Does your dog’s breath make you cringe your nose? Or, are you wondering if it’s okay to flavor your homemade dog treats with mint for that extra kick? Whether you’re finding ways to rid your dog of their whiffy breath or flavor their food, keep reading to find out if mint is safe for your dogs.
Although dogs are curious creatures, they are not adventurous eaters. Unlike humans, they don’t enjoy spices and herbs in their diet. Their digestive system is also very different from ours.
So, can dogs eat mint? Yes, they can but in moderation and depending on the variety. Dogs enjoy munching on mint but not for the same reasons as you. It’s not the taste they are after but the digestion benefits of eating greens.
Are you curious to find out if mint is a good addition to your canine companion’s diet? Read along to find out if mint is safe for dogs and what to do if your dog eats too much.
What is Mint?
Mint, also known as garden mint, comes from the Lamiaceae family, whose scientific name is Mentha spp. It is an aromatic herb commonly used for culinary purposes and incorporated into health and beauty products thanks to its distinct flavor and pleasant aroma. Mint is also the primary ingredient in breath fresheners like toothpaste, mouth rinse, and chewing gum.
There are about 25 different mint species characterized by their unique aromatic properties. The most common types of mint are wild mint ( full of antioxidants good for indigestion) and peppermint (which calms down tummy upset).
Other dog-safe mint varieties include spearmint ( flea repellent and cuts down on bad breath) and catmint (natural relaxant).
The four popular types are safe for dogs, but we cannot say the same for pennyroyal mint and perilla mint. The English pennyroyal mint is toxic to humans and pets, and perilla mint is toxic to dogs and livestock.
Can Dogs Eat Mint?
Yes. Mint is a common ingredient in most dog treats for healthy gums and teeth and fresh breath. While your pup may love the taste of mint, do not allow him to eat too many.
Stick to occasionally serving them one or two fresh leaves to avoid stomach upset. Only incorporate non-dedicated foods into your pup’s diet after consulting with your vet about the benefits and risks.
Dried mint is safe for pups to consume, but it’s more potent than fresh mint, so Chewy cannot eat too much of it before they have gastric distress. Their stomachs cannot handle large amounts, so monitor your pup when they consume mint for any allergic reactions. And if you grow your mint in the backyard, ensure your dog can’t snack on it.
Can my Dog Chew Mint Leaves?
Yes, dogs can eat mint leaves. Most mint varieties are safe for dogs, including peppermint and spearmint varieties. However, pennyroyal mint and perilla mint are toxic to dogs and should be avoided. If you’re not sure of the mint plant you have, the best way to keep your pup safe is to avoid giving it any.
Can Dogs Eat Mint Sauce?
You shouldn’t feed your pup mint sauce. It contains lots of vinegar, which irritates your dog’s tummy, plus Chewy won’t fancy its strong taste.
Mint sauce also has a surprisingly high content of sugar and salt, which are harmful to your dog. Also, some brands of mint sauce contain grape must, a juice made from squashed grapes. As you are probably aware, grapes are toxic to dogs.
Can my Dog Eat Mint Candy?
No. Mint candy has loads of sugar which are bad for dogs as it can lead to tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes. Sugar-free Mint candy is no better as it often contains xylitol, a sugar-free sweetener that is toxic to pups.
Too much consumption of xylitol over time could lead to diabetes, kidney problems, and even cause death. If you have to give your dog a mint-flavored treat, whip up a dog-friendly mint snack at home or buy him a mint-flavored dog treat.
Can my Dog Eat Mint Ice Cream?
No, dogs shouldn’t have mint ice cream because it contains chocolate which is toxic to dogs. Also, mint ice cream is flavored with peppermint oil which is highly concentrated and can make your pup sick.
Can Dogs Eat Mint Essential Oil?
Mint oil is highly toxic to dogs. When your canine pal ingests the oil, or it is applied to their coat, they develop signs of toxicity immediately. Nevertheless, you can safely use a mint essential oil on your pup as a carrier oil or diluted form.
Related: What Essential Oils are Bad for Dogs?
Can Dogs Eat Mint for Bad Breath?
Yes, you can give your dog mint to freshen their breath. Grind one or two mint leaves and sprinkle them on your dog’s kibble. Don’t give your pup mint candy to freshen their breath, as xylitol (one of its ingredients) can intoxicate them.
