Lavender is well known for its beautiful purple flowers and calming fragrance. This aromatic herb is popular in gardens, beauty products, and aromatherapy. But is lavender safe for your canine companion? Can dogs eat lavender? Let’s look at the risks, benefits, and dosage guidelines for lavender and dogs.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender?
Yes, dogs can eat lavender in small amounts. Lavender flowers and leaves contain antioxidants and oils that produce a calming effect in dogs. Lightly rubbing or spraying lavender oil on your dog’s bedding or collar may also provide relaxation. However, dogs should not consume lavender essential oils internally.
Risks of Lavender for Dogs
While small amounts of dried lavender flowers or leaves are generally safe, you should exercise caution and moderation when introducing lavender to dogs. Essential oils especially can be toxic to dogs if ingested. Just 2-3 drops of some essential oils can cause issues in small dogs. Lavender oil has also been linked to lowered heart rates and difficulty breathing in dogs when applied directly to the skin. Allergic reactions are also possible.
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What Happens if a Dog Eats Lavender?
If a dog eats a small amount of dried lavender flowers or leaves, it may act as a mild sedative. But be cautious of overdosing, as too much can cause vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sedation in dogs. Ingesting lavender essential oil is more dangerous and can damage the digestive, liver and nervous systems. Symptoms may include vomiting, seizures, ulcers and even death. Immediately contact your vet if your dog eats more than a tiny amount of lavender essential oil.
What to Do if My Dog Eats Lavender?
First, identify what form of lavender was ingested – a small amount of dried lavender buds or flowers may cause mild GI upset. But essential oils and extracts can be toxic. For mild ingestion of the dried herb, you can monitor your dog at home unless symptoms worsen. If they ate lavender essential oil, immediately contact your vet or pet poison control since toxicity can be life-threatening. If going to the vet, take the lavender product with you to identify the substance.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender Seeds?
It’s best to avoid letting your dog eat the seeds of the lavender plant, as they may cause intestinal blockages if consumed in large amounts. The oils within lavender seeds may also cause nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender Flowers?
In moderation, the dried flowers of the lavender plant are generally safe for dogs. The aromatic compounds may have a slight sedative effect. A small number of flowers can be used as an occasional treat. But avoid letting your dog ingest lavender essential oils.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender Ice Cream?
Some specialty ice cream shops offer lavender-flavored ice cream. In small amounts, this ice cream is not toxic and the chilling can dull the intensity of the lavender flavor. However, large doses may cause stomach upset. Also, dogs should not eat chocolate or raisin ice cream.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender Buds?
The dried buds of the lavender plant contain the same aromatic oils as the flowers so that dogs can eat a small number. But be wary of choking hazards from ingesting dried buds and flowers. It’s best to mix in with food or hydrate first. Monitor your dog closely for any vomiting, diarrhea or excessive sedation.
Can Dogs Eat Lavender Oil?
No. While lavender aromatherapy sprayed in the air is fine, essential oils are highly concentrated and toxic if ingested. Just a small amount of lavender essential oil (2-3 drops for small dogs) can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, vomiting, liver issues and even death. Topical applications on the skin can also cause chemical burns or respiratory distress in some cases. Avoid diffusing lavender oil around dogs as well.
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The bottom line is lavender may offer some mild benefits for dogs when given safely in moderation. But exercise caution with essential oils and plant parts like seeds or buds. Experts recommend sticking to 1-2 dried lavender flowers mixed into food for occasional sedative effects. Lavender essential oil should be avoided orally and used topically with care under veterinary guidance only. When in doubt, check with your vet before giving your dog any new herbal supplements or foods.
FAQs About Dog and Lavender
Q: Can dogs eat lavender soap?
A: No. While lavender itself can be safe for dogs, lavender soap products contain various chemicals that can irritate your dog’s digestive tract. Do not let your dog ingest lavender soap.
Q: Is lavender diffuser safe for dogs?
A: Inhaling diffused lavender oil is typically safe for dogs and may have mild calming effects. But directly applying undiluted lavender oil to your dog’s skin or fur can be dangerous, especially at high concentrations. Only use significantly diluted lavender oil topically on dogs, and monitor for skin reactions.
Q: Can I give my dog lavender pills or supplements?
A: Do not give your dog any herbal supplement without checking with your veterinarian first. Some lavender pills contain concentrated oils that may be toxic. Your vet can advise you on a safe dosage if lavender supplements are recommended for your dog.
Q: How much lavender is toxic to dogs?
A: There is no established toxic dose, as potency can vary. But even 2-3 drops of essential oil can cause issues in small dogs. As a general rule, avoid all essential oils for dogs. Dried lavender flowers may be safer in tiny amounts (1-2 flowers). Call your vet immediately if your dog ingests more than a small amount of lavender.