Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Dogs? Usage, Safety & Benefits
First described in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus in England, peppermint is a hybrid species of mint which is a cross between water mint and spearmint. Mentha, the genus of the plant, includes more than 25 species. Peppermint however, is the most commonly used one. Morocco holds the title of producing the most peppermint in the world making a whopping majority of 83% of total world production, followed by Argentine at 14%.
What is Peppermint Oil?
The leaves of these peppermint plants are processed to form an essential oil in the form of peppermint oil. It is majorly used to produce flavorings in ice cream, candy, fruit preserves, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, toothpaste, and some shampoos, soaps, and skincare products. Menthol and menthone form the biggest constituents of peppermint oil. Fresh or dried peppermint leaves are often used alone in peppermint tea.
Benefits of Peppermint Oil
Peppermint has been used for health purposes for several thousand years. It finds various applications including –
IBS symptoms – Peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms in adults. It also cures abdominal pain and relieves indigestion in most cases.
Headaches – Topical use of peppermint oil can be beneficial for tension and migraine headaches because of its cooling property
Mouth-wash – We all know the benefits of mouthwash. Now imagine the same without any chemicals. That’s Peppermint for you plus the natural cooling effect.
Breast-feeding – Gel, water, or cream form of the oil applied to the nipple area of breastfeeding women can help reduce pain and dry skin.
Nausea – Post-operative nausea can be reduced by inhaling peppermint oil.
Skin and hair improvements – It is often used in cosmetic products because of its benefits when applied to skin and hair. It has been seen to cure chronic itching problems and improves skin blood flow
Bacteria and yeast fighter – Peppermint oil is anti-microbial in nature. It fights various types of bacteria and fungi.
We might feel that if Peppermint oil can provide such benefits to humans, why not use them on dogs to help them extract the same benefits? But before doing that, we must answer questions like, is Peppermint oil safe for dogs? If yes, how to apply, and how much?
The answer is No. It is not quite safe for dogs.
Is Peppermint Oil safe for your dog?
Marketers might promote peppermint oil for dogs to keep fleas away. But as a responsible pet parent, you should know that peppermint is toxic for dogs. It should not be ingested in any form, nor should it be applied topically on dogs. Peppermint oil poisoning can be life-threatening, especially if your dog consumes a large quantity.
Why is Peppermint Oil bad for Dogs?
First of all, peppermint oil is a concentrated oil that has a very strong smell. This is why it is effective at deterring insects, including mosquitoes, flies, and fleas. But the strong smell doesn’t help dogs as they already have a very strong scent ability. This oil can be too overwhelming for them and can lead to respiratory issues, making it difficult for them to breathe.
Secondly, it is natural for dogs to lick off any new substance to understand its nature of it. So, when an overwhelming peppermint oil is applied to dogs, there is a high chance they will try to lick it off to reduce the discomfort caused by it. And the following ingestion of this oil can get them sick quickly.
Signs and Symptoms of discomfort due to Peppermint Oil on Dogs
The following are the symptoms of exposure to peppermint oil to dogs –
Difficulty breathing or wheezing
Redness around the face
If you are unaware of the consumption of peppermint oil by your dog, it will most probably be seen in the form of a vomit smell as it will have a minty smell. Some of these might look minor like weakness or low body temperature but there are some severe neurological problems associated with the use of peppermint oil.
So, if your dog is vomiting, showing unusual weakness, sleeping more often, foaming at the mouth, or panting heavily, you should see a vet immediately.
What to do if your Dog has ingested Peppermint Oil
First of all, immediate action should be running to the nearest vet as soon as possible. The vet-recommended treatment will be decided based on the level of severity. Your vet will find a way to remove the toxins from their body and determine if your dog’s liver or kidneys have been impacted. Treatment will most likely consist of IV fluids to keep your dog hydrated and help his/her body remove the toxins. A feeding tube may be required.
You may think that making the dog vomit would remove the toxins if ingested but it won’t work and will probably lead to more problems. The neurological effects of the terpenes, as well as the thick quality of the oil, increase the risk of aspiration pneumonia if vomiting is induced. Skin decontamination and support therapy with intravenous fluids is the standard treatment. Despite the treatments, peppermint oil poisoning can be fatal if ingested in heavy quantities.
The stores might promote peppermint oils for various purposes for dogs making you think of it as equally beneficial to them as us humans, but do not risk anything. A small mistake can lead to major consequences including death. There are some essential oils that are suitable for pets when used in moderate quantities. Do consult your vet before experimenting with anything. Just having good intentions for your dog and ending up feeding essential oils is not a good enough reason for doing that to your loved ones.
You should also be careful when you have used peppermint oil in any form on yourself, as the strong smell can attract their strong noses and complications may arise.
Happy Mood and Health to your Doggo and lots of Love and Licks to you!
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