Are Scented Leaf Pelargoniums toxic to cats and dogs?

(October 28, 2009)
Here is an email that we received recently and our reply:
'Hello, do you know if scented geraniums are toxic to cats and dogs?
I cannot seem to find information on the web on this! Thanks!'  Erika
Annie and Guy's Reply:

Hi Erika

Your question is one that we have never been asked before.  I’m hesitating in answering as I’m not sure what you mean by ‘toxic’? 

Scented Pelargoniums are classified as herbs and quite a lot are edible and are widely used in kitchen recipes.  However, it is recommended that the leaves, i.e. Crispum Variegatum, are not eaten in large quantities as it is known that this might lead to stomach upsets.  Many varieties are also used in herbal and medicinal remedies and I would say that like most herbs if taken in very large quantities that there might be side effects.

If by toxic you are asking are they poisonous?  We have dogs ourselves and I can only say that they have never shown the slightest interest in the Scenteds in our garden.
I did take a look around the internet to see if I could locate a suitable article which might help.  I did come across one regarding Scenteds which states that the plants do have the ability of intaking some metal elements, ie. cadmium and nickel, should they be planted in very close proximity.  I would say that the toxins would nned to be taken in over a very long period and the metal would have to be in high quantities very close by for this to happen.  Highly unlikely in your average garden.
To go back to your original question of are Scented Geraniums toxic to cats and dogs?  In 'normal' garden and house conditions I would say not.
Trusting that our answer is of help.
Annie and Guy

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