Like so many confusing monikers, citronella doesn't come from the citronella plant. The citronella plant, also called the mosquito plant, is actually a member of the geranium family. Grown as a mosquito repellent plant, this plant poses a risk to dogs.
The citronella plant has deeply lobed, fern-like leaves that can resemble parsley. The plant blooms with small lavender flowers. It can grow up to 5 feet in height.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cautions that all members of the geranium family, Pelargonium, are toxic to dogs. They contain the active toxins geraniol and linalool.
Dogs who come into contact with the citronella plant can experience skin irritation. Ingestion can result in lethargy, loss of appetite and diarrhea.
Seek veterinary medical care immediately if you suspect your dog is suffering adverse effects from eating a citronella plant.