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Is Eucalyptus Safe for Dogs? Vet-Approved Risks & Advice

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

Beautiful eucalyptus tree in sunny April

Vet approved

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Eucalyptus oil and leaves are hazardous to dogs. Eucalyptol is a component that resides within eucalyptus leaves and products and is responsible for eucalyptus poisoning. If your dog ingests eucalyptus or eucalyptus products, it can have serious consequences.

If your dog has consumed eucalyptus leaves or eucalyptus essential oil, the best thing you can do for your dog is to contact your vet immediately. It can cause a variety of problems depending on the type and the amount of product ingested, as it is a gastrointestinal irritant. Ingestion of a small amount of eucalyptus leaves should cause mild digestive upset. However, eucalyptus poisoning following ingestion of concentrated eucalyptus oil is very dangerous and can lead to neurological problems such as weakness, tremors, and seizures.

Generally, if you suspect your dog has ingested any kind of eucalyptus, you must visit the vet immediately.

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Signs of Eucalyptus Poisoning in Dogs

There are different signs of eucalyptus poisoning in dogs. The symptoms range from digestive upset to even seizures.

If you notice any of the following symptoms and believe your dog has ingested any eucalyptus plant or product, immediately take the dog to the vet.

Signs include:
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Generalized weakness
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unsteady gait
  • Low blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

What Products Have Eucalyptol?

Anything that is labeled as containing eucalyptus likely has the toxin eucalyptol in it, as it is a toxin that resides in eucalyptus leaves, where all eucalyptus products come from. Everything from eucalyptus essential oil to eucalyptus teas and other kinds of products are dangerous to dogs.

Essential oil being diffused or rubbed on the dog’s skin can also pose a threat. Dogs can absorb toxins through their skin, causing a similar reaction as if they ate it. They can also breathe in the toxin if it is being diffused.

Generally, to be safe, keep anything that claims to contain eucalyptus away from your dog. It’s a dangerous toxin that you need to be very careful of. If your dog chews on a leaf, signs should be mild; however, with eucalyptus essential oil, even small doses can cause severe issues. Many different plants have dangerous amounts of eucalyptol in them. These plants include rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), mugwort, and wormwood (Artemisia species).

However, essential oils from multiple plants also contain eucalyptol, and you should still be on the lookout for these products. They include laurel plants, sage, bay leaves, sweet basil, and tea tree. Keep your eye out for your dog and ensure they don’t come into contact with any dangerous plants or essential oils.

selection of essential oils on table
Image Credit: Madeleine Steinbach, Shutterstock

How Eucalyptus Poisoning is Treated

The first thing you must do when your dog ingests eucalyptus leaves or other products is to contact your vet immediately. You should never attempt to get them to vomit to get the toxin out at home. There is no safe way to do this at home and, in some cases, it might even be contraindicated. You could do more harm than good. 

When you bring in your dog following eucalyptus poisoning, your veterinarian will evaluate your dog and decide the best course of action. Depending on the amount and the type of product ingested (leaves versus essential oils), your vet may give supportive treatment, such as anti-vomit medication and intravenous (IV) fluids, or they may decide to hospitalize your dog and provide anti-seizure medication if necessary. In some cases, your vet may perform a gastric lavage or give activated charcoal to eliminate the toxins in the dog’s body. Getting your dog treated early is very important for their survival.

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Eucalyptus is toxic to dogs. Both the leaves from the plant and essential oil contain toxic compounds that can have serious consequences for your pet. Signs can range from mild gastrointestinal to severe neurological problems in your dog, which could become fatal if left untreated. You should already be concerned if you notice your dog exhibiting any of these signs of illness. However, if you know they may have had access to eucalyptus leaves or essential oils, you should contact your vet immediately.  

Featured Image Credit: Traveller70, Shutterstock

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