Is citronella toxic to dogs?

Are you a dog owner who loves using citronella as an insect repellent? Or maybe you’re just curious if it’s okay to use around your furry friend. Well, look no further because we’re going to answer the burning question: is citronella toxic to dogs?

What is Citronella?

First things first, let’s define what citronella actually is. Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) is a kind of aromatic grass that produces an essential oil with a citrus aroma. It’s commonly used in candles, sprays, and lotions as an effective mosquito repellent.

How Does Citronella Affect Dogs?

When dogs come in contact with citronella products such as sprays or candles, they may experience some level of irritation or even respiratory issues. While not inherently toxic for canines, any excessive exposure can lead to adverse reactions.


Canine respiratory systems are highly sensitive and delicate compared to humans’. As such, inhaling large amounts of citronella fragrance during candle lighting ceremonies could put them at risk for coughing fits and breathing difficulties.

Topical Application

Dogs’ skin might be subjectable allergies like accompanied redness or swollen sides when applied topically by direct spraying on their coat or area near entry points like nose eyes etc.

Ingestion (Now listen up!)

Let me remind you every human tendency isn’t safe for our canine friends out there… keep that bowl of chocolate out reach! Same way ingestion isn’t advised while applying natural remedies on your pet- especially when they end up licking off themselves after having topical application over ear folds/chest hair which has proven dangerous more than once leading prominent health hazards like vomiting/diarrhea/ lethargy/panting/depression!

Ingesting anything containing high levels of citronella oil may ultimately result in harmful side effects for your dog; should they accidentally sip or gulp a mouthful. Toxins could enter their bloodstream causing seizures, respiratory distress, and even liver/kidney failure.

Safety Precautions

If you’re keen on using citronella products around your canine friend, heed these safety precautions to ensure maximum protection:

  • Avoid spraying directly on the fur coat of dogs.
  • Steer Clear from areas where pets like eating out or relax so that it does not lead to ingestion upon licking.
  • Limit exposure if possible since over-exposure can cause irritation
  • Use genuine and organic essential oils based product/’s as counterfeit products might have synthetic constituents leading to higher toxicity than usual levels


In conclusion despite various health benefits associated with citronella be cautious while allowing any direct contact between them/your pooch don’t risk their vibrance just coz’ you wanna pile up enough candles for next door summer evening barbeque! While not exactly toxic in small amounts citronella scent and topical use still poses potential health risks when chronic high doses are accumulated via multiple exposure routes!

Fun Fact:
Did you know Citertostellin is bio-active compound found only in certain species of fungi (Streptomyces) that has anti-inflammatory properties due chemical molecular structures similar to those present in Citronellol; component responsible for characteristic citrusy odor of plant-based essential oils!

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