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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Altoids? Vet-Verified Dangers & Dental Tips

Can Dogs Eat Altoids? Vet-Verified Dangers & Dental Tips

a can of altoids mint candy

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Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Most of us like to share our food with our pets if we know that it’s safe, and some dogs even beg us for table scraps while we eat. Many dogs can also suffer from bad breath every now and then, which might cause some people to wonder if giving them an Altoid breath mint is safe.

Unfortunately, letting dogs eat these candies is not a good idea because they contain many harmful ingredients. Keep reading as we discuss the ingredients of Altoids and alternatives that you can try. We also answer a few of the most frequently asked questions to help you be better informed.

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What Are Altoids?

Altoids is a brand of breath mints that started in London in the late 1700s, and today, the Mars/Wrigley company is the manufacturer. These small, flavorful mints are known for their strong and refreshing taste. They come in various flavors, including peppermint, wintergreen, and cinnamon. Consumers love their ability to freshen their breath and provide a quick pick-me-up throughout the day. However, while these mints may be a staple in many people’s lives, it’s essential to consider whether they are safe for pets before letting them have one.

Altoids Ingredients

Examining the ingredient list is crucial to determine if any food, including Altoids, is dangerous to a pet. Altoids typically contain sugar, peppermint oil, natural flavors, and other ingredients that give them their distinctive taste. While some of these items might not harm dogs in small quantities, others can be more dangerous.

person taking a mint candy
Image Credit: SERSOLL, Shutterstock

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Dangers of Feeding Altoids to Dogs

Mint

Altoids contain mint, and while it’s not toxic in small quantities, mint can upset your pet’s stomach. That said, wintergreen is toxic to dogs and can lead to stomach, liver, and kidney problems if they eat too much of it.

Sugar

Altoids contain sugar, which in excess, can lead to dental issues and obesity and in turn, to significant health problems like joint disease and cardiovascular issues. With more than 50% of dogs being overweight in the United States, avoiding sugary foods is a good idea when possible.

Artificial Sweeteners

Currently, sugar-free flavors of Altoids use sucralose as an artificial sweetener, which is not toxic to dogs. However, new flavors come out regularly, and if they contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, they can be extremely dangerous for your pet. This popular artificial sweetener is often used in sugar-free gum and some other mints, and it is extremely toxic to dogs; even a small amount can be fatal.

one pink mint candy surrounded with white mint candies
Image Credit: Ajay Bhaskar, Shutterstock

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Should I Give Altoids to a Dog?

Due to the sugar content and other possible harmful ingredients, there is no benefit to feeding Altoids to your pet. It is even unlikely that they will be effective at freshening your dog’s breath because they will likely eat them too fast.

If you are worried about your dog’s breath, it’s time to book a check up with the vet. Bad doggy breath can be harmless, but it could also be a sign of a number of health issues, such as dental disease, stomach problems, even kidney disease. So before you start looking for ways to freshen your dog’s breath, make sure there isn’t an underlying problem first.

Alternatives to Altoids for Dogs

1. Dental Chews

Commercial dental chews are another great way to freshen your pet’s breath while cleaning the teeth. Many dogs enjoy them, and they are easy to find online or at your local pet store.


2. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

The dog sits near a bowl of food and licks his tongue, dry food and fresh vegetables and fruits
Image Credit: Daria Lixovetckaym, Shutterstock

Fresh fruits and vegetables like apple slices and carrot sticks can help freshen your pet’s breath while providing a healthy treat.


3. Dental Cleaning

Bad breath can be a sign of dental disease. With more than 80% of dogs suffering from some form of it by the time that they are 3, it’s a good idea to get regular checkups and cleanings at the vet, and these can help freshen their breath significantly.

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Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Just like for us, regular brushing helps keep your dog’s teeth and gums in top condition. If you start this practice when your dog is a puppy, it will make it much easier to keep up with. There are a number of different doggy toothbrushes and toothpastes on the market to help keep those pearly whites shiny. Never use human toothpaste on your dog.

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Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to Do If Your Dog Consumes Altoids?

If you suspect that your dog has ingested Altoids, check the ingredients. If there is no xylitol, you should monitor your dog closely over the next 24 hours and contact your vet if you are worried. If xylitol is on the ingredients list, or they have eaten a lot of mints, call your vet immediately.

What Are the Risks of Dogs Consuming Altoids?

The biggest risk of consuming Altoids for your dog—assuming that they contain no xylitol—is an upset stomach from the strong flavors that can lead to nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Are There Any Dog-Friendly Mints Available?

Some pet stores offer dog-safe mints that can freshen your dog’s breath without using harmful ingredients and are safer alternatives to Altoids or other human treats. However, they are often swallowed too quickly for them to be of any real benefit.

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Summary

Altoids are not a safe treat for your dog. They contain strong mint flavoring that can upset your pet’s stomach, leading to vomiting and diarrhea. The wintergreen flavor could be toxic in large amounts. Altoids also contain sugar that can lead to digestive problems and obesity, and sugar-free flavors might also harm your pet if they contain the artificial sweetener xylitol. It’s best to stick to dog-specific treats and dental chews to help freshen your dog’s breath.

Always speak to your vet if you are worried about anything your dog has eaten, and remember to book your dog in for a health check if you notice their breath becoming unpleasant.


Featured Image Credit: Czarina Billones | PetKeen

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