Is Peppermint Oil Bad For Dogs? Guide To Essential Oils

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Oct 24, 2023 By Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason
Originally Published on Nov 10, 2021
Peppermint essential oil in a small bottle

Peppermint oil works great for humans but if you’re a dog owner then you might have noticed that a number of dog products also contain a little bit of peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil is made from the leaves of the peppermint plant which is a hybrid between the spearmint and watermint plant which gives it a soothing taste and smell. The main ingredients of natural peppermint essential oil are menthol and menthone which provide a unique, cooling flavor.

Many dog owners swear by this amazing oil as anecdotal evidence suggests that it helps soothe dogs and gives relief from various different health problems such as fleas, while others suggest that peppermint oil can be harmful to the health of our pets.

Essential oils are toxic to dogs and in an increased dose can not just be harmful but can even be fatal, so why do people keep using natural peppermint essential oil on their dogs? Read further to find out.

Keep in mind that before introducing your pet to anything new which can potentially have side effects on their health, you must consult your veterinarian first.

Further in the article, we will discover the various benefits peppermint oil can have for dogs if used in the right amount, as well as the severe and even fatal side effects of an overdose, and what to do in a situation of essential oils poisoning.

You will also be able to answer the question 'are essential oils safe for dogs? '

After reading, why not check out our answers to is quinoa bad for dogs and can dogs eat carrots?

Benefits Of Using Peppermint Oil For Dogs

Is peppermint essential oil safe for dogs? Well, when it comes to the benefits of peppermint oil, there is no one clear answer as to whether it is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans or if it is potentially dangerous to their health due to lack of research.

There has been an ongoing debate on this topic between dog owners for a very long time now without any research-based facts.

You should use peppermint oil as a form of aromatherapy for your dog by adding a few drops of the oil into a diffuser or by giving it to them orally only after seeking a vet’s advice. We can tell you the potential benefits that some dog owners claim peppermint has.

Use essential oils to soothe allergies: If your pet suffers from some allergies, using a little bit of peppermint oil can help soothe your pet and improve their condition. You can either mix a drop of peppermint oil into honey and give it to them orally or add a couple of drops to a diffuser.

Another great way of getting the complete benefits of peppermint oil is by using it in an air humidifier.

Works as a great antiseptic: Peppermint oil has amazing healing antiseptic properties and can help heal cuts and wounds faster for both humans and dogs but you should make sure to seek a proper consultation with your dog’s veterinarian for advice before putting peppermint essential oil directly into a fresh wound or an open cut as it can easily get into the bloodstream and if not used in the right amount can intoxicate your dog.

Use essential oils to help relieve muscle pain: Peppermint essential oil, when applied topically, can help relieve muscle pain in dogs and help soothe their pain. This essential oil has fantastic calming properties which can really help your dog when in distress.

Helps in better digestion: If your dog has an upset stomach or has been dealing with a lot of indigestion lately, a couple of drops of this magical essential oil can really help in aiding digestion. Just add a few drops of the essential oil to a tablespoon of honey or some vegetable oil.

Risks Of Using Peppermint Oil

As we mentioned above, there is an ongoing debate about the benefits and the possible risk factors of using peppermint oil on your dog. You must never leave a house air diffuser unattended or an opened bottle lying around the house.

Now that we have learned about the potential benefits this oil can offer, let’s take a look at the risks involved and the serious reactions it can cause which will help you make up your mind about what you want to do and how to use it

Essential oils get absorbed very quickly into your dog’s system after it is either consumed or applied topically. Essential oils are metabolized by the liver, and, therefore, if not used in an adequate amount, can harm the liver and in extreme cases, can even lead to liver failure. Dogs that have already existing liver diseases are at higher risk.

Essential oils are super concentrated in nature and, therefore, they can be very irritating when applied directly onto the skin for both humans and dogs. In extreme cases peppermint essential oils can also cause rashes or chemical burns on your dog’s delicate skin.

Peppermint essential oil can induce breathing or respiratory problems in your puppy. This is because, as we all know, dogs have a heightened sense of smell, which means that the strong smell of peppermint is even stronger for them which can be the cause of respiratory troubles in dogs.

The most severe risk of consuming peppermint oil for a dog is intoxication. Although the exact amount which can be fatal for dogs is not known yet, an excessive dosage can cause poisoning.

It would be wise to only feed your dog a couple of drops when mixed with an appropriate carrier fluid and if your dog ends up licking the oil and consuming it, then you must take it to the veterinarian or call poison control as soon as possible.

