Can dogs eat mint?

Written by Dr Andrew Miller MRCVSDr Andrew Miller MRCVS is an expert veterinary working in the field for over 10 years after graduating from Bristol University. Andy fact checks and writes for Pure Pet Food while also working as a full time veterinarian. Pure Pet FoodPure Pet Food are the experts in healthy dog food and healthy dogs featured in media outlets such as BBC, Good Housekeeping and The Telegraph. Working with high profile veterinary professionals and nutritionists, Pure Pet Food are changing dog food for the better. - Our editorial process

Has your dog got a case of the dreaded dog breath, and you’re wondering if you can feed them a bit of mint to take the edge off? Or maybe you’ve noticed some doggy treats with mint in, and assumed dogs can eat mint as a fancy flavouring in homemade treats too. Whether you’re finding ways for Fido to freshen up, or just looking to vary the flavour of their food, let’s take a look at whether or not dogs can eat mint.

Can dogs eat mint?

Dogs can eat mint provided it is only one or two fresh mint leaves. Dried mint is safe for dogs to eat too, but it is more potent than fresh leaves so your pooch can’t eat as much of it before it starts to irritate their gut.

As with many things, eating too much mint can irritate your dog’s stomach. If your pooch can munch a mint plant unsupervised, they will probably end up suffering from gastrointestinal problems. So if you grow your own mint plants, make sure your pup can’t use it as their personal pick and mix!

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Can dogs eat mint leaves?

Yes, dogs can eat fresh mint leaves. Mint is actually a family of plants, not just one specific one. We humans mostly use the peppermint and spearmint varieties and both of these are safe for dogs to eat.

However, never feed your dog pennyroyal mint as this is toxic to dogs. If you’re not sure what kind of mint plant you have grown, or can’t identify a mint plant, the safest thing to do is to prevent your pup from eating it to avoid any potential illness.

Can dogs eat mint sauce?

Your dog shouldn’t eat mint sauce. They probably won’t find it appetising, either. This is because mint sauce contains a lot of vinegar, which dogs don’t like the taste of, and it acts as an irritant. There’s also a surprisingly high amount of sugar and salt in mint sauce, and your dog’s at their healthiest when they eat less of these ingredients.

Finally, some brands of mint sauce use an ingredient called grape must. This is a sort of juice made from crushed grapes, with the fruit flesh, skin, and seeds all squashed in. As you’re probably well aware, grapes are toxic to dogs. Even with the small amounts of grape found in mint sauce, it’s best to make sure your canine companion doesn’t chomp any.

Can dogs eat peppermints?

No, your dog shouldn’t eat peppermints or mint sweets. Although they often do not contain anything toxic, they are certainly not healthy given the shedloads of sugar packed inside those small sweets.

Like humans, too much sugar is bad for dogs, and they can suffer from similar problems as people do when they eat too many sugary treats.

Dogs that eat too much sugar can develop conditions like tooth decay, weight gain, and diabetes. Given dogs are much smaller than humans, they can tolerate far smaller amounts of sugar before it becomes a problem.

Additionally, peppermints use peppermint oil for flavour, and this highly concentrated flavouring is more likely to upset a dog’s stomach compared to fresh mint. Not to mention, these small, hard sweets can be a choking hazard for little dogs like Yorkies.

Sugar-free mints are no better, as these contain artificial sweeteners which aren’t good for your dog and could even put their life in danger. One sweetener called xylitol, which is often used in chewing gum, is highly toxic to dogs and eating a small amount can cause liver failure and may prove lethal.

Can dogs eat polo mints?

Your dog shouldn’t eat polos because the high amount of sugar isn’t good for them, and the mint oils used to flavour the sweet could make your pup unwell. However, polos don’t usually contain anything toxic to dogs, so if they manage to swallow one they will hopefully be fine.

Can dogs eat mint ice cream?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat mint ice cream. This is mostly because mint ice cream also contains chocolate chips, and chocolate is toxic to dogs. Mint ice cream is also flavoured with peppermint oil, and as you know mint oil is highly concentrated and more likely to make your pooch unwell.

Not to mention, ice cream is made using a lot of sugar and dairy. Sugar isn’t healthy for dogs to eat in excess, so sugary treats like ice cream should be avoided. Additionally, dogs are typically lactose intolerant so munching on dairy-loaded ice cream is a surefire way to give them a tummy ache and diarrhoea. All in all, mint ice cream isn’t something you should share with your pooch.

