Can Dogs Eat Peppermint? Not Really. Here’s Why


Can Dogs Eat Peppermint? Not Really. Here’s Why

If they eat a leaf or two from a peppermint plant, it’s not a major concern. But peppermint candy and essential oil? Hard pass. Tracey L. Kelley headshot
Tracey L. Kelley headshot By Tracey L. Kelley November 22, 2022 Advertisement Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print dog with a background of peppermints; can dogs eat peppermints?
dog with a background of peppermints; can dogs eat peppermints? Credit: Jessica Peterson / Eric Isselee / Getty

There are a few human foods that are safe for dogs as occasional treats. Carrots. Cooked eggs. Maybe even an apple slice or two. But can dogs eat peppermint? Although they can snack on a few mint leaves occasionally, for the most part, it's not good for them. There's not even a need for those bites, either, as this herb doesn't provide any nutritional or health benefits for them. 

Is Peppermint Safe for Dogs?

Most pet parents are concerned about how much peppermint a dog can eat when they discover bits of candy around their pup's mouth and surprisingly fresh breath. So it's important to know what versions truly cause problems for a pooch. Let's take a closer look. 

Mint Leaves

Anything more than one or two peppermint plant leaves causes irritation of the mouth and nose, vomiting, and diarrhea, says Amber Karwacki, DVM and partner doctor at Heart + Paw veterinary clinics.

There are many unsafe plants for dogs, but peppermint isn't on the list, though it's unlikely your pet will even be attracted to it. But if you want to include a teaspoon or two of chopped fresh mint (washed and dried) in these doggy breath treats, this form of peppermint is safe. Not every day, but occasionally.

Peppermint Candy

Not an option. "Many of the hard candies contain xylitol, which is toxic to dogs," Karwacki says. "Xylitol causes their blood sugar to drop, which leads to seizures and coma if not treated properly."

Additionally, if dogs eat peppermint candy with the wrapper on, it can cause intestinal blockage. 

RELATED: Signs Your Dog Might Be Having a Seizure

Peppermint Essential Oil

Absolutely not. All essential oils are toxic to dogs. These concentrated organic plant compounds cause mouth and throat irritation, drooling, and vomiting. Karwacki adds that even inhaling peppermint essential oil might cause wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing. So be cautious when choosing scents for air diffusers, too.  

Peppermint oil can help relieve human stress, but you shouldn't use it to relieve your dog's stress. Essential oils are absorbed quickly into the skin and metabolized through the liver. This is particularly dangerous for dogs with liver disease and puppies, but even a small amount can be harmful to our canine friends.

If your dog has trouble with anxiety, your veterinarian may recommend some supplements or medication that can help. You can also work with a trainer or animal behavior expert to get to the root of the problem.

Peppermint Chocolates

Definitely not, as chocolate is toxic to dogs. There are two chemicals in chocolate—caffeine and theobromine—that stimulate their cardiovascular and neurological systems, which is dangerous. 

RELATED: How to Know If Your Dog Has Eaten Something Toxic

Will Peppermint Calm a Dog’s Stomach?

"There's no reason to give peppermint as a home remedy for dogs," Karwacki says. "This is because giving the wrong amount can be toxic to dogs and requires immediate medical care."

If your dog has mild intestinal distress but doesn't have a serious medical condition, most vets recommend feeding him a bland, easy-to-digest diet for a couple of days as the best upset stomach treatment. If this approach doesn't seem to alleviate the problem, contact your vet right away.

What Should I Do If My Dog Eats Peppermint?

Karwacki stresses that if your dog ingests peppermint, take them to the vet as soon as possible. "Your veterinarian will induce vomiting if you get there within an hour of ingestion. Activated charcoal will then be given to bind to any of the toxins left." Don't try to do this at home unless specifically instructed by a veterinary professional.

If you need assistance before then, call the Animal Poison Control at (888) 426-4435.

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