Welcome to my article all about the commonly asked question: Is citronella safe for dogs?
Summer is coming and for many of us, that means mosquito season.
There are several ways to keep mosquitos away, and those looking for an all-natural solution may opt for citronella.
But what about our canine pals? Will citronella cause them harm?
Below I discuss exactly what Citronella is, along with tips and tricks to keep your dog safe around it. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
Is Citronella Safe For Dogs: Quick Answer
Citronella can be mildly toxic to dogs. It is best to keep dogs away from anything that contains citronella, including candles, sprays, and even the plant itself.
What is Citronella?
Citronella is a type of grass that is native to Asia.
It is available in two varieties, Cymbopogon winterianus (java) and Cymbopogon nardus (ceylon).
It grows in warm climates as perennials or annuals.
A citronella plant will not keep mosquitos away naturally. It’s the oil that deters pests.
The oil needs to be extracted from the plant to do its work. However, the plant itself will deter other types of pests like whiteflies.
There are certain types of plants that may be confused with citronella.
For example, you may find plants that smell like citronella but don’t have the oil in it, such as the citronella scented geranium.
Lemongrass may also cause confusion as it has a similar scent to citronella but, like geranium, it does not contain the oil.
As a side note, geraniums contain geraniol and linalool which are toxic to dogs.
It is unclear as to whether lemongrass poses a danger to our furry friends.
Citronella oil can be added to candles or sprays to keep mosquitos, and other types of pests, away.
Is Citronella Safe for Dogs?
You may be tempted to use citronella around your dog to keep him or her safe from mosquito bites.
However, this is not recommended.
If you spray your dog with citronella, it may keep the mosquitos away, but it can also irritate skin and fur causing a rash or a more serious condition.
It’s also not safe to burn a citronella candle around your dog as it can be toxic if the oil is inhaled.
Citronella soaps and shampoos are also unsafe for dogs.
The plant can cause digestive issues and it can even negatively impact the central nervous system.
Citronella is especially dangerous to older dogs dealing and those dealing with liver issues.
It can make liver issues and age-related conditions more severe.
How Can I Keep My Dog Safe from Mosquitos?
Now that you know that citronella is unsafe for dogs, you may be wondering, what other methods can I use to keep mosquitos away from my pet? Here are some solutions.
Dog-Friendly Plants: There are many other dog friendly plants that work as mosquito repellents.
These include lemon balm, catnip, rosemary, and basil.
You can surround them with pebbly surfaces or prickly plants to keep your dog from digging them up.
Make a Dog-Safe Mosquito Repellent: You can also make your own pet safe mosquito repellent.
Mosquitos hate citrus so anything citrus based will work.
Here’s a recipe for a citrus spray you can make at home:
- Combine the juice of 6 lemons and 1 qt. of water.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for one hour.
- Once the mixture is cooled, pour it into a spray bottle. Shake well and apply it to your dog’s fur.
Essential oils like lemon basil, peppermint, verbena, and lavender will also be effective in keeping mosquitos away.
Dilute them in a carrier oil before applying them to your dog’s fur.
You can also find mosquito repellents formulated for dogs in most pet stores.
You can also keep your dog safe from mosquito bites by taking the following measures:
- Keep them indoors at times when mosquitos are most active.
- Take steps to keep your yard free from mosquitos.
- Check your home’s entrances to ensure there are no open areas where mosquitos can get in.
Are Other Human Bug Repellents Safe for Dogs?
You may wonder if you can just spray another type of human bug repellent on your dog to keep them safe from bites. The answer is no.
Human bug repellent sprays often contain ingredients like DEET and Picardian that can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation in dogs.
Not only should you not apply it to their skin, but you should not let them lick it off your skin.
Do Dogs Dislike the Smell of Citronella?
Unfortunately, no. You may think that your dog would somehow know that citronella is harmful to them and stay away from it. But this is not the case.
While dogs may not be particularly attracted to citronella, they will not avoid it.
If you have a curious dog, makes sure that all citronella products are kept out of reach.
What Should I Do if My Dog Ingests Citronella?
Citronella is only slightly toxic to dogs. If your dog ingests or inhales it, they may not show symptoms right away or at all.
However, it is always wise to take them to the vet for a check-up regardless.
Is Citronella Safe For Dogs: Conclusion
In summary, citronella is not safe for dogs. Always keep your dog away from anything that contains citronella, including sprays, coils and candles.
To keep mosquitos away from your dog, opt for other natural alternatives such as the ones discussed above.
I hope you’ve found this article helpful and informative! If you have, here are some related articles you may also like to read:
About The Author: Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m a Mom of 2 and I love DIY hacks, home decor ideas and non-toxic cleaning tips. I created this website to share my knowledge with a community of like-minded people who love simple, easy and safe ways to keep their home clean and inspiring. I hope you enjoy!