Is Lemongrass Oil Safe For Dogs? Yes, But There’s A Catch

Lemongrass essential oil has gained popularity for its various benefits in aromatherapy, both inhalation and topical. It’s often praised for its refreshing scent and potential health advantages. For humans, lemongrass oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and cosmetics due to its invigorating aroma, which is believed to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Additionally, it’s been explored for its potential antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and insect-repelling properties when used in diluted forms.

However, while lemongrass oil may offer certain benefits to humans, it’s crucial to understand that what’s safe and beneficial for us might not necessarily be safe for our pets, particularly dogs. Dogs are cherished members of our families, and their well-being is a priority. Introducing any new substance including the aromatic essential oils into their environment requires careful consideration due to their unique physiology and heightened olfactory sensitivities.

Now, let’s digress to discussing the relationship between dogs and their human families. Dogs hold a special place in our lives, offering companionship, love, and loyalty. They are more than just pets; they are integral parts of our families. As responsible pet owners, it’s essential to prioritize their health and safety in every aspect, including the products we use around them. Okay, let’s get back to the main article.

When it comes to using lemongrass oil for dogs, caution is advised. While some people may consider using lemongrass oil as a natural alternative for repelling fleas or ticks, it’s important to note that essential oils, including lemongrass oil, can pose risks to dogs if not used properly. Dogs have different metabolisms and sensitivities compared to humans, and what might be harmless to us could potentially be harmful or at least annoying to them.

So, can we trust in lemongrass oil for dogs? To understand this, we need to know the potential risks and benefits. While some pet owners may have successfully used diluted lemongrass oil topically or in diffusers around their dogs without any adverse effects, there are important considerations and potential risks to be aware of.

As we delve deeper into this topic, it’s crucial to explore the specific concerns regarding the use of lemongrass oil for dogs and how to navigate its potential risks and benefits for their well-being.

Is Lemongrass Oil Safe For Dogs?

Learning about the safety of lemongrass oil for dogs involves understanding its composition, potential benefits, and the associated risks. Lemongrass oil contains compounds like citral and geraniol, which contribute to its fragrance and potential health-based properties in humans. However, these components can be problematic for dogs.

So, is lemongrass essential oil safe for dogs or the cute pups? The primary concern with using essential oils around dogs, including lemongrass oil, is their concentrated nature. Essential oils are highly potent and can cause adverse reactions in pets, especially if used undiluted or inappropriately. Dogs have a heightened sense of smell, making them more sensitive to strong scents like essential oils, including lemongrass oil. Direct contact or ingestion of concentrated lemongrass oil can lead to skin irritation, gastrointestinal issues, respiratory issues, or neurological problems in dogs.

Moreover, dogs may inadvertently ingest essential oils by licking or grooming themselves after exposure (they do that don’t they). This increases the risk of toxicity, especially if the oil is applied topically or diffused in an area where the dog spends considerable time.

While some pet owners may consider using lemongrass oil as a natural flea or tick repellent, it’s always a good practice to consult a vet before doing so. Alternative flea and tick prevention methods that are specifically formulated and tested for dogs are generally safer and more effective. However, some essential oils do come in handy to repel fleas. Having said that, essential oils should never be used as a substitute without proper guidance from a veterinary professional.

Safety Steps While Using Lemongrass Oil for Dogs

When considering the safety of lemongrass oil for dogs, it’s essential to follow these guidelines to ensure the wellbeing of your fur-kids:


If considering the use of lemongrass oil around dogs, it must be properly diluted. Even then, caution is advised, and any symptom of irritation must be managed quickly.

Avoid Direct Application:

Never apply undiluted lemongrass oil directly to a dog’s fur or skin. Always test a small diluted amount on a small patch of skin and monitor for any adverse reactions. Use topically only after diluting it with a carrier oil. When applied directly, your furry friends may ingest it by licking which may result in digestive issues, diarrhea and vomiting.

Toxicity Concerns:

Lemongrass oil contains compounds like citral and citronellal that can be toxic to dogs in concentrated forms. When ingested in large quantities, it may lead to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or (in extreme cases) even liver damage. If your dog has ingested a large amounts of the oil take it to the pet poison centre. 

Inhalation Safety:

Diffusing lemongrass oil in an area where dogs reside should be done sparingly and in well-ventilated spaces. For example, do not diffuse the oil inside or near a dog’s kennel, instead diffuse it in the room and ensure that the dog has enough space to move around. Continuous exposure to strong scents can be overwhelming for dogs.

Consult a Veterinarian:

Before using any essential oil, including lemongrass oil, as a potential remedy for dogs, seek guidance from a veterinarian. They can provide insights into the risks and appropriate usage. Few studies have pointed the antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties of lemongrass oil along with its anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation, but to know whether using lemongrass essential oil always consult your veterinarian. 

The safety of lemongrass oil for dogs remains a topic of caution and concern due to the potential risks associated with its use. Prioritizing the well-being of our furry companions involves informed decision-making and seeking professional advice when considering the use of essential oils (or for that matter any new products) around them. And in case of any emergency, rush to a veterinarian or the ASPCA poison control centre.

Safe Alternatives:

Instead of using lemongrass oil, there are safer alternatives for addressing specific concerns in dogs. For example, diluted lavender oil may help calm dogs when applied on its skin and coat, while diluted peppermint oil can be used for repelling insects and give pain relief in a pet-safe manner.

