Are Geraniums Poisonous to Dogs

icon June 7, 2024

Geraniums, popular garden plants known for their vibrant flowers and pleasant fragrance, are often found in household gardens and landscapes. However, for dog owners, it's essential to be aware of the potential risks these plants pose to their pets. This article delves into whether geraniums are poisonous to dogs, what to do if a dog eats geraniums, the symptoms and treatment of geranium toxicity, the safety of geranium oil for dogs, the potential for geraniums to cause seizures, and whether it is safe for dogs to smell geraniums.

Are Geraniums Poisonous to Dogs?

The simple answer is yes, geraniums are considered toxic to dogs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) lists geraniums, specifically the Pelargonium species, as toxic to dogs. These plants contain toxic compounds such as geraniol and linalool, which can cause a range of adverse effects if ingested by dogs. Symptoms of geranium poisoning in dogs can be various, and the key to noticing geranium toxicity promptly is the abnormal behaviors and sudden discomforts. Understanding the toxicity of geraniums is crucial for dog owners who want to keep their pets safe.

What to Do if a Dog Eats Geranium

If you suspect that your dog has ingested geraniums, it is important to act quickly. Here are the steps you should take:

1. Remove the Plant Material:
If your dog is still eating the plant, remove any remaining geranium parts from its mouth and prevent further access to the plant.

2. Check for Symptoms:
Observe your dog for signs of toxicity, such as vomiting, drooling, loss of appetite, lethargy, or skin irritation.

3. Contact Your Veterinarian:
Call your veterinarian immediately. Provide them with information about the quantity of geranium ingested and any symptoms your dog is experiencing. Your vet will guide you on the next steps, which may include bringing your dog in for a check-up.

4. Do Not Induce Vomiting Without Professional Advice:
While inducing vomiting can sometimes be helpful, it should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian, as improper induction can cause more harm.

5. Follow Veterinary Instructions:
Your vet may recommend treatments such as activated charcoal to absorb toxins, IV fluids to prevent dehydration, or medications to manage symptoms. Follow their advice closely to ensure your dog's safety.

Geranium Dog Toxicity

Understanding the specifics of geranium toxicity in dogs is important for prevention and treatment. The toxic compounds in geraniums, geraniol and linalool, can cause various symptoms:

♦  Vomiting and Diarrhea:
These are common symptoms when a dog ingests geraniums. The gastrointestinal upset is due to the irritation caused by the toxic compounds.

♦  Loss of Appetite and Lethargy:
These symptoms indicate that the dog's system is struggling to cope with the ingested toxins.

♦  Dermatitis:
Skin contact with geraniums can lead to irritation and dermatitis, characterized by redness, itching, and swelling.

♦  Depression:
A dog may appear unusually quiet and withdrawn, showing a lack of interest in normal activities.

Is Geranium Oil Safe for Dogs?

Geranium oil, derived from the leaves and stems of the geranium plant, is often used in aromatherapy and as an insect repellent. However, its safety for dogs is a topic of concern.

1. Toxicity:
Geranium oil contains concentrated amounts of geraniol and linalool, the same compounds that make the plant itself toxic. Therefore, ingesting or coming into direct contact with geranium oil can be harmful to dogs.

2. Topical Application:
Using geranium oil on a dog's skin can cause irritation, allergic reactions, and dermatitis. Dogs may lick the applied area, leading to ingestion of the oil.

3. Inhalation Risks:
While inhalation might seem less harmful, the strong fragrance of essential oils, including geranium oil, can cause respiratory issues in some dogs. This is particularly concerning for dogs with pre-existing respiratory conditions.

4. Consult Your Veterinarian:
Before using any essential oil around pets, it is crucial to consult a veterinarian. They can provide guidance on safe usage and recommend alternative products that are safe for pets.

Can Geraniums Cause Seizures in Dogs?

Seizures in dogs can be caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to toxins. While geraniums are not commonly known to directly cause seizures, severe cases of toxicity can potentially lead to neurological symptoms, including seizures.

1. Toxin Accumulation:
Ingesting a large amount of geraniums can lead to significant toxin accumulation in a dog's system, which might overwhelm their body and potentially result in seizures.

2. Underlying Health Conditions:
Dogs with pre-existing health conditions or those already prone to seizures may be at a higher risk of experiencing seizures if they ingest geraniums or geranium oil.

3. Immediate Veterinary Care:
If a dog exhibits signs of seizures after ingesting geraniums, immediate veterinary care is crucial. Seizures can be life-threatening and require prompt medical intervention to stabilize the dog and treat the underlying cause.


  • It can inhibit the excessive electrical discharges, limit the diffusion of such discharges, and restore the normal electroencephalography from a grand mal seizure
  • After being well absorbed, it can be widely distributed in various tissues and body fluids
  • Applicable to encephalitis, brain damage, parasites, canine distemper sequela, poisoning, epilepsy caused by strong stimulation
  • Relieve convulsions caused by encephalitis, tetanus and strychnine poisoning

Is Geranium Safe for Dogs to Smell?

The act of smelling geraniums, as opposed to ingesting them, generally poses a lower risk. However, there are still considerations to keep in mind:

1. Allergic Reactions:
Some dogs may have allergic reactions to the strong fragrance of geraniums, leading to symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, or nasal discharge.

2. Respiratory Issues:
Dogs with sensitive respiratory systems or pre-existing conditions like asthma might experience discomfort or exacerbation of symptoms when exposed to the strong scent of geraniums.

3. Behavioral Concerns:
Some dogs may be drawn to the smell and attempt to chew on the plant, leading to ingestion and the associated risks of toxicity.

Preventative Measures

Preventing geranium poisoning in dogs involves a combination of awareness, proactive measures, and safe alternatives:

1. Avoid Planting Geraniums:
If you have a dog that spends time in the garden, avoid planting geraniums or other toxic plants. Opt for pet-safe alternatives like marigolds, snapdragons, or petunias.

2. Supervise Outdoor Activities:
Monitor your dog while they are in the garden or backyard to prevent them from chewing on or ingesting any plants.

3. Educate Household Members:
Ensure that all family members are aware of the risks associated with geraniums and the importance of keeping pets away from these plants.

4. Use Pet-Safe Products:
When using essential oils or insect repellents, choose products specifically formulated to be safe for pets. Always read labels and consult your veterinarian before use.

5. Create Safe Zones:
Designate certain areas of your garden or home as pet-friendly zones where toxic plants and substances are not present.


While geraniums add beauty and fragrance to gardens and homes, they pose a significant risk to dogs due to their toxic compounds. Understanding the symptoms of geranium poisoning and knowing how to respond promptly can save your dog's life. Additionally, being cautious with geranium oil and considering safer alternatives can prevent potential harm. By taking preventive measures and staying informed, dog owners can ensure a safe environment for their furry friends, free from the dangers posed by geraniums and other toxic plants.

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