Much more than refreshing and tasty, mint has been a valuable home remedy since the Middle Ages.
The properties of this distinctive plant make it a big part of both healthy and snack foods that we all enjoy today, and growing it at home can prove a rewarding hobby too.
But what about our beloved four-legged furry family friends? Can dogs eat mint? Find out in this guide.
Is mint good for dogs?
Yes, mint is good for dogs – but as with anything in raising and living with canines, all good things ought to come in moderation.
There’s little reason to give your dog a whole mint plant to eat any more than there is any cause for we human beings to do so, yet the remedial and nutritious values of mint can certainly go a long way in helping your pet stay happy and healthy.
Many dog owners who have lived for just a little too long with their beloved pet’s musty panting will attest that mint can work wonders in freshening a dog’s breath, much as it is used among their masters in toothpaste and chewing gum.
Indeed, many dog treats and healthy formulated foods for dogs add some peppermint into the mix to help with issues like these, but also to increase the overall nutritional value of what they can offer your pet.
This is a good way of getting mint into your dog’s diet, because mint in its natural form is a bit more of a tricky customer.
After all, had dogs never joined humankind’s side in living among us as our friends, pets and faithful family members, dogs would rarely be trying to eat mint from the branch, nor much else in the way of plant-based nutrition for that matter.
That’s because dogs get their nutritional needs met by a rather different diet when compared to human beings, and similarly, they have evolved very differently from us because of that.
Dogs find it very difficult to digest fibre and other things found in plant-based food, which means they can eat far less of such things than humans, and often don’t need this sort of material at all in their diet.
Yet the benefit of that is also that a little goes a long way when adding vegetables, fruit or herbs to a dog’s diet – even for very big dogs.
Because of this, mint proves effective in helping your pet be his or her best, even without having to consume very much of it.
Health benefits of mint for dogs
Besides refreshing the breath and masking much of the smell that can sometimes accidentally arise from a hot, panting dog’s chops, there are also health benefits of mint for dogs that can work wonders in helping him or her overall.
For example, mint is remarkably good for a dog with an upset stomach, and just a few little pieces of finely chopped or ground mint leaf fed alongside other treats can help settle them down if they’re lying around looking upset at their gurgling belly.
Likewise, if your dog has been experiencing some messy toilet trips after eating something he or she shouldn’t, mint and fresh water are often the way to go.
Mint is also full of more in the way of vitamins than we often realise, including Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
As you’re no doubt aware, getting vitamins into your dog’s diet can only work wonders for him or her overall.
They help invigorate and energise your dog over the long term, and you’ll find that your dogs energy levels don’t spike up and down throughout the day so much as find a more even keel when these goodies are part of their daily nutrition.
Likewise, vitamins offer your dog a brighter, more glossy coat of fur, and you’ll find there’s quite the twinkle in his or her eye as time goes on too, as the vitamins help sharpen the mind.
And of course, it can’t be emphasised enough how valuable vitamins are for your dog’s immune system.
Unwell pooches can make faster recoveries from colds and maladies with it, and healthy dogs get a welcome bit of reinforcement against falling unwell in the first place if vitamins feature heavily in their diet.
Expanding on that, there are levels of menthol in mint that make it very handy for treating any build up of mucus, phlegm or other nasal nastiness in your dog.
Just as we human beings might brew some peppermint tea when we are feeling congested with a head cold, so too can dogs benefit from easier breathing if a couple of mint leaves are sprinkled about their supper.
Although we have already touched on how plant-based food can prove difficult for dogs to digest, it can become more of a healthy challenge than a hindrance if the portions and serving style are just right.
This is, after all, a big part of how fibre gives the digestive system workout, and mint has a healthy level of natural fibre within it that will help keep your dog regular from top to bottom, so to speak.
How much mint can a dog eat daily
Dogs are not inclined to eat plants as a basic rule, and they certainly will experience tummy upset and indigestion if they do so, if not outright blockages within as their systems struggle in vain to break down the fibrous material.
However, as a sensible dog owner you likely already know that mint is unlikely to be a cornerstone of your pet’s diet.
Nonetheless, a leave or two ground into their food is going to help remarkably in keeping them refreshed and revitalised, to say nothing of them having better breath after dinner than you’ve perhaps otherwise got used to.
However, dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and every one of them is an individual even beyond that.
As a result, it’s often best to take the tried and true approach of just experimenting and working with your dog to see what meshes best with them.
Begin by showing a leaf of mint to your dog and seeing if he or she is interested in the smell and texture.
If he or she happens to nibble it right out of your hand, don’t worry – it won’t cause any harm as a one-off, and if anything proves that your pet is inclined to happily let you include mint as part of their meals.
What to do if your dog eats mint
Although dogs are not altogether predisposed to try and eat plant-based food versus other things in the house, a curious dog, an especially peckish one or just one who instinctively senses some health benefits to be had in mint leaves may well try and steal some while you’re not looking.
If your dog has gobbled down an entire mint plant, you need not worry that he or she is at any risk.
Rather, you should watch for signs of digestive discomfort, which are sure to arise even if your dog has eaten mint that was finely ground up.
It’s just too much plant material all at once for him or her to comfortably process.
Some dogs will throw up shortly after eating something their stomach and intestines simply don’t want to process, so be ready for that – and ignore the irony that a little mint can help ease a dog’s unsettled stomach.
After all, it’s overdoing it on mint that has led to this level of digestive discomfort.
A tummy ache and a day of gurgling belly noises is all it ought to take for your dog to get over their minty misadventure, but certainly be on the lookout for any signs of internal blockage or choking too.
Plant material that gathers together in your dog after consumption can create obstructions in the internal passageways, including those through which your dog breathes.
If this seems to be the case, certainly contact your vet as soon as possible to help allay any long term harm.
Mint has become a much-beloved home remedy for a reason, but it’s not just for human beings.
In fact, many of the same advantages that we enjoy from having introduced mint leaves and peppermint into our cuisine can translate wonderfully to a canine diet too.
Those include not just fresh breath, but also boosted vitamins and the bolstered immune system and energy levels that go with that. Mint also provides iron, fibre and even some protein to your dog’s diet.
Nonetheless, it’s not something that’s worth overdoing – just a couple of ground leaves every other day or so should be fine.
This will give your dog all of the benefits and none of the drawbacks, and you’re likely to find a much more energised dog as a result.
Mint is also good to help unwell dogs feel better, whether their symptoms are in the nose and throat, or in an upset stomach.