It can be tempting to let your dog have virtually any treat that she asks for, especially when she starts giving you those puppy dog eyes and pulling out every trick she’s ever learned in order to get her way. However, that doesn’t mean that you should actually allow her to have anything she wants. Peppermint is a perfect example. Some dogs are attracted to it because it smells nice and the smell is strong enough to attract the attention of a dog from across the room. These days, peppermint seems to be everywhere. Whether you’re using it in essential oils or you have candy canes or other peppermint treats around during the winter holidays, you should go to great lengths to keep peppermint out of the reach of your dog.
Can Peppermint Hurt Your Dog?
Unfortunately, peppermint can be extremely hazardous for your dog. There are a couple of different reasons why you should make sure that your dog never gets anywhere near anything that has peppermint in it, even if it’s only a little bit. For starters, the peppermint itself is toxic to dogs. In some cases, it’s conceivable that it could even be toxic enough to cause death, especially if the dog has other health problems or the animal in question is very small, yet ingests a large amount of peppermint. Even for dogs that only ingest a relatively small amount, it can still cause problems. According to experts at the ASPCA, ingesting peppermint can cause severe diarrhea and vomiting. Obviously, this can pose a significant health risk for your pet. That risk goes up exponentially if you can’t get the vomiting or diarrhea under control, as it doesn’t take long for dehydration to set in. This can cause a whole host of other health problems that you will then have to deal with as well.
Are There Other Issues Associated With Peppermint Products?
In fact, there are other issues with some products. More specifically, candy canes can be extremely dangerous. Most manufacturers of candy canes use an additive called xylitol to make them taste even sweeter than they would naturally. Xylitol is extremely harmful to dogs. It is so harmful that even a very small amount can prove fatal. The worst part is that it can happen so quickly that you don’t even have time to do anything about it. By the time that you realize something is wrong, your dog’s condition can go from bad to worse before you have an opportunity to get her to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, even your veterinarian can’t always help if she’s ingested xylitol. Therefore, it’s best to keep candy canes and anything else that has this additive well out of the reach of your dog. Make sure that it simply isn’t accessible to her at any time, even if you’re present in the room. Something tragic can happen in a matter of seconds.
What About Essential Oils?
Essential oils have become immensely popular in the last several years. People use peppermint oil in diffusers. It’s also popular as a natural way to keep rodents at bay. As such, many people put peppermint oil on a cotton ball and then line the corners of the room with these cotton balls, typically behind furniture or something similar. The idea is to keep mice out of the house without using rodenticide or traps. This is all well and good, but if you’re going to do it, make sure that your dog cannot get anywhere near the cotton balls. Don’t put them in a place where it’s simply difficult for your dog to get to them. Make sure that it’s impossible for her to get them. A determined dog is likely to find innovative ways to get to things that you thought she could never reach. Add a bit of boredom into that scenario, and it’s easy to see how things could go bad quite quickly.
At this point, you may be afraid to use peppermint as an essential oil, even if you’re only using it in a diffuser. There is no need to be fearful of using it with dogs in the house, provided that you do it correctly. It can be used in a diffuser but you have to make sure that your dog has absolutely no access to the peppermint oil itself or to the diffuser. It won’t hurt your dog just smell the peppermint oil, provided you don’t completely saturate your home with it. The bigger danger is putting her in a situation where she is somehow allowed to ingest it.
What About Baked Goods Made With Peppermint?
Again, peppermint is not safe for dogs. Therefore, it’s not a good idea to give her any type of baked goods that include peppermint. It’s also worth noting that a lot of the other baked goods that you may be considering giving her could be potentially harmful, depending on the ingredients. While it is understandable that people routinely want to give their pets a special treat in the form of some type of human food, it’s really best to stick to food and treats that are specifically made for canines. If you want to feed your dog something directly from your plate, make sure it’s something that isn’t harmful such as baked chicken or vegetables that are safe for your dog to have. These things are fine. In fact, dogs typically love chicken and vegetables like carrots, celery, and cucumbers. Apples can also be a fun treat, provided that you make sure all of the seeds are carefully removed first. Apple seeds are toxic to dogs, but the apples themselves are safe and can prove to be a welcome and healthy addition to their diet.
Aside from these things, it’s usually not a good idea to feed the dog things that you or another family member would eat. If you’re unsure, it’s best to stick with something made specifically for your dog. That way, there are fewer chances of something going wrong. It should also be noted that you should never feed your dog anything that she is allergic to. If she happens to have an allergy to any of the aforementioned foods, refrain from feeding them to her or allowing her to get near them. You should do this for both foods and medications, as things that would otherwise be safe can be quite dangerous if your dog is allergic.
Why Can’t Dogs Eat the Same Things People Eat?
If you’re wondering why peppermint is toxic to dogs, it all comes down to the way dogs metabolize things. In short, they don’t metabolize food the same way that people do. As a result, things that are perfectly harmless to human beings can be extremely dangerous for your dog. Even though we all like to think of them as family members and even children, they are not simply furry kids running around the house. They have their own metabolism and their bodies work differently than ours. As such, these things have to be taken into account in order to keep them safe. This is also why you should use caution when giving your dog medication.
Clearly, you want to keep your dog as safe as possible and you want her to be healthy. The things that you feed her or keep away from her can go a long way toward allowing her to live a happy and healthy life for many years. Ensuring that she doesn’t eat anything with peppermint in it is just one aspect of keeping her safe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if a dog eats peppermint?
If your dog eats peppermint, you might start to notice that she’s quite lethargic. She may have little or no interest in food or water. It’s likely that she will seem uncomfortable. In some dogs, this manifests as a desire to simply lie down and be left alone. In others, it results in a very nervous dog that can’t stop pacing and is constantly crying. She may have abdominal pain accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Diarrhea may also be present.
Is peppermint okay for dogs to smell?
As previously mentioned, it won’t hurt your dog if she smells peppermint that you have in a diffuser or something similar. However, it is important to remember that peppermint has an extremely strong smell. Dogs have a much keener sense of smell than human beings. As a result, a great deal of peppermint in a central location can overwhelm your dog’s sense of smell very quickly, resulting in a stinging nose, eyes that water, and sneezing. Having peppermint in small quantities is fine, but try not to overdo it.
Can peppermint kill dogs?
Peppermint is toxic to dogs. While it may not kill every dog that comes into contact with it, that is always a possibility. As previously mentioned, this is even more likely if the dog is smaller in size and ingests a large amount of peppermint. By the same token, the dog in question could have other health problems, be of advanced age, or be allergic to peppermint. In all of these cases, it could potentially be fatal. It’s also worth mentioning that some peppermint products, such as candy canes, also contain xylitol. This is an extremely dangerous chemical additive that makes things taste sweeter. Even a very small amount can be fatal.
Can dogs eat peppermint candy at Christmas?
If peppermint isn’t safe for your dog to eat at any other time of the year, it still isn’t safe at Christmas. It may be tempting to try to give your dog something made from peppermint at Christmas because peppermint is everywhere. However, it’s still not a good idea. Therefore, you should refrain from feeding your dog anything that has peppermint in it. Furthermore, do your level best to make sure that she doesn’t inadvertently get a hold of anything that contains it.