1. If an animal ingests liquid pot pourri, seek immediate veterinary attention.
  2. If dried pot pourri is ingested, contact your veterinarian for advice. In these cases signs may be self-limiting but prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration.




Clinical signs occur usually within 12 hours of ingestion but may be delayed, with signs appearing as late as 48 hours post ingestion. Gastrointestinal signs predominate:

  • Vomiting, retching or gagging
  • Abdominal pain
  • Uncoordinated gait (ataxia)
  • Anorexia/inappetence
  • Dullness/depression
  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhoea (may contain blood)
  • Shivering/shaking
  • Hypersalivation
  • Difficulty breathing (dyspnoea)
  • Inflammation of the tongue
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures


The exact mechanism of toxicity for pot pourri is unclear but gastrointestinal damage may be caused physically by some of the sharp edges and rough surfaces of the dried components; plus animals may react to oils or perfumes in the mixes. Can cause kidney failure.


Veterinary treatment may involve intravenous fluids, antiemetics, gastroprotectants, pain relief and supportive care. Your veterinarian may recommend further diagnostic imaging like radiographs or ultrasound to ensure that there is no gastrointestinal obstruction.


Bates N (2009) Potpourri ingestion in dogs. The Veterinary Record. 165(9):271

Schildt JC, JutkowitzA& Beal MW (2008) Potpourri oil toxicity in cats: 6 cases (2000-2007). Journal of Emergency and Critical Care. 18(5):511-516

Foss TS (2002) Liquid potpourri and cats: Essence of trouble. Veterinary Technician. 23:686-689

Richardson JA A(1999) Potpourri hazards in cats. Veterinary Medicine. 94(12):1010-1012