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Can Dogs Eat Mint?

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From raw, fresh leaves to hard candies, asking can dogs eat mint? is sort of like asking can people eat mint?

It depends on the mint, and how it’s ingested.

While some mint species are safe or even beneficial to a dog’s health, others can be poisonous. On top of that, mint products like candies and gums can be loaded with companion ingredients like sugar and synthetics that won’t be kind to your dog’s stomach. 

A bit about mint

In the science world, mint belongs to a large family of flowering plants named Lamiaceae, which contains hundreds of genera and thousands of plant species to its name. Within this family, mint plants belong to the genus Mentha, which contains around 20 species, many of which you’ll come across in your home or garden. 

What types of mints can dogs eat?

The Common Safe Mints

Peppermint can help sooth your dog’s stomach, much like it does with humans.

Spearmint can help tone down that trademark doggy breath, and can even help repel fleas

Wild Mint is full of antioxidants and nutrients that can help protect your dog and keep them healthy.

You may also come across catmint — which isn’t part of the Mentha genus, still in the Lamiaceae family — and may have a relaxing effect on some dogs. As a bonus (if the name isn’t a dead giveaway), it’s also safe for cats.

The Common Toxic Mint

Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium)

Unlike other members of the mint family, Pennyroyal is dangerous to your dog when ingested.

It’s an especially important species of mint to identify and avoid, particularly because it’s a common plant spotted throughout the United States, frequently planted in gardens for its natural pest-repellent properties. So on your next walk, watch out for this:

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Pennyroyal contains the chemical
pulegone, which has been known to cause vomiting, diarrhea,  liver damage — and in extreme cases, failure — in dogs who ingest it. Dogs have been known to have such serious reactions to the pennyroyal, that we’d advise calling your vet if you catch your dog nibbling on it.

How Much Mint Can My Dog Eat?

No matter how safe the mint, overindulgence can result in GI issues. Mint leaves are plant material, and we wouldn’t recommend more than a few leaves per day of any raw plant for your trusty companion.

If your dog is ingesting mint via candies or chocolates, we’d advise you put a stop to it altogether. Chocolate for the obvious reasons, but even tiny breath mints and gums can carry artificial sweeteners like xylitol which has proven toxic to dogs. Some of these products may also use concentrated mint oils that can leave your pet feeling ill.

It’s best to stick to the real plant or specially formulated mint products for dogs.

Bonus: Doggy Breath Mints

When it comes to overall health, fresh food like ours is the best place to start. But it’s never a bad idea to supplement their oral health with the occasional mint treat.

Purchase in store or make some at home! For an easy-freeze treat, try plain yogurt, a dash of fresh mint leaves, and a bit of parsley, blended and frozen in an ice cube tray overnight. 

Whenever that doggy breath reaches a fever pitch, pop one out and let them lick the stink away.

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