Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Dogs: Benefits, Uses, & Possible Side Effects

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Peppermint oil is popular among people, including dog owners. However, is peppermint oil actually safe for dogs? To find out the answer, you’ll want to learn about the potential benefits of the oil, the potential side effects and safety tips for using it on your dog. By the end of this article, you’ll have the answer to your question.

Peppermint Oil Benefits for Dogs

a weimaraner puppy

The main benefit of peppermint oil for dogs is it is highly effective at killing fleas and preventing flea infestations, which can leave your dog agitated due to constant scratching [1]. All you have to do is dab a tiny amount of peppermint oil to the back of your dog’s neck and this should be enough to kill off any fleas that your dog has.

If your dog has many fleas or if this has been an ongoing issue, then use peppermint oil 3-4 times per week on your dog and then lower the dosage when the problem improves.

Second benefit is peppermint oil does a good job at reducing stress and anxiety in dogs. Many dogs get anxious when their owners leave or when they travel with their owners on trips. If your dog gets anxious or stressed out due to traveling, then give them a dose of peppermint oil a few hours prior to leaving.

Doing this may reduce their anxiety and stress, but do feel free to give your dog peppermint oil if they are generally stressed out.

Another benefit is peppermint oil may improve the look of your dog’s fur, but more research is needed into this potential benefit. If you want to potentially improve your dog’s fur, then consider using peppermint oil. Just remember you do not want to use large amounts of oil. Simple dab a tiny amount on your dog and then you can use a dog comb to spread it out.

Those are only a handful of the potential benefits, but do the benefits outweigh the potential risks? Before you use peppermint oil on your dog, you’ll want to know what the risks are.

In the next section we’ll discuss a few of the potential side effects that your dog could experience when exposed to peppermint oil.

Possible Side Effects

a sad bulldog

The First potential side effect is irritation of the skin.

If your dog has sensitive skin and you apply it to their skin, then there is a chances irritation will occur. This can result in a rash, itchiness, redness and so forth. If irritation happens, then you should stop applying peppermint oil to their skin.

The second potential side effect is sensitivity to the smell of the oil.

Peppermint is a potent smell and some dogs cannot handle smelling it, which can lead to a few minor side effects. This can include sneezing constantly or slight difficulties breathing through the nose.

Another side effect is vomiting, if the dog licks up the oil that has been applied to them. Most people apply peppermint oil directly to the dog’s skin, but sometimes the dog can consume it. If your dog consumes peppermint oil, then they could end up vomiting or experiencing a stomach ache.

Not all dogs will experience vomiting after ingesting peppermint oil, but some dogs could.

Finally, your dog may become lethargic after ingesting peppermint oil. Bear in mind this is a rare side effect, so the chances are very slim that your dog will become extremely tired. Pay close attention to your dog’s energy levels when giving them peppermint oil.

Keep in mind that the above side effects are only potential side effects. There are other unwanted side effects that may occur in your dog as a result of using peppermint oil, but the above are more of the common ones [2].

Safety Tips

essential oils

First, use in moderation. Peppermint oil is potent and you don’t need much of it for it to be effective. Generally speaking, using a small amount on your dog 1-2 times per week should be enough, if your goal is to get rid of or prevent fleas. You could even get away with using the oil three times per week.

Also, the quality matters. Many brands produce and sell peppermint oil, but they are not all created equal. Choose peppermint oil that is pure and of high quality. Cheaper oils may contain additional or watered down ingredients that may pose a bigger safety risk to your dog.

Finally, ask your vet for advice. They should be able to provide useful advice on how to choose the right peppermint oil for your dog. They may even give additional tips.

Furthermore, keep an eye out for rashes. If your dog breaks out in any kind of rash shortly after being exposed to peppermint oil, then this isn’t as good sign. You should discontinue using it if you notice any visible side effects.

Bottom Line: Is it  Safe?

Many veterinarians and pet experts warn people against using peppermint oil on their dogs, but they don’t usually come right out and say it’s unsafe. In fact, most vets provide their customers with safety suggestions and if you follow those suggestions, then your dog should be alright [2].

Furthermore, there isn’t a whole lot of research out there that shows essential oils are 100% safe for dogs, but the research that is out there is promising [3].

The truth is nothing is 100% safe when it comes to what you can give to your dog. This includes medications, over-the-counter treatments and essential oils like peppermint oil. As long as you keep the previously discussed safety tips in mind, you should be fine. Just use in moderation and consider asking your veterinarian about using peppermint oil on your dog.

Those are the benefits of using peppermint oil on dogs. You also know about the potential side effects, as well as tips you can keep in mind when using peppermint oil for your dog. The bottom line is that as of now it appears that peppermint oil is completely safe to use on dogs. Just remember, always choose a high quality oil if you plan on using it on your dog.

Resources

  1. Ultimate Pet Nutrition Team, Essential Oils for Dogs – Harmful or Helpful? Retrieved at https://ultimatepetnutrition.com/essential-oils-dogs/
  2. Anna Burke, Are Essential Oils Safe for Dogs?, American Kennel Club. Retrieved at https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/are-essential-oils-safe-for-dogs/
  3. Olivia Williams, Is Peppermint Oil Safe for Dogs? My Pet Needs That. Retrieved at https://www.mypetneedsthat.com/peppermint-oil-for-dogs/

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