Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Dogs?

When it comes to household essentials and remedies, there’s a delicate line between what’s beneficial for humans and what might pose a serious threat to our beloved pets. While we often embrace products and practices that enhance our well-being, the same cannot always be said for our furry companions. It’s a reality that some items deemed harmless or even beneficial to us can provoke adverse reactions or pose health hazards to our pets; case in point the peppermint essential oil. But is it really harmful?

The seemingly benign peppermint oil is a staple in many homes (of late) for its myriad human benefits. The enticing pale yellow-colored oil is renowned for its refreshing scent, therapeutic properties, and versatile applications. But, is this pleasant aroma that allure us, humans, detrimental to the pets, especially when it comes to our canine friends?

Exploring the divide between human safety and pet risk also throws light on the complexities of cohabiting with animals. It is imperative to understand the importance of understanding what’s safe and what isn’t when it comes to our furry family members. Here we will look at the pertinent question – is peppermint oil safe for dogs?

What Is Peppermint Essential Oil?

Distilled from the leaves of the peppermint plant, Mentha piperita, this vibrant oil is known for its versatile nature. Its invigorating menthol aroma is more than just pleasant; it’s the reason that gives the oil its powerful properties. Peppermint essential oil boasts of antiseptic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory qualities, which makes it a versatile tool for your well-being.

Feeling sluggish after a heavy meal? A few drops of diluted peppermint oil diffused in the air can work wonders on digestion. Struggling with a nagging headache or muscle ache? A topical application (always diluted!) can offer soothing relief. Even congested sinuses and pesky coughs can find their match in the potent vapors of peppermint.

A randomized, placebo-controlled double-blind crossover study published way back in August 1996 investigated the effect of the topical application of peppermint oil (its aroma and compounds) on tension headache. The controlled study concluded that a peppermint oil in 10% concentration was effective in lowering headaches. [1]

Is Peppermint Oil Safe For Dogs?

Essential oils, particularly peppermint oil, have been identified as potentially harmful to dogs, especially when used without learning the usage method first. When used correctly and in the right amounts, they can offer benefits to pets. There are various methods for administering peppermint oil to dogs: applying a diluted solution on their skin, letting them breathe it through a diffuser. Some people also allow their pets to lick oil (diluted), but we do not recommend it. Consult a vet about oral consumption of essential oils for pets.

Problems arise in dogs when low-quality oils containing artificial peppermint or other impurities are used. Ensuring the safety of peppermint oil for dogs first involves choosing products from trustworthy companies. These companies produce oils that are organic and free from other substances.

Essential oils should undergo additional tests to confirm their purity, and detail the oil’s scientific name and source information. This information helps in selecting a reliable brand and determining the correct dilution for your dogs’ safety. One such brand is yours truly, Gya Labs.

Puppies are more susceptible to essential oils, so do not follow the same methodology that you follow on dogs. Again, consult a vet before using essential oils, including peppermint oil, on puppies. As a failsafe, it’s best to avoid peppermint oil in dogs until they’re at least 6 months old to ensure their safety.

Usage – How To Use Peppermint Oil For Dogs?

Given the potency of peppermint oil (yes, peppermint is one of those potent oils) it’s crucial to use it sparingly. Essential oils should never be used in its concentrated form.  The safest method involves diffusing just one drop of high-quality peppermint essential oil (from Gya Labs of course) in an open area where your dog has freedom to move in and out. Now let’s look at dilution and topical application.

Maintaining a dilution of 0.5% to 2% (i.e. one drop in one to two teaspoons of carrier oil or in a diffuser) is essential to ensure your dog’s safety. Carrier oils like virgin olive, grapeseed, jojoba, avocado, sweet almond, and coconut oil are safe options.

Directly applying these concentrated essential oils on your dog’s skin is not advisable unless advised by a vet or certified aromatherapist experienced in essential oils. The potency of peppermint oil, coupled with its cooling effect from menthol, makes direct application risky unless heavily diluted and done under your vet’s supervision.

Peppermint Oil and Dog Fleas

Peppermint oil has active ingredients that can repel fleas from your dog’s fur – it is a natural flea repellant. In fact, it is an ingredient in many pet products that aim to drive out the fleas. However, the oil does not kill the fleas. Also, it may not be strong enough to stop a flea invasion on the fur.

Benefits Of Peppermint Oil For Dogs

Having talked so far about the ill effects of excess and improper use of peppermint essential oil for dogs, let’s focus on the benefits of proper use of peppermint oil on dogs.

1. Comforts Skin

Topical application of diluted peppermint oil can effectively alleviate itching and irritation on your dog’s skin. Its cooling properties provide relief for minor irritations triggered by allergies or insect bites. Ensuring adequate dilution is crucial to prevent any potential skin irritation.

