Lavender Is Poisonous? Only For Small Animals

Since ancient times, lavender has been used as a bath additive, as a repellent against insects, and as a medicinal and seasoning plant due to its high content of essential oils and its strong scent. Contrary to what many people think, lavender is completely harmless to cats, dogs and (small) children; it is only poisonous to rodents.

Lavendel giftig

Lavender is ideal for the family garden

Because of its strong smell, lavender or certain parts of the plant are often considered poisonous. However, this is not true, quite the opposite: the plant is explicitly one of the plants that can be planted in family gardens without worry – the dear little ones can put the plant parts in their mouths without anything happening.

No lavender oil for children under two years

Parents only need to be careful with lavender oil, because it contains very high concentrations of essential oils. Children under the age of two should never be treated or rubbed with essential oils of any kind – this can lead to respiratory arrest. However, this is not a problem with older children.

Cat and dog owners need not be afraid
All parts of the plant are not poisonous to cats and dogs. Some cat owners conclude from the fact that most cats instinctively avoid lavender that the plant is poisonous, but the animals only dislike the strong smell. Therefore, you do not need to worry if your cat accidentally nibbles on lavender.

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Lavender is dangerous only for small rodents

However, caution should be taken with small rodents such as

  • guinea pigs
  • hamsters
  • rabbits
  • and mice
  • because the plant is very toxic for these animals due to the high concentration of essential oils. In particular, rabbits and guinea pigs can die from lavender poisoning.

Side effects possible
While lavender is non-toxic, it can cause reactions such as headaches in people who are susceptible to it – especially if lavender oil is burned in a fragrance lamp. In some individuals, lavender oil or cream causes skin irritation and even rashes. Cat and dog owners should allow their pets to avoid a strong lavender odor.

Tips & Tricks
Also keep in mind that particular varieties, such as crested and spikenard lavender, contain much higher concentrations of essential oils and should be used extremely sparingly. As a fragrance and seasoning plant, the true lavender is much more suitable


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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