Peppermint Oil for Dogs
Peppermint oil (essential oil of peppermint) is a common ingredient in many household items, including pet health supplements. You may have wondered, “Is peppermint oil safe for dogs?” Like anything you give your pet, understanding what it is, how it works, and how to safely use it is critical so that we can use it correctly with our pets, and reap the benefits of this multimodal plant.
What is Peppermint Oil?
Peppermint or Mentha Piperita is a wonderful plant full of medicinal uses for all species. It’s part of the mint family and contains high levels of menthol. Menthol is the compound that gives peppermint its refreshing and cooling properties and is what aids many in pain relief and decongestion. Peppermint oil is an essential oil (concentration) made by steam distilling the peppermint plant. This results in a highly concentrated form of peppermint, where a little goes a very long way.
What are the Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Dogs?
Peppermint essential oil can be quite useful for many conditions. It is a powerful analgesic, meaning it helps to relieve pain, and does so without drugs. In a study done to test peppermint’s pain-relieving power, it was shown to be just as powerful as acetaminophen (Tylenol) when used on patients suffering from tension headaches.
Peppermint is also widely used to relieve pruritis (itchiness) and relieve inflammation on the skin. It makes a great salve for skin issues like rashes, hives, and hot spots. Peppermint oil even speeds up the healing of wounds due to its antimicrobial properties. These are some of the reasons we chose peppermint oil to be in our CBD salve for dogs, Remedy, which is great for soreness, tumors and infections.
Peppermint also has anti-spasmodic qualities that make it ideal for alleviating IBS symptoms like cramping and bloating and is great for relieving nausea and vomiting issues. Many digestive aid supplements contain peppermint due to these helpful properties.
The scent of peppermint is uplifting and refreshing, making it useful not only in times of stress but also when you’re sick or congested. The menthol contained in peppermint oil is a powerful decongestant. Peppermint awakens the senses and is energizing, which is great for older, depressed, or stressed animals.
Is Peppermint Oil Safe for my Dog?
Safety concerns about peppermint oil for dogs loom all over the internet. Unfortunately, just like a lot of natural health information on the internet these days, much of what you’ll find is either grossly exaggerated or simply false.
Like many other essential oils deemed “unsafe” for pets, the accounts used to validate this “danger” are based on gross misuse or poor quality oils being used. When diluted properly, and sourced and formulated thoughtfully, peppermint oil for dogs is quite safe and has countless benefits. When shopping for essential oils for you or your pet, you should always be keeping in mind a few things. If your peppermint essential oil passes these tests, then it can be safely used with your pets, as long as it’s properly diluted.
How it is Labeled
- Each bottle should display a batch number or some way to trace the product back to its manufactured date.
- Country of origin for where the oil was produced. Ideally, the EO should be blended and bottled domestically. If not, ensure there is independent third-party testing to verify the oil is legitimately what it says, and is tested for mold or contaminants. This is different from knowing where the plant material was sourced. Many oils are made from plants that can’t be grown in the US, like Frankincense, which comes from the Boswellia tree and is only found in countries like Africa and India.
Real vs Synthetic Essential Oil
- Companies with real, unadulterated oils will be transparent about this. If you can’t figure out whether your peppermint oil has synthetic ingredients, uses additives, or is adulterated, then it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid it.
- Companies that go above and beyond will talk about their growing conditions, soil conditions, harvest techniques, sanitation, and distillation techniques.
How to Safely Use Peppermint Oil for Dogs
Dilution is key! Using undiluted peppermint oil can be very harsh on the skin and mucous membranes, so always dilute your peppermint oil.
For topical applications, peppermint oil should be diluted in a carrier oil by a ratio of 0.5%-2% oil and 98-99.5% carrier oil. In a diffuser, only use 1-2 drops, and make sure your pet has the ability to freely exit the room with the diffuser. If they don’t want to be in the room with the oil, do not force them to stay exposed. Your dog’s nose is much more sensitive than yours, so rest assured they will still get the benefits even from a distance, even if you don’t smell the oil.
If your pet comes into contact with a large amount of oil or undiluted oil, do not use water to rinse their skin, eyes, or mucous membranes. Use another carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil to dilute. Using water will only further distribute the oil and cause further irritation.
Due to the very powerful properties of peppermint oil, it’s best not to use it internally (given orally or otherwise) unless under the strict supervision of a veterinarian trained in aromatherapy.
Peppermint oil has a huge array of therapeutic benefits for your dog. Finding a well-sourced and formulated brand can be tricky, but there are many trustworthy brands to choose from in the US.
When properly diluted, peppermint oil can serve your dog in many ways. Our favorite way to use peppermint oil is topically, through the use of our Remedy Salve for dogs.