However, even these alternatives should be used cautiously and under guidance. Using essential oils with your dog is safe to use; however, it is important to use small amounts and follow instructions. Be mindful of giving your dog the citrusy oil and even if the dog ingests a small amount, rush him/her to a vet. As dog parents the onus is on you to know the way to use the oil on dog.

Benefits of Lemongrass Oil for Dogs

While the use of lemongrass oil around dogs requires caution, some potential benefits make it a must have commodity for grooming. Although there are a few researches that highlight the benefits of lemongrass oil for dogs, these benefits are not acknowledged, and caution should always be exercised when considering any essential oil for canine aromatherapy or care.

Antimicrobial Properties:

Lemongrass oil contains compounds with potential antimicrobial properties. In some cases, diluted lemongrass oil might be used in cleaning solutions or dog shampoos to assist in combating certain microbes. However, this should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian to ensure safety and effectiveness. The journal ScienceAsia in August 2021 published a research that ratified the antimicrobial properties of lemongrass oil. In the research, lemongrass essential oil was an effective supplemental treatment for superficial pyoderma in dogs caused by Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, a gram positive coccus bacteria. [1]

Insect Repellent:

Lemongrass oil contains citronella, which is known for its insect-repelling properties. Some pet owners use diluted lemongrass oil as a natural alternative to repel fleas, ticks, or mosquitoes from their dogs. However, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian before using the oil for this purpose, as other options exist for flea and tick prevention in dogs. A 2020 study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Microorganisms also showed that essential oils was helpful in dealing with canine cutaneous mixed infections. [2

Calming Effects:

Like in humans, certain scents, including those found in lemongrass oil, might have a calming effect on dogs, which may help relax them. However, not all dogs may respond positively to aromatherapy, and some might find strong scents overwhelming. Introducing scents should be done cautiously and in small amounts, observing the dog’s reactions.

It’s important to note that while these potential benefits exist, scientific evidence supporting the efficacy and safety of lemongrass oil specifically for dogs is limited. The concentration and purity of essential oils, individual dog sensitivities, and variations in application methods can significantly affect outcomes.

Additionally, the risks associated with using essential oils around dogs often outweigh the potential benefits. Skin irritation, allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and gastrointestinal problems can occur even with diluted forms of lemongrass oil.

Considering the lack of extensive scientific research and the potential risks, pet owners should approach the use of lemongrass oil for dogs with caution and when in doubt seek guidance from a qualified aromatherapist or veterinarian. Prioritizing the safety and well-being of dogs should be the primary concern when introducing any new product or substance into their environment.

How To Use Lemongrass Essential Oil For Dogs?

When considering the use of lemongrass essential oil for dogs, it’s important to proceed cautiously and prioritize safety. Here’s a guide on how to use lemongrass essential oil around dogs:

Flea and Tick Repellent:

Dilution: Mix a small amount (1-2 drops) of lemongrass essential oil with a pet-safe carrier oil like coconut or olive oil. Dilute it significantly to create a safe concentration (usually around 0.25% to 0.5%).

Application: Apply the diluted mixture sparingly onto a dog’s collar or bandana, avoiding direct contact with their skin. Alternatively, you can spritz a diluted mixture on their bedding or around their environment as a natural repellent.

Caution: Always monitor your dog for any signs of skin irritation or discomfort after application. If irritation occurs, discontinue use immediately. Although tea tree oil as a flea repellent for dogs is safe for your dog as it repel bugs effectively, stop using the oil if you witness any irritation.

Aromatherapy for Calming:

Diffusion: Use a diffuser in an area where your dog spends time. Add a minimal amount of lemongrass oil to the diffuser, ensuring it’s placed in an area inaccessible to your dog. Your dog’s sense of smell is quite high, so use amounts that are safe for dogs to smell.

Observation: Watch your dog’s behavior closely. If they exhibit signs of discomfort (like sneezing or agitation), remove them from the room with the diffuser.

Research: Study published in the journal Advances in Animal and Veterinary Sciences investigated the effect of essential oils in preventing tick infestation in dogs. The irritation and inflammation in flea infested dogs gradually reduced with the application of essential oils.

A peer-reviewed scientific journal, the Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association, published a study that looked into the effect of carrier oils and essential oils canine atopic dermatitis. The study concluded that the treatment method with small amount of lemongrass is safe for dogs and was a useful option.

Summary – Is Lemongrass Oil Safe For Dogs?

So, is lemongrass safe for dogs or is it toxic to dogs? While lemongrass oil has many benefits for humans, its use around dogs requires due diligence and prudence. Despite some people who claim of its efficacy as an insect repellent or calming aid, the risks of skin irritation, stomach distress, and respiratory issues in dogs outweigh its advantages.

Prioritizing a dog’s safety means consulting a veterinarian (always contact a veterinarian) before considering lemongrass oil, acknowledging any safer alternatives for flea and tick prevention or soothing aromatherapy. Basically, a small amount of lemongrass is safe for dogs.

Ultimately, the health and well-being of the canines should guide our decisions to approach the use of essential oils like lemongrass oil. Again, care and professional guidance is always recommended.

  • Aiemsaard, J., Kamollerd, C., Seubsasana, S., Thongkham, E. and Vonghataipaisarn, P., 2021. Lemongrass essential oil enhances antibacterial activity of cephalexin against Staphylococcus pseudintermedius isolated from dogs with superficial pyoderma. Scienceasia, 47(6).
  • Ebani, V.V., Bertelloni, F., Najar, B., Nardoni, S., Pistelli, L. and Mancianti, F., 2020. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils against Staphylococcus and Malassezia strains isolated from canine dermatitis. Microorganisms, 8(2), p.252.