toxicity is a real concern – topical irritation and GI upset are possible if ingested. While it’s a natural bug repellent, use it cautiously outdoors and keep it away from pets. Test on a small area first, and prioritize your dog’s safety over convenience. With proper precautions, you can harness lemongrass’s benefits without risking harm.

Leaves and Stalks

While lemongrass leaves and stalks offer many benefits, they can also be toxic if ingested by dogs in large quantities. The fibrous texture and chemical compounds make them difficult for dogs to digest properly, potentially leading to gastrointestinal issues like vomiting or diarrhea. It’s best to limit your pup’s exposure to these parts of the lemongrass plant.


The lemongrass’ roots pose a hidden threat; they harbor toxic compounds that can wreak havoc if ingested. Absorbed through your pup’s digestive system, these substances disrupt their metabolism, leading to severe consequences. Steer clear of lemongrass roots to safeguard your furry friend’s well-being.

First Aid for Ingestion

First Aid for Ingestion
If your dog ingests lemongrass, remain calm and quickly remove any plant material from their mouth. Contact your veterinarian immediately for professional advice and potential treatment, as lemongrass consumption can lead to gastrointestinal distress and toxicity in some cases.

Owner Actions

If your dog ingests lemongrass, here are the owner actions to take:

  1. Remain calm and move your dog away from the lemongrass source.
  2. Offer small amounts of water to help flush out any remaining compounds.
  3. Observe for symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or lethargy.

React quickly, as lemongrass toxicity can escalate. Diluted essential oils or alternative herbs may be safer options. Implementing safe gardening practices prevents accidental ingestion.

Veterinary Treatment

If you suspect lemongrass poisoning, seek veterinary care immediately. Your vet will perform tests to diagnose the issue and determine the prognosis. Depending on severity, treatments like induced vomiting, antidotes, or fluid therapy may be required. With proper care, most dogs recover well, but severe cases might necessitate hospitalization. Follow all post-treatment instructions carefully for your pup’s full recovery.

Prevention Strategies

Prevention Strategies
To prevent your dog from ingesting lemongrass, you can use deterrence techniques like growing the plant in an enclosed space or applying a pet-safe repellent spray. Additionally, practice safe gardening by properly disposing of any lemongrass trimmings and keeping the plant out of reach from curious pets.

Deterrence Techniques

You can deter your furry friend from ingesting lemongrass by using:

  1. Natural repellents like citrus or vinegar sprays
  2. Physical barriers like fencing or netting
  3. Interactive deterrents like motion-activated sprinklers

Always test repellents on a small area first for sensitivity. Be mindful of repellent efficacy and look for safe, pet-friendly substitutes if needed. With proper precautions, you can keep your pup safe and enjoying their outdoor time worry-free.

Safe Gardening Practices

You can also practice safe gardening with lemongrass to prevent accidental ingestion. Consider planting lemongrass away from areas your dog frequents. Certain varieties, like ‘Maha Nakhon’, have a lower lemony scent, which may deter your dog’s curiosity. When harvesting, properly discard any trimmings to avoid leaving tempting scraps.

Lemongrass Varieties Dog Appeal Rating
East Indian High
West Indian Moderate
Maha Nakhon Low
Arnam Aceh Moderate

Safer Herb Alternatives

Safer Herb Alternatives
While lemongrass can be toxic to dogs, there are safer herb alternatives that can provide health benefits or natural pest deterrents. For example, rosemary and ginger in small amounts are generally safe for dogs, while garlic, onions, and essential oils like tea tree should be avoided.

Good for Dogs

While lemongrass itself isn’t recommended, you can safely use its extract as a natural insect repellent for your pup.

Rosemary and ginger, in moderation, offer antioxidant benefits and can soothe upset tummies.

Always check with your vet first and introduce new herbs gradually, watching for any adverse reactions.

With care, these safer alternatives let you utilize lemongrass’s advantages without risking toxicity.

Bad for Dogs

While some herbs like rosemary and ginger can benefit dogs in moderation, there are several you should avoid.

Garlic, onions, and chives can cause severe anemia.

Chamomile may trigger vomiting, diarrhea, or allergies.

Tomato leaves contain solanine, leading to stomach upset and lethargy.

Essential oils, especially tea tree oil, pose a toxicity risk.

If your pup starts exhibiting digestion issues, skin irritation, or fatigue after nibbling plants, contact your vet immediately and explore safer herb alternatives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What happens if a dog eats lemongrass?

By chance, if your furry friend nibbles on some lemongrass, don’t panic. Small amounts are typically safe, though too much can upset their tummy. As a precaution, it’s wise to consult your vet for personalized advice on keeping your pup happy and healthy.

Is lemongrass calming for dogs?

Lemongrass has a calming, sedative effect on dogs. The citrusy aroma can help soothe an anxious pup during stressful situations like thunderstorms or fireworks.

Is lemongrass toxic to cats and dogs?

Like a rogue wave, lemongrass can spell trouble for pets. While generally safe, it can irritate cats’ and dogs’ stomachs if consumed in excess. Play it safe – consult your vet before introducing lemongrass into Fido’s or Fluffy’s diet.

Is it okay for dogs to smell lemongrass?

Yes, it’s generally safe for dogs to smell lemongrass. However, avoid letting them ingest large amounts as it can cause digestive issues. Moderation and supervision are key when using lemongrass around pets.

Can dogs eat lemongrass essential oil?

Releasing the invigorating scent of lemongrass could spell trouble for your pup. You’ll want to steer clear of letting them lap up the essential oil – a few drops can lead to an unwanted bout of vomiting or diarrhea. Stick to enjoying its zesty aroma safely.

Is lemongrass safe for nursing dogs?

Lemongrass may not be safe for nursing dogs. Its potential side effects, like digestive issues or liver damage, could affect the pup’s health. Consult your vet before introducing lemongrass to a nursing mom and her litter.

How much lemongrass is too much?

A small lemongrass sprig won’t derail your pup’s path, but too much can be ruff. As a rule of thumb, avoid giving more than a few lemongrass leaves per week to keep your furry friend’s tummy happy and healthy.

Can lemongrass be used as flea repellent?

Yes, you can use lemongrass as a natural flea repellent for your dog. Dilute the essential oil with water and spray it on their coat, avoiding eyes and mouth. Test a small area first for any allergic reactions.


Playing with fire by feeding your dog lemongrass? Not worth the risk. Though its zesty aroma entices, this herb harbors toxic compounds that can spark serious digestive woes—from vomiting to liver damage. When curiosity strikes about "can dogs eat lemongrass?", steer clear and opt for safer herbs to keep your pup’s tail wagging happily.

Avatar for Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim Sweileh

Mutasim is the founder and editor-in-chief with a team of qualified veterinarians, their goal? Simple. Break the jargon and help you make the right decisions for your furry four-legged friends.