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Can dogs eat mint leaves? Everything You Need To Know

Yes, dogs can eat mint leaves in moderation, provided they eat the non-toxic variety. However, dogs shouldn’t eat more than a few leaves per day, as overconsumption may lead to gastrointestinal distress. In addition, although most types of mint are safe for dogs, the English pennyroyal and perilla mint breeds are toxic to dogs.  

What are mint leaves?  

The Mint plants are fresh herbs often used for their flavor and aroma. These are flowering plants that belong to the family of Lamiaceae. Within this family, mint plants fall under the genus Mentha which contains around 20 other species. Some of the most popular varieties of mints include: 

  • Chocolate (peppermint),  
  • Ginger mint 
  • Apple mint  
  • Water mint 
  • Corn Mint 
  • Banana Mint 
  • Pineapple mint  
  • Forest Mint 
  • Horse Mint 
  • Slender Mint 
  • Australian Mint 
  •  American mints 
  •  Spearmint 
  • Pennyroyal Mint 

A 2-tablespoon serving, or 3.2 grams (g) of fresh peppermint provides:

CALORIES2.24
PROTEIN0.12 g
CARBOHYDRATES0.48 g
FAT0.03g
FIBER0.26 g

Additionally, Mint also contains trace amounts of: 

  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • calcium
  • phosphorus 
  • vitamin C 
  • iron 
  • vitamin A 

The Mentha species originated in the Mediterranean regions. Additionally, its use as a teeth whitener has been mentioned in the Icelandic Pharmacopoeias of the fourteenth century. This custom prevails even now in the form of our toothpaste being flavored with mint. 

Are mint leaves safe for dogs? 

You can safely feed your canine mint leaves in moderation, avoiding toxic varieties such as the English pennyroyal or the European pennyroyal and perilla mint. According to the Continental Kennel Club, Peppermint, spearmint, and wild mint are safe to consume. However, even the safer types have to be fed moderately to dogs.

Why are mint leaves good for dogs?  

Mint leaves benefit your dog’s health in many ways. These herbs soothe an upset tummy by relieving the symptoms of nausea or diarrhea, alleviating inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, and reducing gas in dogs. Furthermore, when consumed, the leaves of this plant lessen the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. The nutritional benefits of mint leaves are as follows:  

CONTENTS OF MINT LEAVESNUTRITIONAL BENEFITS
Vitamins A and CIt strengthens the bones Enriches the skinEnhances vision and immunityProvides a smooth and glossy fur.
CalciumEnsures proper nerve functioning and bone formation
FolateAids in amino acid metabolism
Manganeseserves as a catalyst for enzyme activity
Dietary fiberpromotes healthy digestion
Antioxidantprotects against free-radical damage Promotes oxidation in the cells
Rosmarinic acidrelieves symptoms associated with seasonal allergies.
Menthola natural decongestant  Relieves respiratory ailments
Copper, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Zincregulates metabolism aids in oxygen transport.
Antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial propertiescombat microorganism-induced diseases.Inhibits the growth of bacteria in the mouth which freshens your canine’s breath. acts as a natural flea repellent

Why are mint leaves bad for dogs? 

 1. Overconsumption can lead to gastric distress: 

Although most forms of mint are harmless to your pet, overdoses of it can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. Further, overconsumption of peppermint can adversely impact your canine’s liver and kidneys. 

2. The Toxicity in English Pennyroyal  

The English pennyroyal mint leaves are toxic to dogs. They contain a chemical called Pulegone which is poisonous for dogs as it has a carcinogenic effect. This chemical gives this plant its flavor. If your dog consumed it accidentally, he might show symptoms of mint poisoning. They include: 

  • Diarrhea,  
  • Vomiting, and  
  • Weakness 

Also, it has been tested and proven that at the dose of 330mg/kg, Pulegone could be lethal to our pets and lead to adverse health effects like:

  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Change in heart rate 
  • Lowering of blood pressure 
  • Liver damage (Hepatotoxin) 
  • Multiple Organ Failure 

3. The Toxicity in Perilla mint  

The perilla mint plant contains Perilla ketone, which has been observed to cause non-infectious pneumonia. However, this finding is yet to be proved in dogs and cats.  

4. Breath Mint: 

Mint products like breath mint, candy, or minty beverages are suitable only for human consumption. Hence, avoid feeding these products to your dog as they are sweetened with either sugar or Xylitol.  

Xylitol: Also known as Sugar Alcohol, Xylitol is an artificial sweetener used to substitute sugar. Sugar-free mint candies may contain Xylitol, which gets rapidly absorbed into their bloodstream when consumed by dogs. As a result, your dog’s pancreas releases a lot of insulin, causing a sudden drop in the blood sugar level. This condition is referred to as hypoglycemia.  

