When we think mint, we think fresh breath, we think of mint chocolate chip ice cream, we think mint gum or mint toothpaste.
For all mint provides, we might think dogs can get to enjoy our favourite treats and get fresh breath with mint-like we do.
But you should pause on that thought and hold off on sharing any of these items with your dog just yet.
Are mint leaves or mint in candies, ice cream and gum okay for dogs to consume?
What About Mint?
Mint has become a staple to us as human beings because of the many benefits it has and the flavor it adds to so many dishes.
Mint is gotten from a plant, has over 600 varieties and is used in:
- Chewing gum
- Ice creams
- As a spice in meals
- As a garnish in drinks and so many other uses
It is so versatile and the most common variety of mint in the United States is the English Pennyroyal.
Which grows in virtually every state apart from cold climes.
Mints also have nutrients that can be beneficial but there is a problem.
Can Dogs Eat Mint?
It is a complex answer but for your dog’s safety, the answer is, No.
Dogs can ingest one or two leaves of any mint excluding the most common of all the mint varieties, that is most probably used in everything mint is added to: The English Pennyroyal.
This mint is so toxic to dogs that even the leaf on their skin will get a reaction.
Other mints in large quantities would irritate your dog’s gastrointestinal system causing vomiting and diarrhea that can pass in some days.
Mints in other human items or treats must be avoided because you cannot tell the type of the portion of mint used, or if it will be a safe dose for your dog to take.
The only exclusion for dogs is mint in products made for them.
The producers have carefully selected the mints they used and added them in safe doses for use or ingestion by dogs.
What Happens When Your Dog Eats Mint?
Apart from irritating the gastrointestinal system, the toxic mint variety can cause liver damage and eventually death.
Pennyroyal contains Pulegone, a chemical that is the main instigator for the symptoms in dogs.
Signs and symptoms of Mint ingestion, along with weakness, can be indicative of:
- Liver damage
- Nerve damage
- Respiratory Distress
What about Candies, Ice cream, Gum and other Mint Products?
Mint as Leaves are a No
Unless you can tell the difference between the leaves of English Pennyroyal and other variants on your own, which can be near impossible.
Mint in Candies is a No
This is because candies may also have xylitol, which is an artificial sweetener and is toxic to dogs.
Xylitol is in almost every human product that is artificially sweetened.
Even peanut butter.
Mint in Ice cream is a No
Ice cream may contain Xylitol as well as many other sugars in high doses, which is not good for your dog.
Your dog may also be lactose intolerant if you have not had the time to check.
And if it is mint chocolate ice cream, the chocolate is also toxic to dogs.
Mint in Chewing Gum is a No
Most chewing gums are artificially sweetened with xylitol as well, which is toxic to dogs.
There also many other products like breath mints or even toothpaste that have mint and xylitol that are okay for humans but not for dogs.
Because of the benefits of dental hygiene, there are dog-friendly options of these products made specifically for them, without all the unsafe ingredients and chemicals.
What To Do If Your Dog Eats Mint?
If your dog ingests something with mint you should identify what type of mint it is and look for any other red flag ingredients that may cause a problem for your dog, then call the veterinarian immediately with all the information.
The same with fresh mint leaves too, try to identify the variant and the quantity eaten.
The veterinarian will need to assess what the best course of treatment is.
How To Prevent Dogs From Eating Mint?
1. If you use mint as a herb in your home you should keep it securely in the fridge where it can be kept fresh.
If you have it potted you should keep it out of reach of your dog.
2. If it grows in the back garden, you may want to secure your garden properly with a fence, remove the plant or use the “leave it” command to warn your dog off it.
3. Check any item you want to give your dog for the ingredients, and always ensure to use doggy alternatives if you must give your dog mint products.