If you want to treat your dog to a cooling snack on a summer’s day, why not make them a doggy ice lolly? It’s perfectly safe for pups and they’ll go barking mad for this delicious treat!

Can dogs have mint essential oil?

No, dogs shouldn’t have mint essential oil on its own or as an ingredient in anything they eat. Mint essential oil is highly concentrated and likely to cause sickness in your dog, and it’s even considered toxic.

If you’re making homemade treats that call for mint for flavour, stick to using a few fresh mint leaves instead of oil.

Is mint bad for dogs?

Mint itself isn’t bad for dogs, but mint sweets and other human treats can be because they are full of sugar, sweeteners, flavoured oils, and other artificial ingredients which can upset a dog’s sensitive stomach or could be toxic.

However, fresh mint isn’t necessarily “bad” as long as it is fed in moderation and your pooch is eating a balanced diet. Mint isn’t very nutritious, but it is also low in the things you need to limit in your dog’s diet, like calories and fat.

Mint does contain a little vitamin A, manganese, and iron. Vitamin A is great for keeping your pup’s eyes healthy, while iron prevents anaemia, and manganese helps your pooch make enzymes and energy.

There’s not a lot in there though, and since dogs should only eat one or two mint leaves a day, they probably won’t see a huge benefit from munching this aromatic leaf.

Mint might have some positives though. We humans think it’s good for calming the stomach, however, there’s not enough research on humans or hounds to prove that it definitely does.

Mint has also long been taken as an anti-inflammatory, and it has a proven anti-inflammatory effect on rats, so eating a little mint from time to time could potentially benefit your dog if they have issues like itchy skin or sore joints.

Is mint poisonous to dogs?

Most species of mint are perfectly safe for dogs to eat in small amounts, including human favourites peppermint and spearmint. These plants are generally non-toxic to canines, but if they are eaten in large doses they can cause illness, so it’s still best to only feed them to your dog sparingly.

However, there is a member of the mint family called Pennyroyal which is a toxic plant to dogs.

Pennyroyal is also sometimes called Churchwort, and its scientific name is “Mentha pulegium”. Symptoms of poisoning from pennyroyal include vomitingdiarrhoea, and weakness.

If you think your pooch has eaten some pennyroyal or they show any signs of illness after eating mint, you must contact your vet urgently.

Can dogs eat mint for bad breath?

Yes, dogs can eat mint to help freshen their breath. The best thing to do is to simply take one or two mint leaves and grind them up before sprinkling them on your dog’s dinner.

There are also lots of different recipes for DIY doggy treats that use mint leaves as an ingredient to help freshen your pup’s breath.

A dog should only eat a few leaves a day at the most, so keep it to a minimum to prevent any pup-set stomachs.

Don’t give your dog mint sweets to freshen their breath as this will probably make them sick, and if there’s xylitol in the recipe, it can poison them.

If your pooch has the infamous dog breath, it’s a sign that their oral health isn’t as good as it should be. The best thing to do to keep your pup’s mouth clean and avoid stinky breath is to brush their teeth regularly with dog-safe toothpaste.

This not only helps to banish bad breath, but it’ll also keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy too. Whereas adding some mint to their food will only mask the scent of bad breath, it won’t fix the cause of the problem like a good cleaning will.

Recap: Can dogs have mint?

Yes, dogs can eat fresh mint. Dried mint is technically safe for dogs to eat too, but the quantities must be kept much smaller to prevent any irritation to their stomach. If you want to use mint to flavour some homemade doggy treats or pupsicles, make sure you only use a leaf or two of fresh mint.

Never feed your dog pennyroyal mint, it’s toxic to dogs. Mint essential oil isn’t safe for dogs either, and your dog shouldn’t eat peppermints or other minty sweets because they’re full of sugar and artificial ingredients that aren’t good for dogs.

Dogs don't really get any nutritional benefit from eating mint, so it's better to feed them something that contains lots of wholesome goodness in so your dog can reap all the benefits of good nutrition. This is where Pure comes in. Pure is complete, natural, nutritious and totally tasty! Start your plan today to start seeing the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.