The night is cold and you are lounging on the couch as you enjoy a sip of your favorite peppermint tea. You feel refreshed while breathing in the aroma. Your dog’s curiosity kicks in and he tries to smell the cup only to be revolted. He obviously doesn’t like the smell as much as you do.
Peppermint and dogs aren’t really the perfect pair. The smell of peppermint might be refreshing for you, but your dog thinks exactly the opposite. If this is the case, can dogs eat peppermint?
Can Dogs Eat Peppermint?
Is peppermint safe for dogs? Yes, it is safe for dogs to eat peppermint. In fact, there are several dental chews and dog treats that contain mint flavors. However, even though peppermint is not technically toxic to canines, it can cause an upset stomach as well as have unwanted consequences such as diarrhea and vomiting. This is why experts recommend completely keeping it away from Fido. The bigger concern, however, is what peppermint is usually mixed with.
Peppermint is frequently combined with Xylitol, a sweetener found to be lethal to dogs. Xylitol consumption can cause death in dogs when left untreated. It is imperative to know the exact ingredients in the things you feed your dog, particularly if that item is not meant for animal consumption in the first place.
Aside from being extra wary about peppermint for dogs, pet owners must also know that a common mint plant called Penny Royal is toxic to canines. This plant should never be used in food products of any kind and pet owners must keep their gardens free from it.
Benefits of Peppermint
Peppermint contains several nutrients beneficial for your dog, including:
- Vitamins C and A
- Protein and fiber
- Minerals such as calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, folate, manganese, potassium, zinc, riboflavin, and niacin
Menthol is also found in peppermint. This is a type of natural decongestant that can break up phlegm and mucus. It also has rosmarinic acid found to help relieve seasonal allergies.
Possible Dangers of Peppermint
People love mint because they can easily grow it in their gardens. However, if you have plans to grow this plant in your backyard, see to it that you prevent Fido from grazing on it for a long time.
While peppermint is safe for dogs, it is important to make sure that you don’t let your pet have too much of it because excessive amounts of peppermint can cause diarrhea or an upset stomach in dogs.
As mentioned earlier, the presence of Xylitol in mint products can make them unsafe for dogs. Don’t feed your pet mint products that contain the following:
- Cane sugar
- Artificial sweeteners
- Spicy pepper
If you want to feed mint to your pet, make sure that it is just plain peppermint, preferably plant leaves. Dogs can eat small amounts of peppermint, but Penny Royal mint is a big no-no for dogs and humans alike as this is found to cause liver failure.
What to Do If Your Dog Ate Peppermint
If you think your pet has eaten peppermint, the best thing to do is watch out for signs that you need to take your pet to the vet. When it comes to reactions, they will depend on the ingested amount and the weight and size of a pooch. However, if your dog shows some unusual signs, make sure you call your veterinarian right away.
The general rule of thumb for pet owners is to make sure that their pets stick to a steady diet except if the vet advices otherwise.
If you cannot say no to your dog asking for a special treat on holidays and other special occasions, you can give him an extra treat that is part of their usual diet. You can even ask your vet for advice on some healthy treats such as cooked green beans or cooked carrots. These are healthy veggies commonly compatible with most diets for dogs without likely causing stomach upset if you give them in the form of treats.
Always give treats in moderation whatever type you choose to give your pet. As is the case with people, excessive amounts of treats can cause unwanted weight gain or gastrointestinal problems.
What about Peppermint Oil for Dogs
Even though there are several evidences about peppermint oil being good as an anti-tick and anti-flea supplement, it is not really that safe to use for dogs or other pets for that matter.
There are a few reasons why peppermint oil is not really safe for dogs. For starters, dogs will find the scent of peppermint overwhelming because they have 300 million receptors in their nose that improve their smell. If you don’t find the scent strong, it is often several times much stronger for canines.
Peppermint oil can also cause some complications apart from being overwhelming for the senses of a dog. Once it comes into contact with their skin, it can lead to skin irritation. It may even trigger anemia and infections if added to complications related to fleas. If your dog ingests the oil, it can trigger sluggishness and vomiting.
Is Peppermint Safe for Dogs? Yes, but be Extra Careful!
In summary, peppermint is not really toxic to your dog. However, it is a must that you only give this to your pet in small amounts at a time as high amounts can lead to digestive upset.
Don’t let your dog munch on the leaves of the peppermint plant in your garden because they can easily go overboard. Make sure that you also get rid of the Penny Royal mint plants if you have any in your yard to ensure that your pup won’t get accidentally poisoned by them. This is a type of mint that can make dogs suffer from liver failure.
When it comes to peppermint oil, be extra wary when diffusing it. Diffusing strong concentrations of oil can have adverse effects on dogs. Don’t apply mint oil on the coat of your dog as this can lead to toxicity symptoms.