Dog owners believe that giving your dog mint is good in getting rid of bad breath. But the question is, can dogs eat mint? Is it really safe for dogs?
Mint is generally safe for dogs. Some dog foods and treats even contain mint because it is proven effective in getting rid of the dog’s bad breath. But be aware: mint should always be given to your dog in moderation.
Too much mint can cause upset stomach and vomiting among dogs. And even if mint is safe for dogs, experts identified a mint variety as poison to your pet.
Table of Contents
Can dogs eat mint? Is mint really safe for dogs?
Scientifically speaking, there hasn’t been any reported death by dogs caused by eating mint, nor any traces of chemicals in mint that could give your dog its bitter end.
Yes, you can breathe now. Your dog is safe if he was able to ingest a few leaves of your mint plant at home.
However, as Paracelsus once said, the dose makes the poison, so too much mint leaves could potentially cause too much harm to your dog as well.
According to the Continental Kennel Club, wild mint, spearmint, and peppermint are non-toxic to dogs with regards to ingesting mint.
The good news is that these varieties are the same as those you might have in your backyard and the ones you buy in the supermarket.
The bad news is that there still are poisonous types of mint for your dog, which you might have mistaken as the dog-friendly ones.
Is Mint Bad for Dogs?
Although most mint species are safe for dogs, there has been a specific variety that has been labeled by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) as poisonous to dogs.
They said that English Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) or European Pennyroyal contains the chemical pulegone, which is highly toxic to dogs and even humans.
Pulegone is a monoterpene ketone which gives pennyroyal mint it is signature minty odor. This pulegone is what makes pennyroyal dangerous to your dogs.
According to the study conducted by Sztajnkrycer MD et al., the metabolites of pulegone, cimetidine, and disulfiram, most successfully mitigated pulegone-induced hepatotoxicity.
It has also been proven and tested that at the dose of 330mg/kg, this substance could be lethal to our pets.
One of the acute effects of ingesting this substance are:
- Cardiac arrest
- Change in heart rate
- Lowering of blood pressure
- Liver damage (Hepatotoxin)
- Multiple Organ Failure
When dogs ingest excessive pennyroyal mint leaves, they may experience diarrhea, vomiting, or weakness.
At this point, you should immediately bring your pet to your veterinarian so that he can provide supportive care and induce vomiting.
If you failed to do so, the effects of the pennyroyal plant could indeed be fatal to your dog.
Now the next question is, how would you know that if your mint plant is pennyroyal?
American and European Pennyroyal Plant
An American Pennyroyal is not a real mint plant, although most people think that it is. It has tiny leaves and a square stem. It is branched and could grow from 6 inches to 1 foot.
Their pale blue flowers bloom from July. Its distinction lies in the number of stamens in its flowers. American Pennyroyal has two stamens while the European has four.
On the other hand, European Pennyroyal Plant is a member of the mint family. It has taller stems. They easily spread and grow up to 1ft tall. This variety could be invasive, which means it could kill nearby plants.
Pennyroyal plant, despite it being toxic to our dogs, can be used to spice up our recipes. It is also known as an effective insect repellant. If you rub a few leaves and smear it against your skin, you can instantly repel fleas.
However, this plant is also known as an abortifacient. In the ancient days, they add pennyroyal in wine and have the mixture ingested by pregnant women to get rid of the fetus.
This only means that this is not only harmful to dogs but for us humans as well.
Another known toxic plant to animals is the Perilla Mint. According to Haschek and Wallig in 2010, interstitial pneumonia has been observed in ruminants following the ingestion of Perilla ketone, a substance found in the Perilla Mint plant.
In dogs and cats, they have yet to prove that it causes noninfectious interstitial pneumonia, but it is better to be safe than sorry.
Can I give mint to my dog?
You can give mint to your dog. There are a lot of other varieties of mint plants that are proven to be healthy and safe for our pets.
You can give peppermint, apple mint, lavender mint, and spearmint to your dogs. If you prefer the healthier option for your dog, you can buy mint seeds online or from your nearby supermarket so that you can grow your own organic mint plant.
If you are very keen on your pet’s diet and you are the type who prefers the best and the most holistic ways to feed your dog, you can even add mint to his or her daily regimen.
For example, you can make a poultice of mint, ginger, and lemon and use it as your dog’s daily vitamins. This way, you can prepare it yourself and be certain that what your dog takes into their system is safe and free from chemicals.
Can dogs eat mints for bad breath?
Known for its pungent and cool scent, one of the benefits that your dog can have from mint is that it can improve your dog’s breath.
Here is a recipe for a homemade toothpaste that your dogs will surely enjoy:
Homemade Mint Toothpaste
To make your own homemade dog mint toothpaste, you will need:
- 10 pcs mint leaves
- 2tbsp baking soda
- 2tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil
Homemade dog mint toothpaste steps:
- Create a poultice of mint leaves by grinding it using a mortar and pestle
- Put the poultice in a resealable jar.
