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Home > Dogs > Can Dogs Eat Peppermint? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ

Can Dogs Eat Peppermint? Vet-Verified Facts & FAQ


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Dr. Amanda Charles

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Because our dogs are omnivores, we can often enjoy many of the same foods, permitting they are prepared correctly. However, some foods that humans can enjoy can be dangerous or inedible for our canine companions. Of these foods, where exactly does peppermint fall on the list? After all, it is used for many holiday desserts and creations.

Fresh or dried peppermint leaves in small amounts are okay for dogs to eat. However, not all forms of mint are safe and many common peppermint containing products are highly toxic to dogs.


Types of Mint

It’s important to note that some types of mint are toxic to dogs and it’s advisable to err on the side of caution and avoid giving any fresh mint to your dog unless you are 100% sure you have a safe variety. The most common mint varieties, peppermint and spearmint are safe for dogs in small amounts but others are not.

In particular pennyroyal,  which is part of the mint family, but is highly toxic to dogs when eaten or applied topically. In addition there are other plants that look similar to mint such as wintergreen plants which also must be avoided due to their toxicity.

Image Credit: silviarita, Pixabay

When to Contact Your Vet

If you are concerned your dog may have ingested a poisonous form of mint or a dangerous mint containing product- contact your vet or the pet poison line straight away.

They will guide you with the next steps, whether it be monitoring your dog at home or bringing them in for evaluation.

When Can Peppermint Be Dangerous to Dogs?

Peppermint can be dangerous as an essential oil or in a variety of human products that are unsafe for dogs. Here are some of the different types and the particular risks.

Fresh Plant

Your dog might not be interested in fresh peppermint whatsoever. But that is not a guarantee. Mint has a very strong aroma which can deter many canines as it is not pleasing to their natural palate. If they ingest a few leaves then it will often not cause too many issues but larger amounts can cause more severe gastrointestinal upset. Contact your vet for advice if you are concerned about the amount your dog has eaten or the signs they are showing.

Dried Mint

Again small amounts of dried peppermint are generally safe while larger amounts, for example if your dog chews on a peppermint tea bag, can cause digestive issues.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are by far the most dangerous form of peppermint for your dog. These oils are highly concentrated forms of the plant itself. Many types of essential oils, including peppermint, are toxic to dogs when ingested or through contact with the skin.


Peppermint is included in many human products such as mints, gum, toothpaste and these often also contain the artificial sweetener xylitol which is highly toxic to dogs. Xylitol is absorbed quickly and leads to a rapid drop in blood sugar, high amounts can also cause liver damage. If not treated it can be fatal so it’s essential you contact the emergency vets if your dog has eaten any product that also contains xylitol.


Candies are probably the mildest form of peppermint. They are mixed with other ingredients, mainly sugar. So, if your dog gets into holiday candies, they might get nauseous and vomit or have other gastrointestinal problems but be sure to check they don’t contain the sugar substitute xylitol.

Glass bottle of peppermint essential oil with fresh green mint leaves and dried mint on rustic background
Image Credit: Halil ibrahim mescioglu, Shutterstock

Are Dogs Attracted to Peppermint?

Because of its pungent smell and taste, dogs are not often attracted to the peppermint plant itself. However, they might enjoy getting into sweets, as there is more attraction to the smell and flavor.

Even though most dogs will generally not pay much attention to any kind of mint plant, some might. Each dog is unique and different, having different taste preferences. It’s important to keep a close eye on your pooch no matter what.

Keeping Dogs Away from Peppermint

If you have an herb garden, ensure a protective barrier between your plants and your pup. Not only can dogs destroy plants by traipsing through them, but many of your plants can also harm your dog if they get ahold of them.

If you use peppermint in essential oil form, always keep every essential oil up and away from all of your pets. Essential oils can be toxic to pets and small children in their concentrated quantities. Have a specific area designated for these, locked away from tiny fingers and nosy sniffers, or ideally avoid using them in your home altogether.



Fresh or dried peppermint are generally safe if dogs ingest small amounts. However, peppermint essential oil and many peppermint containing products are toxic to dogs and must be avoided. Certain types of mint such as pennyroyal are also poisonous to dogs, so it’s advisable to err on the side of caution and keep all forms of mint and mint products away from your pooch. If you are concerned about the type of mint or mint product that your dog has eaten, or signs they are showing, contact your veterinarian straight away for advice.

Featured Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay

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