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Can Dogs Eat Mint? | Is Mint Bad for Dogs?

is mint bad for dogs

Mint is used for so many purposes.  It can be used to help alleviate upset stomachs or chest pains.  It can be used to treat burns or skin irritations.  It can be used to unblock breathing passages, provide fresh breath, and relieve headaches!  Mint anyone?  Mint has a ton of great benefits for humans, but what about for our pups?  Is that mint plant growing in your garden safe for your dog?  Let’s find out…can dogs eat mint or is mint bad for dogs? 

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Can Dogs Eat Mint? (The Short Answer)

No, dog’s probably shouldn’t be eating mint.  There are many different types of mint species and distinguishing them can be incredibly difficult.  One of the more popular varieties of mint is very toxic to dogs and causes liver failure.  Even types of mints that aren’t toxic tend to cause digestive issues after 1-2 leaves are ingested.  Mint does contain some vitamins and minerals, but that doesn’t outweigh the risks.  For that reason, dogs should be kept away from mint.  If your dog happens to ingest mint, try to figure out what kind it was to see if medical attention is needed and watch for symptoms of toxicity.

It’s important to remember, that even with the best of intentions, accidents happen and dogs can easily eat things they shouldn’t.  Unfortunately, even if those accidents aren’t fatal, they can result in huge, unexpected veterinary expenses.  That’s why we recommend all responsible dog owners get a free, online pet insurance quote from Healthy Paws.

Is Mint Good For Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat mint?” Now, let’s learn about the benefits of feeding your dog this food! Is mint good for dogs?

Well, not really.  While most varieties of mint are safe for dogs, they don’t provide an abundance of benefits.  Mint is not unhealthy, but it also doesn’t provide many benefits.  There is one specific kind of mint that is actually toxic to dogs. 

Some varieties of mint are actually incorporated into food and treats, to help promote better breath.  If you see mint as an ingredient, you shouldn’t be shocked and your dog can still eat it.  The creators of the treat have carefully selected the mint and are certain they know what kind it is so it won’t cause your dog harm.  Improving bad breath is one of the better qualities of mint. 

To clarify, mint EXCLUDING the variety of “English Pennyroyal,” can be ingested by our four-legged friends and is not considered toxic.  That being said, it’s a risky game to assume what type of mint a plant is.  If your dog does ingest a different type of mint, they still may experience diarrhea or vomiting as most pups are sensitive to mint and can only handle a few leaves without experiencing gastrointestinal side effects.  Mint plants, like many herbs, contain few calories and contain multiple vitamins and minerals.  It isn’t necessarily the most unhealthy snack option, but it’s potentially very unsafe.  For these reasons, we find it better to err on the side of caution and avoid all varieties of mint to ensure we do not accidentally poison our beloved pups. 

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Is Mint Bad for Dogs?

We’ve already answered the question, “can dogs eat mint?” Now, let’s learn about the dangers of feeding your dog this food! Is mint bad for dogs?

Yes, mint can be very bad for dogs.  Most types of mint can cause altered gastrointestinal function, and some can cause liver failure. 

While there are many non-toxic varieties of mint, one type is extremely toxic to dogs whether ingested or just touched to their skin.  If you’re anything like me, you probably have no idea how to distinguish between different kinds of mint.  While there may be subtle differences, there are none that would really stand out to the average pet parent.  This toxic type of mint—English Pennyroyal—is abundant in America.  It’s grown in nearly all 50 states except those with extremely cold climates. 

Signs and symptoms of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, and weakness.  Ideally, if your dog consumes mint you should attempt to figure out which variety of mint it was and contact your veterinarian immediately before these symptoms arise.  These symptoms can indicate liver damage and progress further to nerve damage, seizures, hemorrhaging, and respiratory distress.

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Other Varieties & Related Foods:

Can Dogs Eat Fresh Mint?

No, dogs should not eat fresh mint.  To be on the safe side, it’s advisable to avoid all mints due to the toxicity of English Pennyroyal.  If your dog does happen to ingest fresh mint, find out what kind it is and proceed from there.  If you suspect it is the English Pennyroyal or are unsure, seek help from your veterinarian immediately.

Are Mint Plants Safe for Your Pup?

No, dogs should not eat mint plants.  This is because of how hard it is to distinguish between toxic varieties and non-toxic varieties.  We do not want to risk giving a potentially toxic mint to our pup thinking it was a safe one.  It’s better to avoid mint all together.  Dogs have much less sensitive taste buds than we do, so adding a herb into their meal is unlikely to improve their meal much regardless. 

Can Dogs Eat Mint Leaves?

No, dogs shouldn’t eat mint leaves.  Unless you are expertly able to distinguish all 600+ varieties of mint plant, it’s not worth risking giving your pup a toxic one.  If you have mint growing in your garden, you may want to take precautionary measures to keep your pup away from it.  Even if it not the toxic variety, more than 1-2 leaves of any variety of mint  can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Can Dogs Eat Peppermint?

No, it’s not recommended to feed dogs peppermint.  Peppermint is not classified as toxic for dogs, but it isn’t the safest either.  Peppermint is considered one of the safest types of mint for dogs—if you can properly distinguish it.  Despite this, more than 1-2 leaves per day could cause some pretty serious gastrointestinal side-effects.  In terms of peppermint candies, they generally contain xylitol which is another ingredient that is toxic to dogs.  It’s better to avoid all types of mints if at all possible. 

Can Dogs Eat Mint Candy?

No, it is not safe for dogs to eat mint candy.  This candy contains added sugars and preservatives.  In addition, it contains mint or mint extract which can potentially be toxic depending on the type.  Dog treats are a better option than human treats.  If you’re trying to get better breath for your dog, there are better products that can be used that offer less negative side-effects. 

Can Dogs Eat Mint Ice Cream? / Can Dogs Eat Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream?

Dogs should not eat mint ice cream or mint chocolate chip ice cream.  First of all, if it contains chocolate, it is for sure toxic to dogs.  Additionally, many mint ice creams contain vanilla which can be toxic to pups.  They also could contain mint extract which, in high enough quantities, can cause gastrointestinal problems if not toxicity.  Additionally, ice cream contains tons of added sugar which isn’t healthy for your dog.  For more information on if there are any ice cream flavors your pup can enjoy, check out our related article: Can Dogs Eat Ice Cream? We prefer making our own DIY frozen dog treats!

In Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Mint?

We all love our dogs so, to be on the safe side, we should not give our dogs mint.  This herb and our dogs were just not “mint” to be with each other!  Due to its capacity to cause liver problems, it’s best to avoid mint all together.  While mint may have some positive effects for our four-legged friends, they’re heavily outnumbered by the associated potential risks.

Want to Learn More?

Check out these related articles from our “Read Before You Feed” series for more advice on safe foods for dogs!

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians and this article should not be taken as medical or veterinary advice.  If you have any questions about your pet’s health or dietary needs, please contact your local veterinarian.