Are mint leaves bad for dogs?

Updated November 21, 2016

When you choose plants to place in your yard, you have to consider how they will look and what kind of upkeep they require. If you have dogs, you also need to check to see if the plants you are considering are toxic to pets. Even some edible plants, like those in the mint family, can be dangerous to some canines.

Mint Leaves

Mint plants are usually welcome additions to any herb or traditional garden. With bright green leaves, they add cheerful bursts of colour to a yard. When their leaves are bruised, mint plants release the fresh scent for which they are famous. The standard types of mint found in gardens like peppermint or wintergreen are safe for humans and dogs to eat.


Pennyroyal is a member for the mint family. It can be bad for both dogs and humans if ingested, which is why it is not used in cooking. While it is useful as a natural flea repellent, it can cause abdominal cramping if eaten. If a pregnant dog eats enough pennyroyal leaves, the plant could cause her to miscarry. Pennyroyal can also trigger miscarriages in humans.


If your dog eats pennyroyal leaves and is not pregnant, the first type of treatment to try is watchful waiting. Any unfamiliar food can cause gastric upset in your dog. If it experiences vomiting or diarrhoea, make sure it has access to plenty of water and can get outdoors easily. The symptoms should pass in about a day. If the symptoms linger or if you dog is pregnant, contact your veterinarian right away.


If you take your dog to the veterinarian, bring along some of the pennyroyal plant. Seeing it could help the veterinarian choose the best course of treatment for your dog. The easiest way to keep your dog safe from dangerous mint leaves is to not plant pennyroyal around your home. To keep a dog away from all mint leaves, try growing the plants in window-box herb gardens. Sprinkling the ground near the plants with cayenne pepper can also deter dogs from getting too close.

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