Essential Oil Poisoning In Dogs

We’ve already established that essential oils could be toxic to dogs and if consumed in large amounts, can be toxic. This is because as soon as essential oils are consumed by cats or dogs, they rapidly start to absorb them into the bloodstream and they get metabolized by the animal’s liver. Hence, these oils are not safe for dogs.

Since these oils are so concentrated, they have a higher amount of extracts that can be tolerated by the body. This sudden burden on the liver to metabolize complex chemicals can lead to liver failure due to poisoning.

There are a lot of ways your dog can come in contact with large amounts of essential oil, this can be due to a diffuser spill which can lead to your dog licking off the essential oil off the floor or the presence of liquid potpourri.

The oils used in liquid potpourri generally consist of toxic essential oils.

If your dog comes in contact with a large quantity of toxic essential oil then you must contact your nearest veterinarian and call on your area’s pet poison control to help your dog. Quick and vigorous treatments are required to treat the dog.

There are some things that you should avoid doing when your animal gets poisoned by essential oils. Stay calm and do not make any spontaneous decisions that might harm your pet. Do not try to make your dog vomit forcibly.

Do not give your dog charcoal tablets in order to induce vomiting to take care of the poison, doing so can make your dog’s situation worse.

If any amount of oil is still left on your dog’s fur, wash it as quickly as possible with the help of dish soap or shampoo in order to avoid a skin rash or chemical burn.

Store the leftover oil or liquid potpourri and take the bottle which is the source of poisoning and show it to the vet. It can help the vet understand the situation a little better and make diagnosis easier.

Do not try to treat the poisoning at home by yourself, seek immediate medical attention from a DVM for proper treatments.

Symptoms Of Essential Oil Poisoning

When your pet comes in contact with liquid potpourri or essential oils that are dangerous to them, there are some symptoms that might suggest that something is wrong with your pet and these must not be ignored as they could be a sign of oil poisoning.

Some of the symptoms and serious reactions that you must look out for are as follows:

The strong smell of essential oils on the fur coat and paws of the animal can be an indication that they have had a recent encounter with essential oil. The stronger the smell, the higher the quantity they may have ingested.

Constant sneezing, a bloody nose or heavy, troubled breathing can be signs of direct inhalation of essential oil.

Constant vomiting (in such a case, you must check the vomit for the smell of essential oils), lethargy and dizziness, and even your dog passing out can all indicate ingestion of essential oil.

Excessive drooling, pawing at face and mouth, and sores and bleeding on the gums and skin of the lips can also be signs of irritation caused by ingestion of large amounts of essential oils.

In addition, rashes on the skin, tremors, and difficulty in walking can be an indication of essential oils poisoning.

Using Other Essential Oils

Some essential oils can be great products to add to your pet care regimen. It is very important to understand that the word natural does not correspond to safety therefore it is not guaranteed that all-natural essential oils are safe for dogs.

There are some oils, however, which if used in the right amount under supervision, can be really beneficial. Some of these are as follows:

Cedarwood oil: Cedarwood oil is great for various remedies for outdoor dogs that have a higher chance of being exposed to insects and pests. Cedarwood oil is safe and helps in repelling unwanted insects.

Chamomile oil: Chamomile and lavender oil are safe for both cats and dogs and are great natural remedies as they can help soothe headaches and sleeplessness. It can be a great option for animals that have been in distress lately.

Citrus oils: Citrus essential oils are safe for both cats and dogs and are quite effective in keeping blood-sucking mosquitoes at bay. Citrus essential oils also work well as natural deodorants and keep your pet smelling delightful all day.

Oils that can be potentially fatal to dogs and cats if consumed include ylang-ylang oil, tea tree oil, sweet birch oil, peppermint pine essential oil, and cinnamon oil.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for is peppermint oil bad for dogs then why not take a look at is Pedialyte good for dogs, or English Bulldog facts.

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Written by Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason

Bachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

Adekunle Olanrewaju Jason picture

Adekunle Olanrewaju JasonBachelor of Science specializing in Mass Communication.

With over 3+ years of professional experience, Olanrewaju is a certified SEO Specialist and Content Writer. He holds a BSc in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos. Throughout his dynamic career, Olanrewaju has successfully taken on various roles with startups and established organizations. He has served as a Technical Writer, Blogger, SEO Specialist, Social Media Manager, and Digital Marketing Manager. Known for his hardworking nature and insightful approach, Olanrewaju is dedicated to continuous learning and improvement.
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