Can Dogs Eat Lemongrass? 9 Things To Consider

Both Thai and Vietnamese cuisines frequently use lemongrass. Even though your pet probably isn’t going to be eating any of that takeout, you may be curious as to whether or not they’d enjoy the exotic flavor.

What is Lemongrass?

Although it belongs to the grass family, lemongrass comes in a wide variety of different types. For example, “Cymbopogon citratus,” “Cymbopogon flexuosus,” and “Cymbopogon nardus” or “C. winterianus” are all species of the genus Cymbopogon. Cymbopogon citratus, which looks like a scallion but has a much larger bulb, is commonly used in Thai cuisine.

Native to India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, Cymbopogon flexuosus is also known by the names “Cochin Grass” and “Malabar Grass.” Citronella oil is extracted from a plant called Cymbopogon nardus.

The culinary uses of any variety include fresh, dried, powdered, and essential oil preparations.

Lemongrass Poisoning in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

So, can my dog be poisoned by lemongrass?

The quick answer is “yes,” it can have negative effects if consumed. Dogs’ digestive systems aren’t built to process a large amount of vegetable or grassy matter, so if you suspect they’ve eaten too much lemongrass, especially the dried or woody stalked variety, keep a close eye on them.

Because of digestive difficulties, lemongrass is often to blame for these problems.

It’s possible that you misidentified the plant, that the plants were treated with pesticides, or that your dog ingested more than one toxin, if you notice additional symptoms of toxicity.

The form of lemongrass your pet ingested is another factor to think about. However, depending on which variety of lemongrass was used in the distillation process, the essential oil may be toxic to your pet even if the grass itself is not toxic.

Your pet only needs to ingest a small amount of essential oil before it becomes toxic.

If your pet has been exposed to lemongrass, look for the following symptoms:


Your dog may be sick because of an obstruction, such as the tough fibrous part of the lemongrass or some other irritant.

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Too much lemongrass or a pesticide on the plot could upset your dog’s stomach and lead to diarrhea.

Abdominal discomfort

Your pet may be experiencing discomfort because of an intolerance to lemongrass or another food.

Enlarged abdomen

Your pet’s abdomen may swell if it eats too many lemongrass leaves, which can cause an obstruction. Surgical intervention may be required to resolve the issue.

Straining or struggling to defecate

An obstruction that prevents your pet from defecating is another possible cause of constipation.

You should get your pet to the vet right away if you notice any of these signs.

What you need to know when it comes to your dog and lemongrass

Your dog should not eat the lemongrass even though it is safe to have it in your garden. Because they are not herbivores, dogs cannot properly digest large amounts of plant material.

Ingestion of large quantities of lemongrass can lead to intestinal obstruction. You should contact your veterinarian if you find that your pet has eaten all of the lemongrass plants in your home or garden.

The vet can help you keep an eye on your pet to detect any signs of blockage or other complications from lemongrass poisoning.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon nardus) is the source of citronella, but there are other species. Citronella’s ability to deter fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes outweighs the risk of giving it to your pet as a dietary supplement.

Make sure to use citronella products that are safe for dogs and read the label directions before applying. In case of doubt, check with the maker or your pet’s vet.

Because of its pleasant aroma and ability to repel fleas and ticks, lemongrass essential oil is also sometimes included in soaps, shampoos, and other personal care products for both humans and animals.

The shampoo or insect repellent is safe for your pet as long as you follow the application instructions. Don’t use more often or at a higher dosage than suggested.

What is Lemongrass Poisoning?

Cymbopogon citratus, or lemongrass, is one of the plants that can safely be grown in dog-friendly gardens. However, canines aren’t herbivores, so their stomachs aren’t built for consuming lots of greens.

Dogs can get dangerous intestinal blockages from eating too much plant matter. The Citronella plant (Cymbopogon nardus) may look similar, but its stems are red instead of green, so the two should not be confused. When extracted as an oil, citronella can have a mildly unpleasant odor.

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Cymbopogon citratus, more commonly known as lemongrass, is a culinary grass native to Southeast Asia. Several gardening websites recommend these plants because they are non-toxic and safe for canine companions.

