With the movement towards more natural pet care comes the belief that natural treatments are safer than synthetic chemical treatments. While that’s often the case, there are some natural treatments that may contain unsafe ingredients.

Is Pennyroyal Safe for Pets?

We have seen several natural flea and tick treatments (and recipes for natural flea treatments) containing herbs and essential oils that should not be used on dogs, cats or other animals. I can only assume that the formulators of these potions have read information indicating an ingredient is effective in killing or repelling fleas and looked no further into the safety of its use. One of these ingredients is Pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegioides and Mentha pulegium).

Pennyroyal contains volatile oils, primarily pulegone, which can be toxic to animals. Ingesting even minute amounts over time can cause permanent damage. Since both dogs and cats are likely to lick themselves, no amount of Pennyroyal is truly safe for pets. Cats are especially sensitive to Pennyroyal and its use may result in death.

Hedeoma pulegioides & Mentha pulegium Pennyroyal for pets
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) is not safe for animals.

The effects of Pennyroyal toxicity may include:

  • Death
  • Unconsciousness
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Renal damage
  • High blood pressure
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Miscarriage

There are safe, effective, natural flea and tick treatments on the market that don’t contain dangerous ingredients. We suggest that you research each ingredient on the label before purchasing and take great care when formulating your own flea repellent recipes.

Sudekum et al. Pennyroyal Oil Toxicosis in a Dog. 1992.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Bell, Kristen Leigh. Holistic Aromatherapy for Animals: A Comprehensive Guide to the Use of Essential Oils & Hydrosols with Animals. 2002.

You may also be interested in reading:
Natural, Organic Flea Treatment and Control (With Herbal Rinse Recipe)
Natural Tick Treatments for Dogs (With Anti-Lyme’s Bite Recipe)


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13 thoughts on “Is Pennyroyal Safe for Pets?

  1. How hard is it to research or hire a product developer who specializes in natural remedies??? There’s no excuse for putting pets in danger.

  2. I’ve too read that penny royal isn’t good for dogs and wondered why it’s in products for pets. I don’t know if they don’t care or they just don’t research it enough but they should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. My goodness you’re smart. I’m inclined to think that if it’s in a natural food it must bring natural goodness but I shouldn’t be so trusting.

  4. Some businesses are only interested in making money from natural ingredients. Maybe if they see articles like this they’ll realize they need to hire someone with expertise in natural pet care.

  5. I always wondered why some products still contain pennyroyal when it’s becoming common knowledge that it’s not safe for pets. I’m happy to see people spreading the word about this dangerous oil.

  6. Thank you for providing this information. Obviously we can’t count on the manufacturer or the government to ensure pet safety.

  7. It doesn’t matter if its natural or not if there’s profit involved we need to be careful. Thanks for the warning.

  8. I can’t beleive some companies are so determined to take advantage of people who want to do something natural for their pets!!! If they only use a little bit the product works and the people using it don’t know its what made their pet sick!!! Beneath contempt!!!

  9. It’s hard to know whats safe and whats not. I always thought if it was included in a product it must be safe but I’ve learned tto check it out just in case.

Comments are closed.