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Pennyroyal Oil Poisoning in Dogs

Pennyroyal Oil from Poisonous Plant for Dogs

Pennyroyal oil originates from plants belonging to the Labiatae mint family. Commonly utilized in flea powders, sprays, and fragrances, it poses toxicity risks for dogs, especially upon ingestion. Notably, there exists a reported instance of a dog experiencing pennyroyal oil poisoning through dermal exposure.

Symptoms and Types

Common symptoms associated with pennyroyal oil poisoning comprise:

  • Listlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bloody nose
  • Lethargy
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Death


The primary toxic component in pennyroyal oil is pulegone, a chemical known to be harmful to the liver and capable of inducing severe liver damage.


Diagnosis of pennyroyal oil poisoning typically involves:

  • Physical examination findings consistent with exposure to pennyroyal oil, alongside a history of contact with plants, fragrances, or flea products containing the oil.
  • Blood tests indicating abnormalities indicative of liver damage, including heightened levels of liver enzymes such as alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and gamma-glutamyl transferase, as well as signs of bleeding like anemia and prolonged clotting times.
  • Internal organ hemorrhage, such as in the lungs, liver, and kidneys, may be observed.
  • A conclusive diagnosis can be made through the detection of pulegone via gas chromatography, a specialized laboratory technique for analyzing specific chemicals.


  • Induction of vomiting, unless the dog is comatose, experiencing respiratory issues, or having seizures. Gastric lavage (stomach washing) might be conducted, and activated charcoal is commonly given to bind the toxin.
  • Bathing with a gentle shampoo to eliminate any traces of pennyroyal oil on the skin and fur is advised.
  • Fluid therapy might be necessary, along with supportive nursing care. N-acetylcysteine may be recommended, along with liver protectants such as S-Adenosylmethionine, Ursodeoxycholic acid, or vitamin E. Gastrointestinal protectants like cimetidine and/or carafate, as well as antiemetic medications to manage vomiting, may also be administered. Antibiotics are often prescribed as well.


Precautions should be taken when using flea products containing pennyroyal oil on dogs. It is essential to carefully follow the instructions on the label to prevent overdosing. Additionally, keep dogs away from garden plants and other items that contain pennyroyal oil.

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