The symptoms of hypoglycemia from xylitol toxicity are:  

  • vomiting  
  • excessive drooling  
  • seizures  
  • coma  
  • Brain hemorrhage 
  • Liver failure  
  • Drowsiness  
  • loss of consciousness or slow to respond 

Since xylitol toxicity can also lead to death, it is considered a medical emergency. Hence, if you suspect your pet of consuming any food containing Xylitol, it is best to reach out to your vet immediately. Additionally, in some cases, a dog may not exhibit any symptoms of xylitol toxicity until the consumed food is digested. 

How much mint leaves to feed your dogs?  

Mint leaves are excellent chew treats that promote digestion and also freshens your pet’s breath. But these leaves should appear sparingly in your canine’s diet in a day. The best way to serve mint leaves is through treats or occasionally as topping over their daily food. This way, you can ensure your dog doesn’t eat these leaves excessively. Additionally, you may prepare homemade mint treats, breath mints, and mint toothpaste for your canine to avoid unwanted chemicals.  

Homemade recipes with mint 

  1. Homemade Mint treats

Ingredients: 

  • oats
  • eggs
  • water
  • coconut oil
  • parsley
  • mint

Instructions:

  1. Blend oats, eggs, water, coconut oil, parsley, and mint.
  2. Roll out the mixture and cut it into small shapes
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 325° F.
  4. Allow to cool completely before serving and feed sparingly.
  1. Homemade Mint Toothpaste

Ingredients:

  • 10 pcs mint leaves
  • 2tbsp baking soda
  • 2tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)

Instructions:

  1. Create a poultice of mint leaves by grinding it using a mortar and pestle
  2. Put the poultice in a resealable jar.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of baking soda.
  4. Add 2 tbsp VCO.
  5. Seal the jar and shake it vigorously.
  6. Homemade Dog Breath Mints

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • 3-5 salt-free crackers (salt is toxic to dogs)
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Crush a few crackers thoroughly so that they could stick with the mint. 
  2. Chop mint into very fine pieces.
  3. Add enough water to mix mint and crackers until they stick together.
  4. Form small balls out of this mixture and place them on wax paper over a plate. Freeze these mint balls.

What if my dog ate mint leaves?  

If your dog ate a considerable quantity of mint leaves, he might experience gastrointestinal symptoms like: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting  

In this case, you may ensure to keep your pet hydrated and feed him a bland diet like boiled chicken to soothe his stomach. 

On the other hand, if your pet ingested a breath mint containing Xylitol, he may have to be taken to the vet immediately as xylitol is a fast-acting poison. 

Additionally, if you suspect your dog has consumed Mentha pulegium, you will observe different signs of an upset stomach and mint poisoning symptoms like:  

  • breathing difficulties 
  • a bloody nose 
  • lethargy 
  • Coughing up blood.  

If this is the case, contact your vet immediately.   

Suppose your pet is pregnant and consumed English pennyroyal. In that case, it leads to miscarriage. Hence, visit the vet immediately without delay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can dogs eat Altoids?

No dogs cannot eat Altoids as they contain peppermint oil which is unsafe for a canine’s consumption. Additionally, they are available in sugar-free options; hence, they may contain xylitol as sugar substitutes.  

Can dogs eat thin mints?

No, dogs cannot eat thin mints as they contain corn syrup, soy lecithin, salt, baking soda, peppermint oil, artificial flavorings, enriched flour, vegetable oil, cocoa, and chocolate coating which makes them unsuitable for a dog’s consumption. 

Can dogs eat junior mints?

No, dogs cannot eat junior mints because they have a dark semi-sweet chocolate coating and have sugar, corn syrup, peppermint oil, and invertase that make them unsuitable for a dog. 

Can dogs eat polo?

No, dogs cannot eat polo. These are human breath treats that contain artificial flavorings; hence, are unsuitable for dogs.

Can dogs eat mint sauce? 

No, dogs cannot eat mint sauce. It is made using mint leaves, white wine vinegar, salt, and caster sugar. The leaves and white wine vinegar make it unsafe.

Which other herbs are not good for dogs?

  • Chamomile
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Hops
  • Leeks
  • Marijuana
  • Onions and Shallots
  • Rhubarb
  • Tomato Plants

Can Dogs Eat Mint Candy?

No dogs cannot eat mint candy as they may contain xylitol.

Can dogs eat mint ice cream? 

No, dogs cannot eat mint ice cream because it contains chocolate chips and other harmful additives such as the mint extract, sugars, and preservatives. 

Can Dogs Eat Wintergreen Mints?

No, dogs cannot eat wintergreen mints. Wintergreen is not a true mint variety. It is an evergreen plant whose oil can be extremely poisonous to pets.

Can mint oil be applied to dogs?

No, dogs should neither consume nor apply mint oil topically. Dogs cannot tolerate the strong odor of these oils; hence, they are toxic for dogs. 

Final Thoughts

Mint leaves are safe for your canine’s consumption. Still, take care that your pet is not overfed and be cautious about the toxic variety.

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