Symptoms of Lemongrass Poisoning in Dogs

Your dog probably won’t get sick from nibbling on some lemongrass from your garden. Although this long grass isn’t poisonous on its own, eating too much of it can cause dangerous blockages in the digestive tract.

Within 24 hours of ingesting something that cannot be broken down by the digestive system, symptoms of intestinal obstruction will typically manifest. Possible signs of a severe intestinal blockage include:

  • Stomach ache
  • abdominal distention
  • Fever
  • The inability to get rid of
  • Inability to eat
  • Shock
  • Struggling to poop
  • Vomiting


  • Southern Asian chicken dishes frequently feature Cymbopogon citratus, a tropical plant that is generally non-toxic but can cause some gastrointestinal distress if eaten in large quantities.
  • Citronella grass (Cymbopogon nardus) resembles lemongrass but has maroon stems; it is the source of citronella oil, a natural insect repellent.
  • Java citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus) is a hybrid of the original citronella plant (Cymbopogon nardus) that was developed in the 19th century and is now used in perfumes.

Causes of Lemongrass Poisoning in Dogs

Healing arts practitioners frequently employ lemongrass for both human and canine patients.

Oil extracted from the lemongrass plant contains high levels of citral and geraniol, which act as mild insect repellents, similar to citronella. Because of its soothing effects on the skin and pleasant scent, it is frequently included in shampoos and deodorants.

It has also been shown to be antibacterial and antifungal, and it may help reduce uric acid levels.

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Diagnosis of Lemongrass Poisoning in Dogs

If your pet becomes ill after ingesting lemongrass, it is likely due to a misidentification of the plant or an underlying condition, as lemongrass is not toxic on its own. Therefore, the testing would be guided by the symptoms.

In addition to performing a physical exam, your vet will likely order a urinalysis, biochemistry profile, and complete blood count (CBC) to see if any toxins or imbalances persist in your dog’s system.

Sensitivity to touch or the presence of a mass where the plant material has clumped together in the digestive tract are two signs that an intestinal blockage is to blame for the patient’s symptoms and would lead the examiner to recommend imaging tests.

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A barium study or ultrasound technology may be used to get a clear picture.

If your pet’s symptoms are consistent with a reaction to a toxin, you’ll be asked questions about your pet’s medical history and any circumstances that could have led to inadvertent poisoning.

Pesticides and other plant toxins will be tested for to see if they can shed light on the problem.

How to Treat Lemongrass Poisoning

You can expect a quick examination, some blood work, and maybe even an X-ray when you get to the vet. The results of these examinations will aid the physician in designing a suitable course of treatment. The strategy may consist of:

  • Giving intravenous fluids
  • If an intestinal blockage is detected, therapy to flush out the mass is performed.
  • vomiting induction if it is determined that another toxic substance has been ingested
  • Toxins can be bound and removed using activated charcoal.
  • In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the obstruction.

The veterinarian will provide you with care instructions once your pet’s condition has stabilized. Some of these measures may include prescribing medication or recommending a bland diet to help keep his stomach calm while he heals. It’s also simpler to give him nourishment he needs without upsetting his stomach.

If surgery was necessary, pain medication may also be prescribed, and you may be told to get rid of the lemongrass in your garden if your pet has shown an interest in it.

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Recovery of Lemongrass Poisoning in Dogs

The lemongrass plant is not poisonous, but it looks a lot like the citronella plant, which is.

Similar to lemongrass, citronella comes from the same family of plants, but it has a slightly toxic effect if consumed in large amounts. Keep an eye out for anything that seems out of the ordinary, both in terms of your dog’s behavior and the surrounding environment.

Even seemingly harmless plants can be sprayed with poisonous pesticides, and feeding your dog an excessive amount of any kind of plant material can cause gastrointestinal distress or even a blockage.

Veterinarian attention is warranted for any animal that suddenly develops a craving for large amounts of vegetation or other inappopriate items; this behavior may be a reaction to brain lesions, vitamin deficiencies, or circulatory abnormalities. Keeping your pet safe requires vigilant monitoring of his actions and surroundings.

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