Mint is a fresh, green, and distinctly flavored herb know for its breath-freshening properties. Mint is easy to grow and readily available in supermarkets across the globe. Mint is generally included in breath-freshening products like toothpaste, mouth washed, gums, and mint candies! However, what many people may fail to realize is that mint has a heap of healthy, nutritional benefits for both humans and dogs.
Although some kinds of mint are toxic to dogs, varieties are available that are completely safe for your furry friend. In fact, many dog mouth fresheners and treats on the market include healthy mint varieties as well.
Signs of a Dog Liking Mint
If you decide to include mint in your dog's diet wither for breath freshening, for its health benefits, or both, you will be able to tell very quickly if they enjoy this minty or if they are not a fan. Not all dogs are going to like the taste of mint, so your dog's reaction will either be a hit or miss.
If you give your dog a piece of fresh mint leaf and they eat the herb without any hesitation and swallow the mint leaf, it is likely your dog likes the taste of mint and will eat more. They may also show they like the mint leaf by pawing at your leg, begging, drooling, licking their lips, jumping up at you or the food, barking, whining, crying, or even howling. Other dogs might pace around in front of you, spin in circles with excitement, and stare at your with very intent and very alert eyes...you know the look, like they are staring into your soul.
If your dog does not like the taste of the fresh mint leaf they may take the mint leaf from you, attempt to chew it, and then spit it back out in disgust. Perhaps your dog will try to eat it again, but they also may show no further interest in it. Some dogs will try to play with the food or will paw at it to show they don't see it as food, but rather as something to play with.
History of Dogs and Mint
Mint has been around for a very long time. In fact, some mint varieties have been around since 1000 BC. We have seen references to mint leaves in the Bible and throughout ancient times. Mint originated in Asia and the Mediterranean. In Ancient Athens, they used mint as a perfume and would rub it over the skin and body to scent the skin. It was most commonly used on the arms.
During the 14th century, mint leaves were used in forms of toothpaste and also used to help whiten teeth. Of course, mint was used to flavor foods and special dishes, but it was also used in many different medicines and tonics to heal a variety of ailments.
Mint was commonly used to help treat people suffering from stomach and chest pains. Mint would help soothe the stomach and reduce the feelings of nausea and upset tummies. It was also used to treat the common cold, reduce painful heartburn, and combat indigestion. Furthermore, mint was often used on the skin for treating burns and wounds because it provided a cooling sensation and would help prevent the burn or wound from getting infected due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Whether or not mint was fed to dogs to freshen their breath or treat any stomach issues or wounds is unknown. However, it is definitely possible that dogs were treated with mint when they had an upset yummy or experienced diarrhea or vomiting.
Science Behind Dogs and Mint
Since most varieties of mint are safe for dogs to consume, mint has a ton of health benefits as well. Mint contains high levels of vitamins A and C and mint contains all of the following minerals: calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc.
Mint is also a very powerful antioxidant to help remove free radicals in the body. It is also antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal, which means it may treat colds, viruses, infections, wounds, burns, and so much more. Mint is known for its soothing and cooling effect, which makes it particularly good for settling an upset stomach and relieving pain. If your dog suffers from inflammatory bowel disease, this can help reduce most of the uncomfortable symptoms as well.
Giving Your Dog Mint
Although mint is great for your dog, there are safe and non-toxic varieties of mint and then some species of mint are, indeed, toxic to dogs. Species of mint that are safe for dogs to consume are spearmint, peppermint, and wild mint. English pennyroyal is a type of mint that is toxic to dogs and should never be given to animals.
As with all other foods, herbs, and drinks, mint should never be feed to your dog in very large quantities and you must exercise portion control with how much mint you give your dog. Too much mint can upset their stomach, give them diarrhea, and even lead to mint poisoning. Making sure your dog does not have access to a massive amount of mint will prevent any potential issues.
A great way to add mint to your dog's diet is to make them some minty breath-freshening and stomach soothing treats at home! These are perfect for freshening your dog's breath, but also the perfect option for when Fido is having some tummy troubles.
All you need is organic virgin coconut oil, organic peppermint or spearmint leaves (fresh is the best), and some optional add-ins like blueberries, apples, or other fruits and veggies.
Take an ice cube tray or your favorite silicone mold and fill it with melted coconut oil. Chop up a bunch of mint leaves finely and sprinkle the mint leaves on the coconut oil. Take a toothpick or small spoon to mix in the mint to the coconut oil. At this point, you can also add any additional ingredients your pup loves as well. Place the molds or ice cube tray into the freezer and let the coconut oil harden up. When your dog needs a breath freshener or is having an upset stomach, give them this cold and minty dog treat to chew on. They will love it!
By a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Published: 05/26/2018, edited: 04/06/2020