For humans, peppermint, and spearmint are refreshing for the breath and can help alleviate indigestion. It also tastes wonderful in a lot of beverages and sweet treats. Dogs often enjoy the taste of mint as well and it can be found in many mass-produced dog treats created to aid in cleaning their teeth and freshening their breath. Mint can easily be grown in your yard and is an ingredient in a lot of homemade dogs treat recipes found on the Internet. While your dog may love mint, it is important to not allow him to eat too many mint leaves from your yard or to give him mints created for human consumption. While most mint is not toxic to dogs, English Pennyroyal is and should always be avoided.
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The Root of the Behavior
Dogs are not typically adventurous eaters. Unlike humans, they do not enjoy variety or spice in their food on a regular basis. Their digestive systems are also different from yours, so what you find helpful is not always the case for your pet. Dogs enjoy eating mint, but not for the same reasons as you. Dogs like to crunch on the leaves, just as they may crunch on grass. It is not necessarily the taste they are seeking, but the digestive benefits that eating greens can provide. It is not even proven that mint helps dogs’ digestive systems the same as yours; the fact that he is munching on mint may just be a coincidence. If you are growing mint in your garden and find your pooch spending most of his time munching in that area, he is most likely a mint lover. If he spends his time munching equally amongst your garden, he is just into sampling his surroundings.
There are several products on the commercial market that are green, have a mint scent and light flavor, and are targeted for dogs’ teeth cleaning and bad breath. Most dogs seem to enjoy these chew treats, and owners report a difference in their pup’s breath and clean canines. The Internet is full of recipes for dog treats that call for mint in the recipe. However, most recipes call for a minimal amount, as it can be strong and too powerful for your furry friend. Mint can inhibit bacterial growth in his mouth and it is a natural flea repellent. The tasty treats containing mint are a great way to appease his palate, clean his mouth, and protect him from parasites all at the same time. Mint can also come in the form of an essential oil. A lot of people use essential oils for healing as well as for flavor in baking. While some essential oils are approved for dogs, mint oil can be toxic. It is not recommended for use topically or in baking when it comes to dogs. It is best to stick to the commercial products and recipes created for dogs, not for humans.
Encouraging the Behavior
Most forms of mint are harmless to your pet. It is still a good idea to limit his consumption as too much can cause gastric distress. One breed of mint, known as the English Pennyroyal (mentha pulegium) contains pelugeone, which is a chemical known to be toxic to both dogs and people. It is not recommended to eat or even grow. If you have mint and did not plant it, take it to any garden supply store to determine what species it is to ensure you are not putting your pet in danger. Signs of mint poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, and weakness. If your dog is pregnant, consuming English Pennyroyal could lead to miscarriage. It is recommended that you get your pup to the vet immediately if you suspect he has ingested English Pennyroyal. He will need medical attention and will possibly have to have vomiting induced to rid his body of the toxin. Perilla mint, less common but used in Asian cooking, is also considered toxic to dogs and should be avoided as well. Dogs often want what you are eating, even if they have not had a taste of it before. If you are eating a breath mint, candy, or minty beverage, he may be very interested and persistent in getting to sample your treat. He will undoubtedly enjoy it should you share, but experts warn strongly against this practice. Most mint products on the market for humans are sweetened with either sugar or Xylitol. Sugar is not good for dogs, and too much Xylitol could lead to kidney problems and diabetes. Consuming Xylitol over a prolonged time period could also lead to death.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you are tempted to give your dog mint to cure his bad breath, take a moment to investigate the source of his stinky muzzle. Are you brushing his teeth on a regular basis? If he has cavities or gingivitis, it is most likely the source of his bad breath. There are a plethora of products on the market, from special brushes to even dog toothpaste, to help in maintaining his oral hygiene. A trainer can show you how to brush his teeth and proper ways to reward him for complying. He could also have an infection in his mouth or a digestive disorder. Providing mint will only temporarily mask his problem. Often it is simply a matter of food stuck in his teeth. If you are brushing his teeth regularly, and he still has bad breath, it is recommended to see a veterinarian.
Mint is natural, refreshing and can soothe your tummy. Dogs may enjoy the flavor, but consumption should be limited to products specifically designed for dogs or made at home. Mint treats contain sweeteners that are not good for your dog. Some forms of mint can be toxic, and too much fresh mint can cause digestive problems for your pet. Essential oils are too strong for your pet and also should be avoided.