Is Lavender Poisonous?

Lavender plants contain essential oils that are an effective insect repellent and have a natural calming effect in humans; however, dogs and cats have a highly developed sense of smell that can be 1000 - 10000 times more sensitive than ours, so what we may find relaxing and soothing can be overwhelming to our pets. Additionally, lavender contains small amounts of linalool and linalyl acetate, which have been known to be toxic to both children and pets if any part of the plant is ingested in large quantities. If you are using a diffuser with lavender essential oils, place it in an area that is out of reach to pets because the aerosol can irritate their respiratory system. 

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Is Lavender Poisonous to Children?

Children are naturally curious and tend to put plants in their mouths, so never leave a child unattended in the garden to avoid accidental ingestion. If your child has eaten any part of a lavender plant, it may cause abdominal discomfort and breathing problems. Symptoms are based on the amount ingested and several other factors such as overall health and weight. Touching the plant can cause an allergic reaction to the skin, such as hives. Consult with your doctor immediately if you suspect your child has developed a reaction from ingesting or touching any part of your lavender plant.

Is Lavender Poisonous to Dogs?

Lavender contains the compound linalool, which can be toxic to dogs when ingested in larger quantities. Symptoms of lavender poisoning may include a swollen abdomen, reduced appetite, fever, and vomiting.

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Is Lavender Poisonous to Cats?

Cats are extremely sensitive to scents and aerosols, and may experience lung irritation, breathing problems, or coughing following exposure to lavender diffusion. Be cautious when using parts of the lavender plant in herbal steams or a diffuser if you have a cat. 

Additionally, lavender is toxic to cats because they don’t have the enzymes necessary to metabolize the essential oils naturally found in the plant. Symptoms of lavender exposure may include vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dizziness, and erratic heart rate. 

Is Lavender Poisonous to Other Animals?

Birds, reptiles, and small mammals have very sensitive respiratory systems, so steer clear of diffusing strong herbs such as lavender oil around these pets. 

Lavender plants are known to be toxic to horses if ingested in large quantities. These plants are also known to be quite deer and rabbit resistant when grown in the landscape. 

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Symptoms Of Lavender Poisoning

Always check with your doctor or veterinarian for guidance if you suspect lavender poisoning. 

Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Seizures
  • Skin irritation 

Preventing Lavender Poisoning

Children and pets are naturally curious about scents, textures, and tastes in the garden, so avoid leaving them unattended outdoors. Lavender can cause toxicity if sufficient quantities are ingested, so providing a physical barrier will help keep their curiosity at bay. Secure a few garden stakes and attach a lightweight, dark-colored, open-weave bird netting that will provide a barrier to the area but will not obstruct the view. Using homemade or store-bought pepper spray on all parts of the plant will deter browsing animals.

Pet Poison Helpline

If something were to happen to your furry friend, and you suspect that they are suffering from lavender poisoning, there is a poison control hotline to call for 24/7 vet advice. It is called the Pet Poison Hotline, and their phone number is (855) 764-7661. 

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Author Chris Link - Published 01-20-2023