- Add 2 tbsp of baking soda.
- Add 2tbsp VCO.
- Seal the jar and shake it vigorously.
I personally use this concoction to keep my dog’s teeth clean and healthy without using any processed chemicals found from store-bought doggie toothpaste.
Health benefits of mint for dogs
Routine intake of mint leaves provide these vitamins and minerals for your dogs:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
These vitamins and minerals help our dogs build their muscles, strengthen their bones, and improve their immunity.
Mint leaves also have menthol, which could help your dogs decongest their airways, thereby helping them break up phlegm and mucus.
They also have rosmarinic acid, which is also beneficial in terms of inflammation and other allergic reactions your dog might have towards all sorts of food or other allergens.
These plants also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties for your dog, which can help them combat microorganism-induced diseases.
Mint also contains trace minerals like Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Zinc which helps dogs in regulating their metabolism and aids in oxygen transport.
With regular intake of mint as a part of their diet, they can obtain these nutrients and enhance their immune system.
Do Dogs Like Mint
It’s not that they like mint— it’s that they like the smell of mint. The secret is definitely in the scent. One of the distinctive traits of dogs is their sense of smell.
Their little noses are 10-10,000 times more powerful than ours. This means that the cool and refreshing smell of mint is very alluring to them, and that’s what compels them to take a mouthful of it.
It is also more likely that dogs enjoy the crunchy texture of chewing on mint leaves. If your dogs enjoy munching on grass when you go out on a walk, they would probably enjoy eating mint as well.
You would know if your dog is a mint lover if they are spending most of their time grazing and eating on your mint plant, but if they are smelling or licking them, they might be curious about it.
How much mint your dog can eat?
The amount of mint your dog can eat is a crucial thing to pay attention to. That will depend on how big or small your dog is.
Even if mint can provide several nutrients and minerals, too much of this could still be poisonous for your dog. It is preferable to incorporate mint leaves in the treats you give them to avoid letting them eat mint leaves excessively.
You should consult your veterinarian about mint in your dog’s diet before letting them ingest this herb.
It is never wrong to be meticulous and cautious about whatever your pet puts into his or her mouth. At the end of the day, we should do whatever helps us sleep at night, and if that means relocation of those mint plants to make sure that your dog won’t binge eat its leaves, you have got to do it right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can dogs chew mint leaves?
Yes! Dogs can safely chew on most varieties of mint. It is not uncommon to see mint featuring as an ingredient in dog chews and dental sticks as it can help their oral hygiene and to stop them being…well…kinda stinky in the mouth area!
However, it should be noted that dogs should not be allowed to chew at mint leaves 24/7. For example, if you have mint growing in your yard and your dog eats the whole thing at once, they may well get an upset stomach and may require veterinarian attention just to ensure they are ok.
So, in general, if Fido is chewing on some mint leaves now and then, there should not be an issue.
However, you should not let your furry four-legged pals regularly chomp down on the minty stuff, especially in large quantities. If you are ever concerned about your dog’s mint leaf feast, you should contact a vet.
Will fresh mint hurt dogs?
No, in small amounts fresh mint is not likely to hurt a dog. This means that if you catch your dog having a nibble at some fresh mint in the garden, there is no cause for concern.
It can help their digestive system and also freshen their (often stinky) breath, as we mentioned in the previous section.
However, they should only ever be given mint in small amounts. This is because, in large quantities, fresh mint can sometimes cause diarrhea and vomiting, as well as general unwellness in your furry friend!
To be safe, if your dog is experiencing smelly breath or digestive issues and you want to try some fresh mint on them, contact a vet first to see if they have any dog friendly mint flavored treats.
As always, if you are concerned that they are sick after eating fresh mint you should contact your vet for advice.
Can my dog eat mint sauce?
No! Whilst some fresh mint leaves may be fine for your dog in small amounts, mint sauce is not fine for dogs.
The reason for this is not because of the mint, but because of the other ingredients included in the sauce. These include vinegar, salt, sugar, and other additives or preservatives.
These can be very bad for your dog, and so must be avoided. With this in mind, you should also ensure your dog never eats scraps off your plate if there has been mint sauce on there. The vinegar used is often white wine vinegar, and even small amounts of this can make a dog ill.
If your dog does accidentally eat some small amount of mint sauce, monitor them for signs of illness such as diarrhea and sickness and call the vet for advice. If they eat a large quantity, contact the vet immediately and get them booked in for a check-up.
Can mints kill dogs?
Yes, dogs can get gravely ill and even die from mints. There are two main reasons for this. One reason is that your dog may choke on the mint, especially if they are hard rather than soft mints. They are the right size to get stuck in the windpipe of most dogs.
Secondly, many mints have artificial sweeteners in them. One sweetener, in particular, is xylitol. This is extremely toxic to dogs and can cause severe illnesses such as liver damage and even death caused by a sudden drop in blood sugar.
Do not let your dog eat a mint, and if you drop one around a dog, pick it up immediately to ensure they don’t try to get it.