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Can Dogs Have Mint Leaves?

Mortar and pestle filled with mint leaves on a marbled table top

When used in moderation, dogs CAN eat mint leaves. On the other hand, excessive consumption of mint leaves can lead to gastrointestinal issues. Similarly, it is important to verify the species of mint that your dog is eating. Peppermint is probably the most commonly used type of mint and it is absolutely non-toxic for dogs.

According to the ASPCA, most species of mint are non-toxic to dogs except one. Commonly known as English pennyroyal, this plant contains a chemical called Pulegone, which is poisonous for dogs. Pulegone is also dangerous for humans because it is classified as carcinogenic.

If your dog has ingested Mentha pulegium, you will observe different signs of an upset stomach like vomiting and diarrhea. Other symptoms of poisoning include breathing difficulties, a bloody nose, lethargy, and coughing up blood. In this case, you should immediately contact your vet.

Is Mint Safe for Dogs?

Jack Russell with head tilted

Yes, mint is safe for dogs but in limited quantity. Excessive intake of mint can cause some troubles to your canine companion. Contrary to that, mint can be quite beneficial for your dog’s health when consumed in reasonable amounts. In addition to the nutritional benefits, mint also offers some remedial value.

Nutritional Benefits

Vitamins and Minerals

Mint is extremely rich in vitamins A and C. Both these vitamins assist in energizing your dog in the long run. Similarly, they play an important role in strengthening the immune system of your dog. Not only will this help your ill pups to recover quickly, but it will also provide some reinforcement to your healthy dogs. Vitamins are also useful for providing a smooth and glossy fur.  

Mint also has an abundant supply of minerals such as Calcium, Iron, Folate, and Manganese. All these minerals are extremely vital for the proper execution of body functions. For instance, calcium is needed for proper nerve functioning and bone formation. Likewise, folate is necessary for amino acid metabolism while manganese serves as a catalyst for enzyme activity.


This useful chemical is essential for nasal decongestion. It breaks thick mucus and phlegm and prevents them from building up again. Therefore, mint is an effective tool against cold for dogs.

Rosmarinic Acid

This component is a handful for treating seasonal allergies.

Remedial Value

Close up of pug head with mouth open

Refreshes Smelly Breath

Mint eliminates oral bacteria that cause smelly breath. This allows the refreshing aroma of mint to overcome the foul-smelling odor completely.

Anti-microbial Properties

Mint is a natural remedy against bacteria, fungus, and viruses. It has the chemical composition that can counter the attacks of these organisms to keep your dog healthy.

Treats Upset Stomach

Although excessive amounts of mint can lead to an upset stomach, a moderate quantity of mint helps in digestion. It is an effective ingredient to counter gurgling stomach noises, motion illness, and other gastrointestinal issues.

Repel Fleas

Peppermint oil is often used as a treatment for fleas. The smell of this essential oil will help in keeping fleas away. Having said that, it is important to go for a dog-safe brand because you don’t want to worsen the situation.

Mint Leaves for Dogs

Mint leaves on a bamboo platter

Given its numerous benefits, mint can be a useful addition to your garden. However, some dog parents feel that it’s unsafe for their pets to have mint in their surroundings. Unless you have chosen Mentha pulegium (a type of mint), your dogs can safely nibble on some mint leaves.

Leaves of mint plants are extremely popular due to their pleasant smell and refreshing flavor. They are often used (in limited quantity) as a breath freshener for dogs. Having said that, it is important to determine what quantity of mint is safe for dogs.

How much Mint can a Dog Eat?

Generally, dogs are not very adventurous eaters and like to stick to their regular meals. For this reason, it is extremely rare to encounter a dog who is interested in eating mint leaves. Therefore, the authority of feeding mint rests primarily with the parent (unless a mint plant attracts the curious nature of your pup).

Although the exact safety limit will depend on the size of your dog, a couple of mint leaves can be added to their diet. The best possible approach is to show your pet a mint leaf and see how it reacts. If the pup shows any interest in consuming mint, you can ground some leaves into the dog’s food.

Do Dogs Like Mint?

Yellow Labrador sitting at a table with an empty plate

Contrary to the general perception, some dogs do like to munch mint leaves. The reason for this action is not very clear but there are some theories about it. One of them suggests that dogs like the taste of mint. On the other hand, some people believe that dogs eat mint because of its digestive benefits. Irrespective of the reason, you need to ensure that your dog doesn’t eat too many mint leaves.

A lot of commercial dog treats (targeted for teeth cleaning and bad breath) use mint as one of the ingredients. Observations have shown that dogs do enjoy chewing these treats. Given the positive feedback of these products, more and more people are using mint in their homemade treats.

If your dog likes mint, you must ensure that all mint products are beyond its reach. For example, if you have any mint-flavored treat, make sure that it is inaccessible for your dog. Likewise, the people who have grown peppermint in their homes should try to keep their dogs away from the plant.

Why Dogs Don’t Like Mint?

mint leaves isolated on a white background.

In contrast to mint-loving canines, there are some dogs that are not fond of mint. Basically, the strong smell of mint can be quite irritating for some dogs. This is one of the major reasons why dogs don’t like this herb.

A sensitive nose is a huge advantage for dogs, but there are some drawbacks as well. The smells that are mild to us can be quite overwhelming for our dogs. Mint falls into this category and that’s the reason why some dogs don’t find it appealing.

Another example is that of peppermint oil, which is often used as a flea and tick repellent. The smell of this essential oil can make your dog sick. In addition to that, the ingestion of peppermint oil can lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

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