After a hard day at work, your dog happily greets you at the door with a slobbery kiss.
However, you catch a whiff of their not-so-pleasant breath and recoil from its pleasantries.
You wonder, what can alleviate your pup’s stinky breath?
You’ve heard about the mints people eat to freshen their breath, but can dogs have them too?
So, can dogs eat mints for bad breath?
Dogs can’t eat mints because they contain a small amount of xylitol.
Xylitol is a sugar alcohol that’s safe for humans to eat, but it’s toxic to dogs.
Even a tiny amount of xylitol causes your dog to have low blood sugar, which leads to vomiting, weakness, and loss of coordination.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about feeding mints to your dog, including the risks and benefits of doing so.
What Happens if my Dog Ate a Breath Mint?
You shouldn’t feed your dogs breath mints, either candies or leaves.
For instance, breath mint candies contain additives, sweeteners, and flavors harmful to your dog if ingested.
Moreover, even if you’re feeding them fresh mint leaves, there’s a chance that your pet could have an allergic reaction to the plant.
In most cases, if your dog ate a small amount of mint, they’ll be fine.
However, it’s always best to exercise caution and contact a veterinarian if you’re concerned about your pet’s health.
The following will happen if your dog ingests mint:
Mints contain a small amount of xylitol, a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener in many products.
In large amounts, xylitol cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), seizures, and even liver failure in dogs.
A single mint contains such a small amount of xylitol that it’s unlikely to cause any problems.
Thus, within 15 minutes to an hour after eating a mint, your dog may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
If your pup ate a lot of mints or the mint was incredibly high in xylitol, they may have more serious symptoms like collapse, loss of coordination, and seizures.
These more severe reactions usually occur within 12 hours of ingestion.
Flavors and additives are often added to mints to give them their signature taste and smell.
While these ingredients are generally safe for people, they may not be safe for your pup.
For example, many mints contain essential oils like Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil or Mentha Viridis (spearmint) oil.
These oils cause an upset stomach in dogs.
Over consumption of mint leaves also lead to stomach upset in dogs.
If your dog ate a lot of mint leaves, it might experience vomiting and diarrhea.
In some cases, the mint leaves could obstruct their digestive system.
Mints are plants from the Lamiaceae family, which includes basil, oregano, and sage.
If your dog is allergic to these plants, they may also be allergic to mint.
Allergic reactions range from mild (rash, hives, itching) to severe (trouble breathing, swelling of the face or throat).
Cavities in Dogs
Breath mints have sugar in them, which promotes plaque growth and leads to cavities in dogs.
If your dog eats mints regularly, it may be at a higher risk of developing cavities.
Thus, the problem of bad breath would escalate into a bigger dental issue.
What Causes Bad Breath in Dogs?
- The build-up of plaque and tartar on their teeth
- Gum disease
- Certain medical conditions like liver or kidney disease
- Eating smelly foods
- Dental issues such as cavities
- An infection in their mouth like gingivitis
Can Dogs Eat Minted Leaves for Bad Breath?
Unlike the mint candies you buy at the store, mint leaves don’t contain xylitol.
Thus, they’re safe for dogs to eat.
However, give your dog a few leaves at a time since too much mint can cause an upset stomach.
You can also make a minty mouthwash for your pup by mixing fresh mint leaves with water.
This mouthwash helps freshen their breath and clean their teeth.
What are the Benefits of Mints Leaves for Dogs?
- Freshens Breath: The refreshing aroma of mint leaves helps freshen your pup’s breath.
- Soothes an Upset Stomach: Mint leaves have a calming effect on the stomach and help soothe an upset tummy.
- Cleans Teeth: The menthol in mint leaves helps kill bacteria in your dog’s mouth and freshen their breath. In addition, the minty flavor can help encourage your dog to chew more, which cleans their teeth.
- Nutrient-rich: Mint leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, and minerals like potassium and iron.
- Relieves Allergies: The rosmarinic acid in mint leaves has anti-inflammatory properties that relieve allergies. For instance, the natural mentho in mint leaves can help relieve itchy skin caused by seasonal allergies.
How to Safely Feed Mints Breath to your Dog
Pluck a few mints leaves off the plant and let your dog chew on them.
You can also mix fresh mint leaves with water to make a mouthwash for your pup.
However, wash the leaves thoroughly to remove any pesticides or chemicals.
Mint Essential Oils
Add a few drops of mint essential oil to your dog’s water bowl.
You can also add a few drops of oil to their food if they have trouble eating due to an upset stomach.
However, use a high-quality, diluted essential oil since pure essential oils are toxic to dogs.
Avoid feeding your dog mint candies since they often contain xylitol, which is poisonous to dogs.
In addition, sugary candy can cause cavities and weight gain.
If you want to give your dog a minty treat, opt for dog-friendly breath mints that don’t contain xylitol.
If you opt to give your dog mint candies for bad breath, crush them up into tiny pieces.
This prevents dogs from choking on them. In addition, monitor your dog closely since it may experience an upset stomach or diarrhea.
Mint Leaves Tea
Brew a cup of mint tea and let it cool before giving it to your dog.
Add a little honey to sweeten the tea if desired.
You can also buy mint powder at health food stores.
Mix the powder with water to make a paste and brush it onto your dog’s teeth.
Mints can be a safe and effective way to freshen your dog’s breath.
However, it’s essential to use mints safely and in moderation.
Talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about feeding your dog mints.
A veterinarian will help you determine if mints are suitable for your pet and offer other suggestions for freshening their breath.