Halitosis or foul-smelling breath is a sign your pup has poor oral health. The buildup of tartar and plaque will cause your poodle to start stinking. The best thing to do is brush their teeth with a dog-safe toothpaste to banish bad breath and keep their gums and teeth clean.
There are plenty of dog-friendly breath mints for Chewy. Do not give your dog human breath mints as they contain xylitol. Make sure only to provide them with the recommended amount and store the rest out of sight.
Is Mint Good For Dogs?
Here’s why you should add mint to your dog’s diet:
- Fresh mint is an excellent source of vitamin A and C, supporting immune function, bone integrity, and healthy skin and vision.
- Mint leaves are a natural source of dietary fiber and aid in proper digestion.
- Mint contains several trace minerals, including iron, copper, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc, essential for balanced nutrition and proper body functions.
- The antioxidants in fresh mint protect your pup against oxidation in the cells and free radical damage.
- Mint soothes stomach upset and relieves diarrhea, gas, and vomiting.
- Peppermint is a natural flea and tick repellent and provides anti-fungal, antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial benefits, which can help eliminate your dog’s foul breath.
- The rosmarinic acid in mint relieves symptoms associated with seasonal allergies. At the same time, menthol is a natural decongestant providing fast relief for respiratory ailments.
- If your dog suffers from gassiness or inflammatory bowel syndrome, mint can help relieve these symptoms.
Is Mint Toxic to Dogs?
The mint family is diverse, with apple mint, lavender mint, and pineapple mint varieties. Most varieties of mint are harmless to dogs, but proper portioning is crucial to avoid gastric distress, vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney or liver issues. However, the non-culinary mint, Pennyroyal, is toxic to both humans and pets. It contains a toxin known as pelugeone.
How do I Safely Feed Mint to my Dog?
The best way to feed your dog mint is to sprinkle some fresh or dried leaves over their food. Just don’t go overboard. Only about two leaves are what your pup should be getting in a day. Start with small amounts and observe if it may be throwing your pup’s system off balance.
Alternatively, you can steep the mint in your pup’s water, crush and mix it with your dog’s food, or chew the leaves first before giving them to Fido.
My Dog Ate Mint. What Now?
Your dog can get mint poisoning when they ingest mint essential oils or if the oil is applied on their fur. Symptoms of mint poisoning can vary from one dog to another. They may include:
If your dog consumes pennyroyal mint, it can suffer from liver failure or miscarriage if pregnant. Though less common, perilla mint used in Asian cooking is also toxic to dogs and should be avoided. Signs of Pennyroyal poisoning include:
- Nose bleeds
- Breathing difficulty
If your dog has ingested pennyroyal oil and shows the above symptoms, call your vet immediately.
Treatment of Mint Poisoning
Your vet will examine your dog and do some bloodwork to show the condition of your dog’s organs, especially the liver. The severity of your dog’s symptoms will determine the course of treatment. If your vet suspects a liver failure, they will administer fluid therapy. Vitamin B might be given to boost immune function for faster recovery.
The fluids will flush the toxins out of your dog’s system. If it chewed too many mint leaves or devoured a treat with mint oil, your vet can induce vomiting, depending on the timing, to prevent absorption of the toxin.
However, if it’s been hours since your dog consumed the mint and forced vomiting is not an option, activated charcoal will be administered to bind and neutralize the toxins before the body absorbs them. If your dog is vomiting non-stop, your vet will give him an antiemetic to stop the vomiting and offer some relief.
If your dog reacts to mint oil applied to his body, your vet will immediately bathe him with a mild detergent to remove as much oil as possible.
Recap: Can Dogs Eat Mint?
Mint can help calm an upset tummy and is perfectly safe when given in moderation. Do not habitually feed your dog mint without proper guidance from your vet.
Mint poisoning for dogs can range from mild to severe. If you suspect your dog has an adverse reaction from consuming mint, the sooner you rush him to the vet, the faster his full recovery.
If you are tempted to give Fido mint to cure his bad breath, we recommend you first find out the source of his stinky muzzle. Are you brushing your dog’s teeth regularly? Does he have gingivitis or cavities? Feeding him mint will only mask the real problem. It’s best to seek your vet’s guidance.