Side Effects of Geraniums on Dogs

Updated March 21, 2017

Many kinds of plants present dangers to your pets. Your dog's instincts prevent it from munching on many of the toxic ones, but sometimes curiosity or the need to chew gets the better of the canine's reason, and your dog may eat something toxic. Geraniums are one common plant that can make your dog ill if he eats it. Look for warning signs of geranium poisoning if your pet has been acting suspiciously near the flower beds. If your dog presents some or all of the side effects of eating geraniums, visit the veterinarian for professional advice immediately.

Itchy, Irritated Skin

Skin irritation is one side effect that occurs once your dog has eaten geraniums. The plants contain significant amounts of the chemicals geraniol which causes skin irritation when your dog lays or rolls in the geranium bed. The dog's facial area may be irritated from eating the plants, too. While it may be difficult for you to diagnose geranium poisoning based on your dog's desire to scratch, you can deal with the skin irritation--no matter the cause--with a warm tub of water and mild dog shampoo.


Once your dog ingests geranium blossoms or leaves, stomach's distress will soon make itself known. The chemical geraniol and linalool, the other key chemical in geraniums, although recognised in the scientific community as phytochemicals in humans--plant chemicals with disease-fighting properties--will trigger your dog's vomiting reflex to rid his body of toxicity. The toxic chemicals can also burn your dog's mucous membranes on their way out.


While you might find it disheartening to see your geranium bed torn up, your dog's depressive side effect from eating the plants is a physical condition of slowed functionality. Lethargy, low energy, a desire to stay inside, or unusual calmness in a normally active dog can be signs of geranium poisoning. Any time your dog's behaviour is notably out of character, be on the lookout for a possible cause.

Weight Loss

Geranium poisoning may keep your dog from cleaning up his dinner dish. The toxicity that causes an upset stomach can leave your pet with no appetite as well. Depending on his body weight, just a few missed meals, combined with vomiting, can cause unhealthy weight loss.

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About the Author

I have an MFA degree in Creative Writing and am a published poet who has received several poetry awards. I have established a reputation as an environmental activist, both through the group I co-founded -- see -- and through a series of op-ed pieces in Montana newspapers. I have written extensively on alternative energy, recycling and endangered species.