Peppermint itself is not toxic to dogs unless it is consumed in large amounts. However, sometimes peppermint is mixed with other sweeteners, so that is where the problem lies. Xylitol is a sweetener that is toxic to dogs. If you unwittingly give them a peppermint treat with this added sweetener, it can be deadly for your pooch.
There is also a common mint plant that is toxic to dogs. Pennyroyal is not a mint plant that can be used in food products for dogs, and if you own a dog, you should not have it in your garden.
1. Health Benefits of Peppermint
While peppermint can have health benefits for humans, dogs do not react to it the same way. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.
People often tout the uses of peppermint for upset stomach and gas. In dogs, the peppermint can cause gas and stomach upset.
2. What if my Dog Consumed Peppermint?
If your dog got into some treats that were not meant for him and has eaten peppermint, you will need to watch him closely for signs of illness and discomfort. Of course, the potential damage depends on the size of the dog and the amount consumed. If you are unsure, it may be best to contact your veterinarian for advice.
3. Can I use Peppermint Essential Oil to get rid of Fleas?
Peppermint leaves are not good for dogs, and peppermint oil is viewed the same way.
Many flea repellents tout peppermint as the ingredient that kills fleas. But it is actually other ingredients in the mixture that is doing the dirty work. Peppermint oil does not kill fleas. It may make the flea repellent smell better, but it does not aid in the end goal.
Since the peppermint does not kill fleas and can be harmful to our furry friends, it is best not to use it.
Using a topical spray that contains peppermint can be harmful to dogs in various ways. Dogs with scent sensitivities may have an adverse reaction to it. And keep in mind that dogs self-groom by licking their fur. In this way, the oil can be ingested.
4. Can I Diffuse Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint oil is generally ok to diffuse in your home, even if you have a dog. However, some dogs are more sensitive than others.
If your dog starts to exhibit signs of allergies or discomfort, it would be best to discontinue use.
5. Feeding your Dog “Safe” Treats
Peppermint candy is not suitable for dogs because of the other ingredients. If you want to give your dog some peppermint treats, there are some that you can make at home that will be safe for him.
You may wonder why some people still want to give their dog peppermint after reading the above. Nevertheless, if you are knowledgeable, it is perfectly safe. Peppermint treats, homemade and given in moderation, can help keep your dog’s breath smelling minty fresh.
If you want to try out some homemade treats for your dog, safe recipes can be found online. Many human foods are safe for consumption by your furry friend!
6. Mint can be Tricky
Before giving your dog mint, or treats made with mint, be sure you know what you are getting. It is best to buy treats specifically made for dogs – whether it is a commercial manufacturer or someone who sells them at the Farmer’s Market.
Make sure you check the ingredients to ensure that the mint used is safe for dogs. While some mint is safe, some mint plants are toxic.
Most species of mint can be consumed by humans and dogs alike. Wild mint, spearmint, and peppermint are nontoxic.
But watch out for pennyroyal. Pennyroyal has a chemical in it known as pulegone. This chemical is toxic to both dogs and humans. If you eat too much mint containing pulegone, it can cause liver damage and organ failure.
Another mint that can be toxic to dogs is perilla mint. It is used in Asian cooking, but it is toxic to dogs and livestock. If you own a dog, you will want to keep it out of your garden for safety.
7. What is Safe, and What is Not?
You will find a lot of people who say absolutely do not feed your dog peppermint. Better safe than sorry, right?
But if you know what you are giving your dog and in what amounts, the decision is ultimately yours.
Treats that humans eat with peppermint flavor (think candy canes, peppermint bark, and other goodies) are not suitable for dogs.
If you make treats with peppermint leaves that have small amounts of fresh mint, they are safe. Keep in mind that fresh mint and mint candies are two different things. Mint candies have other potentially harmful ingredients.
It can also be harmful for dogs to eat peppermint in large amounts. Consuming it in moderation is perfectly fine.
Informed is Best
When it comes to doing what is right for your pet, make sure to keep yourself informed of any current research and studies. There is often conflicting information about what is safe and what is not.
Not every breed of dog will react to everything the same way. Size and weight are often determiners of how much of one thing or another a dog can tolerate.
If you decide to try your dog with a new treat where there tends to be controversial information, introduce it slowly and in small amounts. Keep your eye on your pet to ensure there is no adverse reaction and pay attention to whether or not he even seems to like it!
If you are still unsure, discuss it with your dog’s veterinarian. You and his healthcare provider know best!
Everyone seems to have a different opinion and unfortunately, there has not been enough research and testing when it comes to essential oils and dogs. That means that you have to read the information available and make the best decision you can for your furry friend.
Stephanie was born and raised in Saskatchewan and currently lives in Alberta, Canada. She started her career as a school teacher twenty years ago and has taught English Language Arts to students in grades three through twelve. She is currently exploring her love of writing and exploring topics she is interested in while also learning more in her field of expertise. She is passionate about lifelong learning.