Can Dogs Eat Peppermint?

When you're feeling holly and jolly, you may be tempted to sneak your dog a taste of something festive, but that doesn't necessarily mean you should. Take peppermint bark, for instance: great snack, great name, but unfortunately, not everything that says "bark" is dog-friendly!

dog licking lips
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So this holiday season, when you are enjoying candy canes by the roaring fire, and Fido looks up at you with those loving eyes, you may ask yourself: can dogs eat peppermint?

Where does peppermint come from?

According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, peppermint is a very aromatic hybrid herb of spearmint and watermint that stems (pun intended) from the mint family. While peppermint essential oils tend to be used for healing and medicinal purposes, peppermint leaves are used as a culinary herb, while peppermint flowers are used to flavor candies and desserts. This flavoring tends to be very popular around the holidays: you can find peppermint in red and white stripped candy canes, lattes, and chocolate bark during the winter months.

Can dogs eat peppermint?

No, dogs cannot eat peppermint. According to ASPCA, mint is toxic to dogs (as well as cats and horses), and can cause vomiting and diarrhea when ingested in large amounts. Do not give peppermint to your dog.

Male hand holding christmas candy cane
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Are peppermint candy canes bad for dogs?

Yes, peppermint candy canes are bad for dogs. Not only is peppermint itself harmful to your furry friend, but the high sugar content of the candy canes themselves will lead to gastrointestinal upset for your pet. Further, if the candy canes contain xylitol, a natural sweetener, in the ingredients, then they can also be extremely dangerous, as xylitol is toxic to dogs. Better to just keep the festive candies far, far away from your pupper.

What are the concerns with feeding peppermint to dogs?

As much as you may want to give your pooch a little taste of some holiday cheer, you should not give any peppermint or peppermint candy to your dog.

Xylitol

Although it may be tempting to include your doggo in the indulgence of holiday treats, it is important to be aware that many sweet delights, including peppermint candy, could contain high levels of xylitol, a natural sweetener which can be extremely toxic to dogs. Xylitol can also contribute to the development of health issues in canines like liver problems and hypoglycemia. Be sure to check the ingredients of anything you may eat around your canine. You could be unknowingly consuming something that is very poisonous to your pet.

High sugar content

According to ASPCA, giving your dog any foods or candies with high sugar content can cause tummy trouble, vomiting, los of appetite, diarrhea, or pancreatitis. The high sugar content of peppermint candies is not good for your dog, especially those with underlying health conditions like diabetes or weight problems. Even if your dog does not have a health condition, avoid giving him treats that are high in sugar and calories. These can contribute to obesity and insulin resistance which is not good for him in the long run.

Plastic wrappers

Any festive peppermint candies that could be wrapped in plastic pose a danger to your dog. Plastic wrappers can get stuck in the digestive track which is very dangerous, and can be life threatening to your pet. Keep any candies, and especially those wrapped in plastic wrappers, far away from your doggo!

Peppermint Candy
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Signs of xylitol poisoning in dogs

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, these symptoms of xylitol poisoning usually develop within 15-30 minutes of consumption. If your dog displays any of these signs or symptoms of hypoglycemia after ingesting xylitol, you should contact your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (800-213-6680) immediately.

  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Difficulty walking or standing
  • Depression or lethargy
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Conclusion

Peppermint is not safe for canines, and you should not be giving it to your pet during the holiday season. If you would like to give your pet a holiday treat, opt for a dog-friendly, homemade dog biscuit, or check our list of everything that your dog can and cannot eat.