After hearing stories about how people with bad breath get bullied, you may have stockpiled mint polos in your favorite flavor (spearmint)! “I won’t be accused of bad breath now,” you may think confidently.

Meanwhile, your dog’s breath has been pretty stinky. Thus, you may wonder if you can feed him mint leaves from your garden, mint polos, or a pint of mint ice cream.

However, as he is your precious baby, you’d never want to risk his health just to freshen his breath! Therefore, you may ask, “Is a mint plant toxic to dogs? Is spearmint poisonous to dogs? Can dogs eat fresh spearmint? Can dogs eat fresh peppermint?” Read on to find out!

Can dogs eat fresh spearmint?

Small amounts of fresh spearmint leaves are safe. Dried spearmint leaves are also safe, but they should be fed in smaller amounts as they are more concentrated than fresh spearmint leaves. The appropriate amount depends on several factors (e.g. weight, diet history). Consult your vet on the amount of fresh and dried spearmint leaves to feed your dog!

Is spearmint poisonous to dogs?

Spearmint comes in many forms (e.g. mint leaves, mint candy, mint sauce). Some forms of spearmint like fresh & dried spearmint leaves are safe and nutritious for dogs in the appropriate amounts! Some dog food companies even include spearmint in their recipes because of the health benefits of the nutrients in spearmint. However, some forms of spearmint like mint candy are poisonous to dogs.

Is mint plant toxic to dogs?

There are over 100 varieties of mint (e.g. spearmint, pennyroyal) and one variety that is toxic to dogs is pennyroyal. It contains pulegone, which causes liver damage. Symptoms of pennyroyal poisoning include vomiting, weakness, and seizures. Please contact an emergency vet asap if you believe your dog has eaten pennyroyal. Timely veterinary treatments are lifesavers! Also, if you can’t identify the mint plants in your garden, it’s best to be safe and throw them away!

dog sniffing spearmint

Spearmint is safe for dogs, in the right forms, and appropriate amounts!


Is spearmint good for dogs?

Spearmint may offer several benefits. Spearmint is rich in:

-Vitamin A (for vision and immunity)

– Antioxidants (which potentially help with chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease)

-Vitamin C (for skin health)

-Manganese (metabolize protein and carbohydrates)

-Potassium (healthy nervous system)

Additionally, research suggests that spearmint can aid digestion and lower blood pressure. However, as these studies have been done in humans and there is limited research on how spearmint benefits dogs, we do not know whether dogs will benefit to the same extent as humans.  Nevertheless, spearmint can help your dog by freshening his breath! However, dental issues frequently cause bad breath in dogs. Spearmint will not treat these issues. Untreated dental issues can be painful and serious. Therefore, please contact a vet to diagnose and treat the root cause of your dog’s bad breath!

When is spearmint poisonous to dogs?

Some forms of spearmint are poisonous to dogs, and should not be fed at all! Read on to find out more!

Mint Candy

Candy for humans (e.g. polos) is poisonous to dogs. Candy contains xylitol, which is a sugar substitute. Xylitol can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels, liver failure, seizures, or death. Furthermore, as candy wrappers cannot be digested, it can cause a life-threatening gut blockage. If you believe that your dog has swallowed candy (e.g. mint candy), please contact an emergency vet asap – even if your dog has no symptoms! Vets can be lifesavers in this aspect.

Mint Sauce

Mint sauce (e.g. spearmint sauce) is poisonous to dogs! Mint sauce usually contains high amounts of vinegar and sugar. Vinegar can cause stomach upsets in dogs. The sugar content in mint sauce may put your dog at risk of diabetes. Furthermore, commercial mint sauce frequently contains grape-based additives. Grapes can cause kidney failure in dogs. Therefore, please avoid feeding mint sauce to dogs!

Mint Ice Cream

Mint ice cream is toxic to dogs! It usually contains chocolate, which is poisonous to dogs. Mint ice cream also contains mint oil, which is bad for dogs. Additionally, ice cream is high in sugar!

Can dogs eat fresh peppermint?

If you prefer peppermint to spearmint, you may wonder, “What about peppermint?!” The principles are similar. Fresh and dried peppermint leaves are safe. Just discuss the amount with your vet beforehand! It’s also okay to feed a commercial dog food that includes peppermint in their recipes. Avoid foods like mint candy, mint oil, mint sauce, and mint ice cream!

Dog eating a dog treat that looks like peppermint

Candy for humans (e.g. polos) is poisonous to dogs. Candy contains xylitol, which is a sugar substitute.


In conclusion, certain spearmint preparations are safe such as fresh spearmint leaves and fresh peppermint.  Safe spearmint preparations can flavor your dog’s diet and freshen his breath. Avoid foods like mint candy, mint oil, mint sauce, and mint ice cream!