If you live in an area prone to mosquitoes, you know what a nuisance they can be. But mosquitos can be more than just annoying; they can be harmful to your health and even deadly, especially to pets. Without taking a preventative medication, your dog can get diseases like heartworm and West Nile virus from those mosquitos. But what if you forget to give a dose of your preventative or give it a couple of days late? In those situations, your dog will need extra protection. And if you’re spending any time outdoors with your dog, you’ll also need something to keep mosquitos at bay — preferably something natural. Citronella has long been considered a natural mosquito repellant, but just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it is safe. In fact, citronella can be toxic to pets.
If you typically rely on citronella to safeguard your family from mosquitos, you can still use it responsibly, but there are things you should know in order to keep your dog safe. You may also want to consider some natural alternatives to citronella. Here’s what you should know about keeping your dog safe around citronella and ways to get rid of the bloodsuckers altogether.
Citronella candles and oils are a popular mosquito repellent, but the citronella plant is toxic to pets. Use caution when using citronella products around your pet, and make sure they don’t have access to any citronella plants in your garden.
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and mosquitos hate it. Planting it in some pots around your patio or deck will help repel mosquitos so you don’t have to use citronella. Plus, the pots will ensure the mint stays contained without spreading to other areas of your yard.
Dogs or cats who rub up against the plants may experience dermatitis – a skin irritation or rash. According to the ASPCA, eating the plants could cause gastrointestinal upset such as vomiting. Cats and dogs also could experience muscle weakness, loss of muscle coordination, depression, or even hypothermia if enough of the plant is ingested. Cats are most susceptible.
Citronella geraniums (Pelargonium cv. ‘Citrosa’) are popular patio plants that are purported to ward off pesky insects such as mosquitoes, although no scientific evidence supports this claim. Is citronella safe for pets? If you grow scented geraniums in the Pelargonium family, be sure to keep your dogs and cats away. Scented geraniums are toxic to pets.
Safest Citronella Alternatives
Although there are dangers to using both natural and manufactured mosquito repellants, rest assured that not all of them are dangerous to dogs. There are actually alternatives that are safer for pets, and they’re available at most pet stores. You can even make your own.
Is the smell of citronella harmful to dogs?
What happens if a dog eats citronella?
Is it okay for dogs to inhale citronella?
Can citronella spray harm dogs?
If a dog ingests citronella, stomach irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and neurological abnormalities may occur. Sprays and oils can cause skin irritation if they touch your pet’s skin or paws for an extended period of time, and they may cause eye irritation if contact occurs.