The word bergamot can be used to refer to Monarda didyma, an aromatic herb with other names including scarlet monarda, Gold Melissa, Indian nettle, Oswego tea, scarlet beebalm or crimson beebalm that belong to the family Lamiaceae.
Also, the word is often used to refer to bergamot orange (Citrus bergamia) a member of family Rutaceae or Monarda fistulosa, wild bergamot (a medicinal plant).
We will be focusing on Monarda didyma and not Citrus bergamia where we intend to have a brief introduction and discuss whether it is safe to your feline and canine friends or not.
We have a separate post that focuses on bergamot orange including its safety to cats and dogs.
This perennial culinary herb that has a smell that closely resembles that one of Citrus bergamia is native to Ontario east to Maine in North America as well as at Oswego area in New York. However, it has been naturalized in Europe, Asia, many other parts of the world.
Usually, it is cultivated as a garden herb whose uses besides being an ornamental garden plant include in making herbal tea as a stimulant or for treating gingivitis, dental caries, mouth and throat infections. Also, it has antiseptic properties.
The Native Americans used poultices of Citrus bergamia to treat minor skin infections as well as wounds among many other applications. Also, these people use it to make an herbal tea to prevent gas, treat fluctuance, stomachache, colic, and so on.
Finally, Beebalm is a component of mouthwash as well as some toothpaste such as the Balm Baby Teeth Paste.
Bergamot is safe for dogs and cats. It is one of the dog-friendly as well as cat-friendly herbs. Eating its fresh or dried leaves will not harm your feline or canine friend in any way. However, this herb is often an ingredient in many dogs and cat shampoo and conditioners like Buddy Splash Dog Deodorizer and Conditioner.
However, excessive amounts may result in gastrointestinal upsets, vomiting, and diarrhea since these pets are not able to effectively digest fibrous plant material.
Therefore, if grow it in your garden, your dog or cat nibbling it should be the least of your concerns. In fact, most will only eat a small amount owing to its strong taste and aroma.
Finally, this herb should not be confused with Citrus bergamia whose essential oil is toxic to these pets.