Peppermint Oil Has Many Benefits for Our Well-Being, but Is It Safe for Dogs?

Peppermint oil is thought to be a natural remedy to keep common household pests away — but it can be severely toxic to your puppy pal.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Feb. 26 2024, Updated 2:46 p.m. ET

Peppermint oil is contained within an amber bottle beside mint leave.
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Peppermint oil is a popular and versatile essential oil that supports humans’ well-being, but is it safe for dogs? It’s potentially a dangerous assumption that if something is beneficial for humans, it’s likewise safe for dogs.

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However, as more awareness is spread about the potentially harmful impact of diffused essential oils on some animals, it's important to determine if the concentrated extract of the peppermint plant is safe for dogs and, if so, in what quantity.

So before you fire up the diffuser and find your favorite eco-friendly essential oils to freshen up the home, let's dive in and get the dirt on whether peppermint oil is safe for dogs.

A dark bottle with a cork top is placed beside many mint leaves.
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So, is peppermint oil safe for dogs?

As pet parents, we want to explore every option to make sure our homes are safe for furry friends. According to a Chewy blog post, peppermint oil can be toxic for dogs.

From drooling and vomiting to diarrhea, seizures, and liver failure, Chewy advises that peppermint in its essential oil form is too concentrated for dogs to safely consume.

Likewise, diffusing the essential oil into the air can cause severe respiratory issues for your puppy pal. This may cause double trouble for your dog if the essential oil mist lands on your dog's fur, where they may seek to groom and lick it off, further causing GI issues.

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Almost counterintuitively, while some forms of peppermint may wreak havoc on your dog's tummy, other forms of peppermint may help to settle a dog's upset stomach. According to The Dodo, check with your vet before adding fresh or dry peppermint leaves to your dog's food to relieve stomachache.

Per The Dodo, dry leaves are even more potent than fresh, so it's necessary to consult with a professional to determine a safe amount.

A smiling woman holds her white dog on the couch of her home.
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Does peppermint relax dogs?

Peppermint oil is a powerful and versatile addition to a human's overall wellness regime, and one of its many benefits is its ability to promote stress reduction and improve mental function, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

However, based on how harmful peppermint oil is to dogs, it's safe to say it wouldn't relax them, so it's best to stick to human use only.

What essential oils are safe to use around dogs?

Although peppermint oil is toxic to dogs and should be avoided, you may still wonder if other essential oils can benefit your companion animal's well-being.

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), some holistic veterinarians use essential oils. While there doesn't seem to be a consensus list of the safest essential oils for dogs, according to one research study in the National Center for Biotechnology Information, lavender is a favorite among dogs.

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A young veterinarian smiles at a dog who is smiling back at her.
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Because essential oils are highly concentrated, topical application to a dog's skin may be unsafe and can exacerbate a dog's preexisting skin condition, per the AKC.

Per Forbes, diluting essential oils can make them safer for your dog, especially with their powerful sense of smell. Placing diluted lavender essential oil near your dog's bed (or favorite spot to snooze) may help them relax and ease their anxiety.

According to the AKC, the safest and most responsible course of action to incorporate essential oils into a dog's routine is to consult a veterinarian first.

An experienced vet can help pet parents adjust the potency and identify which essential oils to use within a dog's wellness and relaxation regimen.

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