We all know the taste of peppermint, from the toothpaste we use in the morning to the warm teas we sip on in the evening, it’s a herb that is widely used for food flavouring and medicinal purposes. The essential oil extracted from peppermint has been used for centuries and has been shown to help soothe digestive upsets, reduce inflammation, and even calm stress and anxiety in hoomans. It’s also commonly found in products for your pooch, like dog toothpaste or dog dental treats. But is it safe and effective for your furry friend to consume?
In short, yes it is, as long as it’s 100% natural (aka not synthetic), in a small dosage, and the recipe has been designed with and approved by vets and the FEDIAF. Let's take a closer look at peppermint oil, how to use it safely, and its benefits for dogs.
What is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint Oil is an essential oil derived from the flowers and leaves of the peppermint plant through steam distillation. It has been used for centuries for food flavouring and medicinal purposes, dating back to the Egyptian and Roman Empires and first cultivated in the UK around 1750. Peppermint is a hybrid of two different types of mint; spearmint and water-mint, and contains menthol, giving it a strong, refreshing scent and a cooling sensation when applied to the skin.
What Are the Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Dogs?
When used properly, peppermint oil can have some pawfect benefits for your pooch.
Here are the main ones:
1. Freshen Breath + Improved Dental Health:
Dogs get cavities just like us. They are also prone to gum disease which can be harmful to their health if left untreated. Peppermint oil has been shown to aid in the removal of tartar and plaque from your dog’s teeth, helping to maintain their pearly whites as well as keeping their breath fresh. Combining a dog-safe peppermint toothpaste and a daily Dog Dental Stick with safe levels of peppermint oil is a pawesome way to maintain your pooch’s dental health.
2. Improved Digestion and Tummy Health:
Some pooches have more sensitive tums than others and need a little extra TLC. Peppermint oil can help stimulate the digestive system and ease digestive issues, such as bloating, gas, and stomach cramps. Never add peppermint oil to your dog’s food yourself particularly if it is undiluted as this can be toxic. Instead, opt for a reliable and trusted pet food product that has added safe levels of peppermint oil and use as directed.
We add a safe level of 0.1% dog-friendly and food-safe peppermint oil to our Gnashers Dog Dental Sticks as well as prebiotic slippery elm for added gut health. Serving these alongside a sensitive dog food is a great way to support more delicate pooches. All of our natural dog food contains only high-quality ingredients as well as either gut-friendly probiotics or prebiotics for optimal digestion and pretty poops.
Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Dogs?
As you’ve just learnt peppermint oil has several brilliant benefits for your pooch. However, not all peppermint oil is the same, and to ensure it’s safe for your dog to consume, there are some impawtent do’s and dont’s to follow so they get all the benefits with no adverse side effects. As mentioned, the short answer to “is peppermint oil safe for dogs?” is yes, but only when used properly.
Here are our do’s and dont’s for safely serving peppermint oil to your pooch:
Do: Use the Right Peppermint Oil
Only use a high-quality peppermint oil that is specifically labelled for use on dogs. These oils will be formulated with your pup’s safety in mind and should be void of synthetic additives and fragrances which can be harmful to your pooch’s health.
The easiest way to do this is to use a product from a trusted and reliable pet food brand that is PFMA and FEDIAF-approved (hint Scrumbles). This way you know that what you’re giving your dog is safe and healthy.
Don’t: Diffuse Peppermint Oil
Your dog’s sense of smell is pawesomly strong, being between 1000-10,000 times more mighty than your own. With this, they are sensitive to stronger smells such as essential oils so it’s best to avoid using diffused peppermint oil in the vicinity of your pooch. Too much peppermint oil can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea. If any of this occurs, seek immediate attention from your vet.
Don’t: Apply Directly to Your Dog’s Skin
Never apply peppermint oil directly to your floof’s skin. Peppermint oil is highly concentrated and can cause skin irritation or even chemical burns if used incorrectly.
Don’t: Use on Dogs With Liver or Kidney Disease
Avoid giving peppermint oil to dogs with certain health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease. Peppermint oil can affect the liver and kidneys and can exacerbate existing health issues. If you’re ever unsure about using something new on your sensitive pooch, consult your vet for the best advice.
Don’t: Use Undiluted Peppermint Oil
Never give your dog undiluted or homemade forms of peppermint oil. Always use a product with approved levels of high quality dog-safe and food-safe peppermint oil, to prevent digestive issues or toxicity.
Choosing the Right Peppermint Oil and Dosage for Dogs
As we know essential oils such as peppermint oil are extremely concentrated so using undiluted forms of the oil or using it improperly on your dog can be toxic for them.
If you’re wanting to use peppermint oil on your dog safely, it's impawtent to only use a high-quality peppermint oil product that is specifically labelled for use on dogs and is FEDIAF and vet-approved. This way you know that what you’re giving your dog is safe and healthy.
Check out our Gnashers Daily Dog Dental Sticks, for an example of how peppermint oil can be safely added to a pet food product. With just 0.1% of natural dog-safe peppermint oil, it’s a great way for your dog to dip their paw into the realm of peppermint oil and access the fantastic benefits we mentioned earlier.
If you’re ever unsure about adding something new to your dog’s diet or care, consult with your vet first so you can rest assured knowing your dog will be safe and healthy.
If your pup displays any adverse reactions to peppermint oil such as vomiting, diarrhoea, skin irritation, fatigue, drooling or difficulty walking, attend to your vet straight away.
*Disclaimer: this article does not take the place of professional veterinary advice. Always consult your vet before using something new on your dog either topically or orally, or if you’re ever unsure about something. Monitor your dog for any adverse reactions.