Furry Fresh: Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Dogs?


Closeup of peppermint for dogs

People praise peppermint for keeping our breath fresh. And with countless dental chews for dogs made with peppermint oil as a key ingredient, we all assume that the ingredient has the same benefits for our pups. But is peppermint oil safe for dogs to consume? Can dogs and cats eat peppermint? Are all forms of peppermint created equal? In this article, you'll learn everything you need to know about peppermint and peppermint oil for dogs!

Is peppermint oil safe for dogs?

Let’s start with the most notable form of peppermint in dog dental products: peppermint oil. There are a few factors that determine whether or not peppermint oil is safe for dogs: 


Pay attention to how many treats they eat per day; always follow the directions on packaging to see how many treats are safe for them to consume each day. 


The amount of peppermint within one serving of a dental treat affects its potency. Not to worry! Pet companies carefully decide how much is safe based on the purpose of the product and serving size. 


Pure essential oils should never be given to your pet––not to freshen breath, soothe tummy troubles, or for any other purpose. Only give peppermint to your pet in pre-made products or, ask your vet how many peppermint leaves are safe for them to consume.

Benefits of peppermint for dogs

Peppermint has two notable benefits that can promote your pet’s best health: 

Fresh breath is one of the best-known benefits of peppermint! Not just for people but pets, too. Dogs can have small amounts of peppermint in store-bought dog treats and dental chews. It’s also safe for dog toothpaste and tooth gels that can help freshen breath by target the bacteria and debris that cause bad breath.

People have been using peppermint for digestive support for centuries, and the same benefits can be passed on to our pets! While peppermint isn’t the first ingredient you should grab for your pet’s digestion, it can be given in small amounts to soothe an upset stomach. Ginger, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics are usually the first ingredients your veterinarian will recommend if your dog needs digestive support. 

How to safely give peppermint to dogs

Instead of giving your dog peppermint on its own–and being unsure of how much is safe–choose products made specifically for pets. 

Dental chews

Soft chew treats, doggie breath mints, and other dental dog treats are made with peppermint and can be given daily to your dog. Follow the packaging instructions to determine the best amount for your pet!

Dental stick

Similar to dental chews, dental sticks freshen the breath, but they have the added benefit of providing an abrasive surface for your dog to chew on. They’re useful for removing stubborn plaque buildup and tartar. 

Tooth gels

Tooth gels are used in lieu of toothpaste for dogs. They can be used alone, applied with a dental mitt, or applied directly to the teeth or gums using clean fingers. 

Peppermint leaves

Is peppermint growing in your garden? Your dog can have a few peppermint leaves per day to support digestive health––or fresher breath. 

Are peppermint essential oil diffusers safe for dogs?

Always use caution when using peppermint essential oil diffusers around dogs. While peppermint oil is popular for its refreshing scent and potential health benefits for humans, it can be harmful to dogs. Dogs have a much more sensitive respiratory system, and inhaling essential oils, including peppermint, can lead to respiratory distress, coughing, and sneezing. In some cases, it can even cause more severe issues like aspiration pneumonia or allergic reactions. Therefore, it’s generally advisable to avoid using peppermint essential oil diffusers in homes with dogs.

If you love the scent of peppermint and still want to use it in your home, it’s important to do so in a way that minimizes exposure to your dog. Use the diffuser in a well-ventilated area and ensure your dog has the option to leave the room if they choose. Never confine your dog in a space where an essential oil diffuser is actively running. Additionally, consider using alternative methods to freshen your home that are safer for pets, such as pet-safe air fresheners or natural options like baking soda.

In conclusion, while peppermint essential oil diffusers might be a pleasant addition to your home for humans, they can pose significant risks to your dog’s health. Always prioritize your pet’s safety by avoiding the use of potentially harmful essential oils and opting for safer alternatives. If you ever notice your dog showing signs of discomfort or respiratory issues when an essential oil diffuser is in use, discontinue use immediately and consult your veterinarian for advice. Your dog’s well-being should always come first when considering household products and their potential impacts.

How much peppermint oil is toxic to dogs?

Peppermint oil can be toxic to dogs, especially in large amounts. The toxicity level of peppermint oil varies based on several factors, including the size of your dog, the concentration of the oil, and the method of exposure. Smaller dogs are more susceptible to the effects of peppermint oil because their bodies process substances differently than larger dogs. Even a small amount of concentrated peppermint oil can be harmful to a small dog, leading to symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, and in severe cases, central nervous system depression or liver damage.

The concentration of the peppermint oil is another critical factor. Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts, and even a few drops can be potent. Undiluted peppermint oil is particularly dangerous and should never be applied directly to your dog's skin or ingested. When diffused in the air, the oil can still pose risks if the concentration is too high or if the exposure is prolonged. Always ensure that any essential oil products you use around pets are heavily diluted and used sparingly.

Understanding these factors is crucial to prevent accidental poisoning. If you suspect your dog has ingested peppermint oil or is showing symptoms of toxicity, seek veterinary care immediately. Providing your vet with information about the amount and concentration of the oil, as well as your dog’s size and weight, will help them assess the situation more accurately. It's always better to err on the side of caution and avoid using peppermint oil in ways that could expose your dog to potential harm. By being mindful of these factors, you can ensure a safer environment for your furry friend.

Can dogs have peppermint essential oil?

Is peppermint bad for dogs? That depends on what you feed them. Feeding your dog undiluted peppermint oil can be toxic to your pet, since the concentration of the ingredient is so high. The same can be said for other natural essential oils like lavender, citrus, and cinnamon. 

Signs of peppermint oil toxicity include familiar signs of digestive upset like vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Other symptoms can include redness around the face, skin irritation, and general muscle weakness. Ingesting straight, undiluted essential oils like peppermint, lavender, and citrus can even cause liver damage in dogs with preexisting liver disease.

So is peppermint essential oil safe for dogs at all? Yes! In fact, it’s one of the most commonly used ingredients in dog dental treats––but that’s because these products have been carefully formulated to be safe for your pet in the quantities recommended on the packaging. Just avoid giving this ingredient to your pet on its own!

My dog ate a peppermint candy––what should I do?! Peppermint in ‘people’ foods like mint candies, ice cream, chewing gum, and mint sauces is very concentrated and should never be given to your pet. If your dog has ingested peppermint in a concentrated form, contact your veterinarian immediately to get direction on next steps to keep your pet safe.

This blog exists to provide general information and education about veterinary health and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, website, or in any linked materials is not intended as and should not be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We cannot diagnose conditions, provide second opinions, or make specific treatment recommendations through this blog or website.

If you suspect that your pet has a medical concern, you should consult with your veterinary health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment immediately. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog, website, or in any linked materials.

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