Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Birds, Cats, Dogs, and Other Pets

While growing up, we would always be drinking a lot of herbal teas. Lemon verbena was, and still is, one of the herbal teas which I drink most. It has so many health benefits and holds great effects on my lifestyle.

If you know me, my plants and pets are my oxygen. I have many herbal plants which I grow around the house and in my garden. Before owning my cat, two dogs, one cockatiel, and two budgies, I’d never put any consideration to what type of plants I place around my house.

Once I got my first cockatiel, Calypso, things changed. I had to give away many of my plants to friends, family, and neighbors since some of them were toxic to cockatiels. And I moved the others to rooms where my bird wouldn’t play in.

After getting my cat and dogs, I also had to make some rearrangements for my plants because not all plants are safe for pets.

There were many debates on whether lemon verbena is toxic since it is poisonous to cats, dogs, and horses, then that meant it was poisonous to birds as well.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Birds

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Average-size Birds (Cockatiels, Budgies, Parrots)

Lemon verbena is considered to be completely safe for adult cockatiels, budgies, and cockatoos, and pigeons. Average size birds can handle it. Lemon verbena can reach the level of toxicity when offered in big doses.

Yet, birds have small stomachs and metabolize food so quickly. It could be very risky to offer your birds lemon verbena since it is not very clear how much is a safe dose.

Additionally, fresh lemon verbena herb contains a high level of essential oil. If you’re willing to offer it to your parrot or any kind of bird you own, offer a very small quantity of dried lemon verbena herb.

You can offer it as a test. Keep watching your birds’ behavior afterward and especially their droppings. If you notice any abnormality, avoid lemon verbena from giving it to your pet.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Small Birds

Small birds such as canaries and goldfinch are very small bird pets. Offering lemon verbena herb can upset their stomach and cause internal issues. Small birds are very sensitive and cannot digest so many things as big or average birds do.


Lemon verbena is said to be safe only when given in small quantities, however; I would recommend you to avoid offering lemon verbena to your bird at all costs. It can be risky since it is rich in essential oil and citrusy.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Cats

Lemon verbena is poisonous to cats. Cats will face symptoms such as colic and stomach upset. According to the ASPCA, lemon verbena contains essential oil which makes it toxic to cats if eaten.

In the case of cats, small or large doses are all harmful, if your cat consumes a small quantity of lemon verbena, fresh or dry, contact your vet ASAP.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Dogs

Same for dogs, lemon verbena is harmful to dogs, of all sizes and breeds. Once lemon verbena is consumed by dogs, it would cause them colic and stomach upset. Due to its toxic substance, essential oil, it should be forbidden for our little doggies.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Hamsters

Lemon verbena is unsafe for hamsters to eat. Due to its acidity, it will cause diarrhea, which would lead to dehydration. Hamsters by nature love to eat herbs and leafy things. Unfortunately, the lemon verbena herb is considered poisonous for them.

Is Lemon Verbena Toxic to Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are very picky eaters. They tend to choose their food carefully. You might even find them recognizing what’s toxic to them and what’s not by themselves. However, when it comes to herbs, they tend to eat gentle herbs such as peppermints and lavender.

These cuties cannot eat acidic and citrusy foods such as oranges, lemon, lime. And since lemon verbena contains a certain level of acidity, it may harm your hedgehogs and cause digestive problems.

You should avoid offering your baby pet lemon verbena herb and go for mild, friendly herbs.

Similar Article: Are Orchids Toxic To Birds, Cats, Dogs, and Other Pets?

Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I Put Lemon Verbena Around my Pets as a Decoration

To a certain extent, you can put the plant around your house but somewhere where your pets cannot reach. Or, you can place your lovely plant in a room where your pets do not go to.

If you decide to keep your plant in a room where your pets hang out, make sure to put it at least high up. You’d need to keep your eye on them whenever your pets are around them. However, I’d totally recommend placing your lemon verbena plant somewhere far from reach, a different room.

Can I Add Lemon Verbena in a Dish and Feed It to my Pets

Yes, you can! Once lemon verbena is used in cooking, it loses its toxic efficacy. However, Make sure to offer the food to your pet in small doses and watch for any unpleasant reaction your pet might give.


Similar to lemon basil, lemon verbena, Lemon Beebrush, or Aloysia, is a wonderful herb. Its magnificent flavor and health benefits to humans are unreal. As beautiful and beneficial as this plant is to humans, it can be very dangerous and harmful to animals. Everage size birds can handle small doses, unlike other pets.

Even for humans, when lemon verbena is consumed excessively with large doses, it can be harmful and have many different side effects.

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