Is Lemongrass Plant and Lemongrass Oil Safe for Dogs

Native to Africa, Asia, and Australia, genus Cymbopogon, also known as lemongrass, is a genus name of several plant species under the family Poaceae,

  • Common names – Oily heads, silky heads or barbed wire, citronella, fever, cochin or Malabar grass.
  • Uses – Uses vary depending on the species and include as a culinary and medicinal herb. Its essential oil is used in the perfumery industry, in aromatherapy, soap making, making insect repellants especially citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) and Cymbopogon citratus.
Can dogs eat lemongrass
Can dogs eat lemongrass?

Is lemongrass safe for dogs?

According to ASPCA, lemongrass and specifically the Oil grass of Cymbopogon citratus species is toxic to dogs since it has cyanogenic glycosides and essential oils. It is not clear if this applies only to this specific species.

The most commonly noted symptoms of the poisoning are stomach upsets and abdominal pain. Also, your pooch may have a fever, lack appetite, straining or inability to defecate, have an enlarged abdomen, among many others.

Its toxicity is mild, unlike its concentrated oil. Fortunately, since these pets are not herbivores, i.e., they are unlikely to eat much of any plants. Therefore, this plant is considered as dog-friendly. You can grow it in your garden.

If your dog continuously eats plant material including lemongrass, it could be an indication that they have a gastrointestinal problem. It is wise to try to find the underlying cause as they could eating this grass due to its carminative effect. Sometimes, these pets eat a bit of plant if they want to vomit

Do not ignore this issue even if the specific plant your pooch eats is safe as they can cause intestinal blockages.

Is lemongrass essential oil

Is lemongrass oil safe for dogs? No. It is not because it has a higher concentration of cyanogenic glycosides and essential oils.

For instance, the essential oil from citronella has citral and geraniol that make it be used as an insect repellant. These two chemicals are toxic to dogs.

St. Louis Post Dispatch seems to suggest that this oil is safe to pups, i.e., concentrated essence of lemongrass (essential oil) could be harmful to cats, because unlike people and dogs, they lack certain liver enzymes to break down various compounds that, if not eliminated from the body, could prove to be toxic.”

This indicates that dogs can handle this herb better than a cat. We already know that lemongrass especially its essential oil is not safe for cats.

Furthermore, according to, it is used in some freshening dog sprays or perfumes and in aromatherapy owing to its citrus-like scent. Additionally, a therapeutic grade is also used in keeping ticks and fleas away from these pets.

However, do not give your dog lemon essential oil even in small amounts as it is more toxic being more concentrated. Simply avoid it. If you are using it topically, the first talk to your vet.

In case your pooch ingests this essential oil, go to your vet for diagnosis and treatment. Treatment options will depend on the severity of the poisoning and may include supportive care.


To conclude on the issue of lemongrass and dogs, ASPCA notes that Cymbopogon citratus is toxic to dogs while Wag says it is the citronella that mildly toxic, i.e., the one with red stems. It is not so clear which species are toxic to these pets.

Inasmuch as a small amount of this plant may be safe, care must be taken to ensure your canine pal does not eat too much. Try as much as possible to ensure your dog does not eat lemongrass.

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