Is a Lavender Plant Poisonous to Dogs?

by Jae Allen, Demand Media
    Dogs may be attracted by lavender's strong scent.

    Dogs may be attracted by lavender's strong scent.

    If you have a pet pooch and a flourishing garden, you might worry that your dog may eat harmful plants. Luckily, lavender is not poisonous to dogs under most circumstances.

    Lavender Taste and Smell

    Dogs have an incredible sense of smell, so will be aware of fragrant lavender in the garden. However, the unusual texture of lavender plants will prevent most dogs from eating much of the plant. Those dogs that do eat lavender will experience a lemon-like flavor that some hounds will find tasty.

    Lavender in Dog Food

    Dog biscuits and treats containing lavender flowers are commonly sold commercially at pet stores. The lavender adds an interesting flavor to these treats, which your dog may enjoy. Lavender flowers and oil can also be used externally, as a mode of stress relief for dogs. If your dog finds the scent of lavender soothing, you can rub the oil from the plant's flowers onto your dog's collar. This can be helpful before a stressful event such as a long car journey or moving house.

    Lavender Dangers

    Although lavender itself is not poisonous to dogs, there are some circumstances in which eating lavender can be dangerous to your pet. Dogs can have negative reactions to lavender, or can eat far too much of the plant. In either case, your dog may start vomiting, scratching himself and experiencing diarrhea. Any lavender that has been treated with pesticides should be considered dangerous to dogs. If your dog eats lavender with pesticide, health problems may follow.

    Other Considerations

    Lavender is known to attract bees, which may sting your dog near the lavender plant. If your dog is sniffing around the lavender plant or chewing on the lavender flowers, it runs the small risk of a bee sting in the sensitive face, mouth or nose areas. You can keep your dog away from lavender plants by growing lavender in tall-sided pots or behind a protective fence in a flower bed.

    About the Author

    Jae Allen has been a writer since 1999, with articles published in "The Hub," "Innocent Words" and "Rhythm." She has worked as a medical writer, paralegal, veterinary assistant, stage manager, session musician, ghostwriter and university professor. Allen specializes in travel, health/fitness, animals and other topics.

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