Mint is a popular herb that graces many of our dishes and teas, but is it safe for our four-legged companions? With various opinions and myths circulating, it's high time we delve into the facts to determine whether this aromatic plant is friend or foe to our dogs. Read on to clear up the confusion and make informed choices for your pet's diet.
Is Mint Safe for Dogs?
Almost always, yes. Most types of mint plants are completely safe for dogs to eat. Actually, there are many dog treats that contain mint because it helps freshen their breath. You can even find DIY Dog Treat Recipes for Fresh Breath that contain mint as well. But it’s important that dogs only eat a few mint leaves per day. Otherwise, they can experience stomach issues from eating too much.
Just like with any food, you should only give it to your dog in moderation. Their stomachs can’t handle large amounts.. And as always, it’s possible for your dog to have an allergic reaction. So make sure to keep a close eye on them as you try out mint for the first time. For other articles about safe and non-safe foods for dogs, check out the Off Leash! Blog on TryFi.com.
What Herbs Are Not Good for Dogs?
There is one type of mint plant that is toxic for dogs, and it’s called an English pennyroyal. Please be cautious—to all of us non-plant experts, it looks just like any other mint plant. And it grows all over the United States except for the coldest regions. If your dog does eat this type of mint plant, they could struggle with diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. If you see any of these signs, please contact your veterinarian immediately!
This is why it’s best to not feed your dog any mint you happen to find out in the wild. Instead, make sure to purchase your mint leaves from a grocery store, or even purchase a mint plant from a nursery. They are the professionals, and they know which mint plants are safe to consume. If you do visit a nursery, make sure to specifically ask which varieties of mint they have, if it’s the English pennyroyal. Let them know you need mint that is safe for dogs to consume.
Other herbs and edible plants you may have in and around your home that are not safe for dogs to consume are:
- Onions and Shallots
- Tomato Plants
Anytime you are thinking about feeding your dog a food, herb, plant, etc., and you don’t know for certain if it’s safe for them—always do your research first! There are tons of food and edible plants that are completely safe for us, but are not at all safe for dogs.
The Benefits of Mint
Mint is a pretty great herb, with multiple benefits—so long as it’s not the poisonous one mentioned above.
- Fiber that helps with healthy digestion.
- Minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, potassium, and zinc.
- Vitmains A and C that promote healthy vision, bones, skin, and immunity.
- Great to help freshen up your dog’s breath.
- Helps calm an upset stomach (just like it does for humans).
- Antioxidants and other nutrients that will help your dog stay healthy.
Can Dogs Eat Mints for Bad Breath?
No—dogs should definitely not eat mint candies. Sorry, mint candies do not work the same as mint leaves. Mint leaves are a natural herb safe for dog consumption. And although the mint candies contain mint, they also contain extra sugars and preservatives that are not good for dogs. And some mint candies contain mint extract, which will actually give your dog stomach problems.
Even worse, they usually contain Xylitol. For humans, Xylitol is a great, natural sugar substitute. But for dogs, Xylitol is actually very harmful! It’s important to watch out for Xylitol in other foods you may feed your dog, like peanut butter.
Is it Safe for Dogs to Eat Mint Ice Cream?
The question often arises: Can dogs have mint ice cream? The short answer is no. Many mint ice creams include chocolate chips, a well-known toxin for dogs. Furthermore, vanilla, commonly found in most ice creams, poses another toxic risk. Add to that the mint extract, sugars, and preservatives—all of which are harmful to dogs.
Rather than sharing ice cream, which offers no nutritional benefits and can even be toxic, consider healthier alternatives. While the smell of mint ice cream might be tempting for you and possibly intriguing for your dog, opt for natural, dog-safe treats like carrots. They may not seem as thrilling as ice cream, but your dog will likely beg to differ.
Mint Leaves are Safe and Healthy for Dogs
As long as you avoid the English pennyroyal mint plant, and you only give your pup a few leaves from safe mint plants per day, then you’re good to go! Try using mint to help freshen your dogs breath and sooth their stomach. And look up some of those homemade, natural dogs treats made with mint. Your dog will love them, and you’ll appreciate their fresh breath!