Can Dogs Eat Mint? Is Mint Safe for Dogs?

It’s very common, especially around certain holidays, to wonder if it’s ok to give your dog peppermint. The short answer is yes. But before you fill your doggy bowl up with mints to freshen their breath, let’s take a little more in-depth look at this question to see if there are any health factors to worry about as well as feeding limits or recommendations you should follow.

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Is Peppermint Bad for My Dog?

Peppermint is a hybrid plant created by mixing the spearmint plant with the water mint plant. All three plants can be eaten by your dog in small amounts, as can peppermint and spearmint extract. However, the American Kennel Club recommends that you do not use peppermint or other essential oils around your pet as they can be harmful to their health. In some cases, it may be possible to dilute the essential oil to safe levels, but it’s probably better to avoid it.

Too much peppermint extract can lead to an upset stomach for your pet, and any change in diet can upset their delicate digestive system. When the digestive system is off-balance, it’s not uncommon for your pet to experience vomiting, diarrhea, and other problems until it gets back on track.

Peppermint treats can also lead to weight gain and obesity, as can any treat if not given in moderation. We don’t recommend offering your dog peppermint-flavored candies and cookies, these people treat are very high in calories, bad for their teeth, and may contain other ingredients that can be harmful to your pet. One of the biggest concerns is Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many candies that can be deadly to your pet if ingested.

peppermint
Credit: Just Photos I Took, Shutterstock

Is Peppermint Good for My Dog?

Your dog may enjoy the taste of peppermint, and it can help freshen breath for a time. If your dog is used to eating peppermint, and it is a regular part of its diet, it may help soothe an upset stomach. Peppermint has other beneficial properties as well. Peppermint leaves are high in vitamins A and C. It contains copper, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and other important minerals. It’s also high in fiber and loaded with antioxidants.

How Do I Feed Peppermint to My Dog?

The easiest and probably best way to add peppermint to your pet’s diet is by sprinkling a few leaves of fresh or dried peppermint over their food once a day. Start with very small amounts and watch for signs that it may be throwing your dog’s digestive system off balance. Once they are used to the new food, you can increase the amount slightly.

Cocker Spaniel puppy eating dog food
Image: Switlana Sonyashna, Shutterstock

Doggy Mint Treats

Here is a recipe that uses fresh peppermint leaves to create a healthy snack for your pet. This recipe was brought to us by Petcube. These treats provide you with a healthy snack that will help improve your pets breath.

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups old fashioned oats
  • ½ cup of finely chopped fresh parsley
  • ½ cup finely chopped fresh peppermint
  • One large egg or ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup plus one teaspoon of water
  • Three tablespoons of unrefined, extra virgin coconut oil

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat your oven to 325° Fahrenheit
Step 2: Use a blender to pulse blend oats to a flour consistency
Step 3: Mix the parsley, peppermint, egg or applesauce, water, and oil in a large bowl
Step 4: Stir in powdered oats and mix well
Step 5: Knead the dough several times before turning out onto a flour-covered surface
Step 6: Flatten the dough to about ⅛-inch thick using a rolling pin or your hands
Step 7: Use a cookie cutter or knife to cut out 1 x 1-inch treats
Step 8: Place the cookies about ¼-inch apart on a parchment-lined, or non-stick cookie sheet
Step 9: Bake 35-40 minutes, or until golden brown
Step 10: Allow the treats to cool completely before serving
Step 11: Store in an airtight container

What About Doggy Breath Mints?

There are plenty of recipes for homemade breath mints for your dog, and unsurprisingly, these do contain mint. You can also buy breath mints for your dog. Please don’t substitute a doggy breath mint for one of your own. Human breath mints can contain xylitol, which is very toxic to dogs.

Both types of breath mint won’t contain excessive amounts of mint, so it will be safe for your doggy to eat. Make sure you never give them more than the recommended amount per day, though! And always store them somewhere secure where your dog can’t reach them when you’re out of the house.

If choosing to use a DIY recipe, it’s probably best to stick to recipes that use mint leaves rather than essential oils. The use of essential oils around dogs needs to be considered extremely carefully. If you do want to use a recipe with mint essential oil, then we recommend talking to your veterinarian first.

Mint Essential Oil

Great care needs to be taken if you want to use any type of essential oil with your dog. Once applied either orally or topically, essential oils are quickly absorbed into your dog’s body, where they’re broken down by your dog’s liver.

Some essential oils can be poisonous to dogs and should never be used around them. These include pennyroyal and peppermint.

The use of any essential oil around your dog should be carefully considered and discussed with your veterinarian before you go ahead.

A Note on Pennyroyal

Pennyroyal is a plant belonging to the mint family. It can be toxic to dogs if they eat it, but confusingly, it’s also used it some flea powders and deodorizing sprays. Pennyroyal essential oil can also potentially cause poisoning resulting in death if applied directly to your dog’s skin. The problem is a compound called pulegone, which can cause liver damage.

Symptoms of pennyroyal poisoning include:
  • Lethargy
  • Nose bleeds
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing difficulties

If you have used Pennyroyal oil near your dog or they’ve ingested it and show any of the above symptoms, then speak to your vet immediately. It’s probably safest to avoid any type of product that uses pennyroyal.

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Summary

We hope you have enjoyed this quick look into whether you can feed your dog peppermint. Fresh or dried leaves, along with peppermint extract, are perfectly safe if given in moderation and may also lead to fresher breath. It can also help calm an upset stomach, and we believe your dog will love the doggy mint treats we have included the recipe for, and we hope you’ll give them a try. Remember to avoid essential oils around your pet and stick to the doggy treats on the holidays to avoid obesity and other possible health problems from Xylitol, etc.

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Featured Image: Pixabay