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Mia Carter
Mia Carter, Animal Expert
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 822
Experience:  Specializing in the training and care of ill pets and special needs animals! Mom of 22 pets!
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my dog accidentally drank some of our citronella tiki lamp ...

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my dog accidentally drank some of our citronella tiki lamp oil, what do I do?
Hello there!

I see you're still online so I just thought I'd let you know that I'm working on your answer, if you'd like to check back in about five to ten minutes, it should be all typed up, okay?

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert
Mia Carter and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
this is my first time to use this website, I think I may have accepted your answer too soon
Hi there!

Okay, hopefully, your dog will not suffer any serious consequences from this incident.
Citronella is actually used in bark control collars, and in most cases, there's few adverse reactions and instances of toxicity.

Obviously drinking citronella oil is a bit different. It can hasten the heart rate and we don't know what other ingredients were in the solution that she drank. The ASPCA does list citronella candles on the list of hazardous items, but I've found other articles that say pure citronella oil isn't acutely toxic, though it's not meant to be ingested. So for this reason, I would recommend calling a poison control center for pets. They can look up the specific product and tell you the concentration of various ingredients and based on this, they can tell you exactly what to do. I dont' have that information, nor does your vet or anyone else....companies don't release the specifics on ingredients and concentrations or else competitors could copy their formula.

Here's the number I recommend:(888)(NNN) NNN-NNNN/strong>.

This is the ASPCA poison control center and they're open 24/7. There is a fee - I believe $55 - but that covers all calls relating to your case. They're a wonderful service and they can tell you exactly what to do for this particular product.

I would definitely expect gastric upset for a few days. And I can give you information on monitoring her - if a dog is intolerant of a particular substance, even if that substance isn't classically considered toxic, you can end up with a deadly reaction. So we'll want to monitor her closely for the next 24 hours.

In addition, you'll want to check out her vital signs. I would monitor these hourly until we get this all sorted out:

Just check these things two or three times a day and write down what you see, along with any other observations (i.e. how his appetite is) and be sure to bring it along on your next vet visit - this will help track his progress and it can be a valuable tool for diagnosis!
Temperature can be checked rectally with a bit of vaseline on the thermometer - this can give you an idea of general condition. It should be between 100-102. Anything below 100 or above 103 is a serious problem. A fever could also cause chills and shivering, so this is an important thing to check.

Checking the gums is an indicator of your dog's circulation. If there's internal bleeding, anemia, a disruption of normal blood flow, or serious illness, the gums will turn very pale, almost white in appearance. This means that the blood is not properly receiving oxygen or there's a loss of blood or red blood cells.

Normal gums will be bright pink to a pale pink. Abnormal gums are white with greyish, blue, or yellow.

Here is a link to a photo of normal gums:

Here is a link to a couple of photos of pale gums:

I should note that I've seen perfectly healthy dogs with gums that are slightly paler than those pictured in the "normal gums" picture, but there's always a distinct pink tone.

For more information on checking your dog's gums, visit:

The normal heart rate varies depending on the size and age of the dog. A puppy has a heart rate of about 180 beats per minute. And adult dog will have a rate between 60-160 beats per minute. Small toy breeds can have normal heart rates of 180 beats per minute. The rule is the younger the dog, the faster the heart rate (for puppies). And the smaller the dog, the faster the heart rate.

Normal pulse is between 60 and 120.

Also, you can check capillary refill time. If you apply firm pressure to the gums, the area should turn pale and then quickly return back to normal (you can try this on your own skin to see what I mean). If there's no difference, or if your dog's gums take a long time to return back to normal, there could be a problem. The gums should return to normal in no less than one second and no more than two 1/2 seconds.

I think this is a case where inducing vomiting would be beneficial. As long as she ate it within the past 2 hours, vomiting will help and it will get up between 40 and 60 % of the citronella. You give about two teaspoons of hydrogen peroxide, wait about ten minutes for vomiting and if you see none, repeat.

I would also try to get fluids into her once we get the citronella up. Try some chicken or beef broth, or a clear soup. (onion free! Onions are toxic!). Or you can mix some clear fruit juice (no citrus) unflavored pedialyte or gatorade with water in a 50-50 mix. Anything we can do to get her to drink once we get the citronella up - fluids are a must when a pet is ill like this.

Here's more on citronella:

hope this helps give you some direction with your dog. I hope he's feeling better soon! Just "reply" if you have any additional questions, okay?

****Please ACCEPT if my answer was helpful!****

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert

**As experts, we receive no compensation for our time and efforts unless you "accept!"**

I just noticed your post....

I do recommend waiting until you get a good answer before you accept in the future. Although as long as you're happy with the information I've provided and find it useful, there's nothing to worry about in this case, but you don't want to accept an answer you're not happy with, so that's why I recommend waiting in future cases. I know, it can be a bit confusing if you're new to the site.

Also, I have a few tips on caring for your dog, since I expect her tummy will be upset for a few days....

After we get her to vomit, you can give her some blackened toast. Burn it! And feed it to her. You may need to add a little bit of jam or butter. The toast will help absorb any residual oil in her belly. Fortunately, she's a larger dog so we have a larger margin of tolerance in terms of toxicity. If a smaller dog drank the same amount, the effects would be more serious. Typically, citronella isn't acutely toxic, so you should be in pretty good shape providing she didn't drink a huge amount, and as long as there weren't other dangerous additives in the solution.

I would avoid offering food for the next few hours - until late morning. Then, you'll want to offer a small meals of bland food (rice, cottage cheese, chicken, hamburger, as discussed above). In the cases of the meats, be sure to drain and cut away any fat. The key is to keep these foods light on the stomach. To start out, only offer one or two spoonfuls. If she keeps this down for four hours, offer a bit more than you did the first time. Wait another four hours and repeat the process until you get up to about 1/4 or 1/3 of her normal meal size. And feed her this food three or four times a day for two full days. On the fourth day, you can begin to feed her normal dog food. But don't do this changeover suddenly. Mix four parts of the bland food with about one part normal dog food. On the fifth day, mix three parts bland food to two parts normal dog food and continue at this rate until she's back on her normal dog food.

In some cases, the irritation to the stomach is so significant that the stomach needs to "rest" for 24 hours before offering the bland food.

I hope she's feeling better soon! Just let me know if you need any additional help. I will be near my computer for the next hour - until about 2:00 a.m. eastern standard time, okay?

-Mia Carter
Pet Expert