Is Lavender Safe For Dogs?

Lavender is a popular fragrance known for its calming and relaxing properties. From essential oils and candles to bath products and home décor, this sweet-smelling herb is everywhere. But have you ever wondered – is lavender safe for dogs?

The answer might surprise you.

While lavender may seem harmless and even therapeutic for humans, the truth is that lavender can be toxic to dogs when ingested or inhaled. 

Yes, that’s right – the same soothing scent that helps you unwind could seriously harm your furry friend. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the potential risks of lavender exposure for dogs and what every pet owner needs to know.

Symptoms Of Lavender Poisoning

Symptoms Of Lavender Poisoning

If your dog has ingested or been exposed to lavender, it’s crucial to watch out for these telltale signs of lavender poisoning:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloated abdomen
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation or inability to pass stool
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shock
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Difficulty breathing

Don’t ignore these symptoms, as they could indicate a serious medical emergency. I remember one terrifying incident where my neighbor’s dog started vomiting and trembling uncontrollably after chewing on a lavender plant in their backyard garden.

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Causes Of Lavender Poisoning

Causes Of Lavender Poisoning

There are three main causes of lavender toxicity in dogs:

  1. Ingestion of the lavender plant: Dogs are naturally curious creatures, and they may be tempted to nibble on that pretty purple plant in your garden or indoor planter.
  2. Exposure to essential oils through ingestion, inhalation, or skin contact: Lavender essential oils are concentrated and can be dangerous if your dog licks them, breathes them in, or gets them on their skin.
  3. Hidden in food or toys: Some products like certain dog treats or chew toys may contain lavender extracts or essential oils, putting your pup at risk without you even realizing it.

Even though lavender essential oils are often marketed as “natural” and “safe,” they can be incredibly harmful to pets when used improperly. Just because something is plant-based doesn’t mean it’s automatically pet-friendly.

“I learned the hard way that ‘natural’ doesn’t always mean safe for pets,” recalls Marie, a dog owner from Los Angeles. “My dog got sick after I diffuse lavender oil in our home, and the vet warned me about the risks of essential oils around animals.”

Can My Dog Breathe Lavender?

Some veterinarians may suggest diffusing diluted lavender oil in your home to help calm an anxious dog. This should only be done under strict guidance and supervision from a vet.

While diffusing a small amount of lavender oil diluted in water may be considered relatively safe, there are still risks:

  • Your dog could ingest the droplets or residue left behind by the diffuser.
  • Undiluted lavender oil can cause severe skin irritation and allergic reactions in some dogs.
  • The strong scent could trigger respiratory issues like wheezing, coughing, or sneezing in dogs with sensitive airways.

Instead of diffusing lavender, consider these safer alternatives recommended by veterinary experts for easing dog anxiety:

  • Pheromone diffusers or collars
  • Calming supplements like melatonin or L-theanine
  • Behavior modification training
  • Prescription anti-anxiety medication (under vet supervision)

What Scents Are Safe for My Dog?

What Scents Are Safe for My Dog

No essential oils are 100% safe for dogs, as they can be easily mishandled or ingested. However, some scents are generally considered lower risk than others when diffused in moderate amounts:

  • Lemon essential oil
  • Orange essential oil
  • Eucalyptus essential oil

That said, all dogs are different. Some may have heightened sensitivities or respiratory conditions that make any strong scent irritating. It’s best to consult your veterinarian before introducing new scents into your home, especially if you have a dog.

Are Diffusers Bad for Dogs?

Diffusers aren’t inherently bad for dogs – it depends on the type of essential oil used and how it’s diffused. Here are some key points about diffuser safety:

  • Passive diffusers (reed or heat diffusers) may be safer than active diffusers that disperse oils into the air as tiny particles.
  • Certain essential oils should never be diffused around dogs, including:
    • Cinnamon
    • Peppermint
    • Tea tree
    • Clove
    • Thyme
  • Diffusers should be kept out of reach, properly ventilated, and used in areas your dog doesn’t frequent.
  • Monitor your dog closely for any respiratory distress when using diffusers with “safe” oils.

If you choose to use diffusers, prioritize your dog’s health and comfort above aesthetics or aromatherapy benefits for yourself.

What Should I Do If My Dog Consumes Lavender

If you suspect your dog has ingested any amount of lavender, whether from a plant, essential oil, or lavender-containing product, seek veterinary care immediately. Lavender toxicity is a medical emergency that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

While a small amount of lavender may only cause mild symptoms in some dogs, it’s impossible to know how much is too much for your individual pet. Delaying treatment could allow the toxins to absorb further and wreak havoc on your pup’s system.

If you can’t get to the vet right away, at least call and describe the situation so they can advise you on next steps and whether you need to induce vomiting at home.

“We made the mistake of waiting to see if our dog was okay after he ate lavender leaves from our garden,” says Sarah, a dog owner from Minneapolis. 

“By the time we took him to the emergency vet, he was severely dehydrated and had to stay overnight on an IV. Don’t risk it – get your dog checked out immediately.”

Keeping Your Dog Safe

The simplest way to keep your dog safe from lavender toxicity? Avoid lavender products altogether in your home and garden. This includes:

  • Lavender plants (both indoor and outdoor)
  • Essential oils and oil diffusers
  • Candles or wax melts with lavender fragrance
  • Potpourri or sachets with dried lavender
  • Bath and beauty products containing lavender extracts

If you need help finding safe, effective solutions for your dog’s anxiety, skin conditions, or other issues you might have considered using lavender for, don’t go it alone. Consult an experienced veterinarian instead.

One modern option is Dutch, an online veterinary service that allows you to video chat with licensed vets from the comfort of your home. Their vets can recommend pet-safe treatments and provide unlimited follow-up care, all for an affordable cost.

With Dutch, you can get expert guidance without compromising your dog’s wellbeing – no risky DIY remedies or internet myths required.

FAQs

Who is Dutch?

Dutch is a leading pet telemedicine provider, connecting dog and cat owners with licensed veterinarians via video call for affordable, convenient care.

What is a visit with Dutch like?

When you book a Dutch appointment, you’ll have a warm video consultation with one of their skilled vets from wherever you’re most comfortable – no travel or waiting rooms required!

You can share photos and videos of your pet, explain any issues or concerns, and get an expert diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

How much will it cost for the Dutch to treat my pet?

Dutch offers unlimited video visit packages starting at just $20/month. This provides you with 24/7 access to vets for any new or ongoing issues. Prescription medication costs are separate but very affordable with free shipping directly to your door.

Conclusion

While lavender may seem like a soothing, all-natural solution for your dog’s anxiety or other health concerns, the truth is that this fragrant herb can actually be quite toxic to our canine companions. 

From respiratory distress and skin irritation to severe poisoning, the risks of lavender exposure through ingestion or inhalation are significant.

The bottom line? It’s best to avoid using lavender plants, essential oils, or lavender-containing products around your dog completely. 

If you’re looking for safe ways to calm your anxious pup, treat skin issues, or address other medical needs, always consult an experienced veterinarian first.With innovative services like Dutch online vets, you can get expert guidance and customized treatment plans without compromising your dog’s health and safety. Ditch the risky internet remedies and get professional care tailored to your pet’s unique needs – your four-legged friend deserves nothing less.

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