Of course, conduct a patch test on a small area of your dog’s skin before applying it widely. Peppermint oil is used to groom dogs and is used in several pet grooming products as well as peppermint oil is safe for dogs. Its therapeutic benefits also include pain relief and mitigating soreness.

2. Inhalation for Relaxation

When diffused in aromatherapy, the peppermint oil has calming and soothing traits that aid in relaxing an anxious or stressed dog. The amount to be diffused must be minimal and the diffused area must be well ventilated. It is well known that the aroma of the oil induces calm. So, when to diffuse it? The ideal time would be when the dog is anxious due to external events like thunderstorms, fireworks, or any other stressful scenarios.

3. Oral Health

Many oral care products already have peppermint essential oil. Incorporating minute amounts of properly diluted peppermint oil into regular dog toothpaste can harness its natural antibacterial properties. This can assist in oral hygiene, healthy gums, and a fresh breath for your furry friend.

Risk Factors & Side Effects Of using Peppermint Oil For Dogs

Applying peppermint essential oil topically or allowing dogs to inhale (or even ingest) it leads to rapid absorption. However, using the wrong dosage or opting for low-quality products can trigger adverse reactions. Allergic responses are plausible, and applying undiluted peppermint oil on sensitive areas like mucous membranes, eyes, or irritated skin may cause irritation. In case of contact, avoid rinsing with water as essential oils bind to oils or high-fat liquids.

Instead, soothe the affected skin by applying a carrier oil, such as olive or jojoba oil, to draw out the essential oil. In case the oil got into the eyes, gently flush it out without panicking.

Inhaling the oil might induce breathing difficulties, especially in puppies and younger dogs who could be more vulnerable. If your dog shows signs like excessive salivation, eye irritation, or breathing issues, immediately turn off the diffuser (if in use), ventilate the area by opening windows, and take your dog outside on a leash for about 10 minutes to allow them to recover. Contact your veterinarian if there are persistent concerns.

Using high doses of spurious peppermint oil, if taken internally, may have fatal consequences. Here are some of the common side effects of using peppermint oil on dogs.

1. Stomach-related Issues

When dogs ingest (even small quantities) peppermint essential oil, it can trigger significant stomach-related issues due to their inability to handle the potency of such oils. This ingestion can lead to various digestive distress symptoms, including immediate discomfort resulting in vomiting, which serves as the body’s instinctive response to expel the harmful substance. The dogs may suffer from frequent and loose bowel movements, posing risks of dehydration and weakness.

Another noticeable sign of distress is excessive drooling, which may indicate oral irritation caused by the peppermint oil as the dog’s body endeavors to eliminate the toxin. In rare cases, if your pet come into contact with the oil, it may effect its liver as well, which may be life-threatening. In case the dog accidentally ingest the oil, it can cause diarrhea in the four-legged creature. Hence caution is must to reduce potential risks.

2. Breathing Difficulty

What are dogs known for? Their heightened sense of smell. Your fur buddies have sensitive respiratory system, which is nice… unless it is not. This high sensitivity makes them prone to irritation when they come in contact with certain smells. Inhaling strong concentration of peppermint oil can lead to coughing in dogs. The irritants may block their nasal passage, which may result in sneezing. And in some cases, the aroma may cause difficulty in breathing.

3. Skin Problems

Undiluted peppermint essential oil directly touching a dog’s skin can provoke adverse effects, causing irritation of varying levels. The affected area often reddens, signaling inflammation and discomfort for the dog. The fur-kids might display discomfort by incessantly scratching or biting the irritated skin in an attempt to relieve the itching sensation induced by the oil. Occasionally, allergic reactions might lead to swelling of the skin.

4. Impact on Nervous System

Consuming / licking large quantities of peppermint oil can severely impact a dog’s central nervous system, resulting in symptoms of depression and lethargy. Dogs might exhibit unusual tiredness and sluggishness, showing less than normal interest in their surroundings and lower energy levels.

Muscle weakness could ensue, hampering the dog’s mobility, coordination loss and ability to partake in typical activities. In case your dog has ingested peppermint, high levels of menthol in its system will cause above mentioned issues; hence, it is imperative to contact a vet.


“Is peppermint oil bad for dogs?” Well, in the world of essential oils, peppermint oil stands as both a potential aid and a possible threat to our canine companions. Understanding the nuances of its usage, quality, and dosage is super important for safeguarding our pet’s well-being. While it offers benefits when used cautiously and responsibly, the risks demand that pet owners follow due diligence when using peppermint oil for dogs. And always consult a veterinary doctor for medical advice in case of doubt.