Peppermint oil is a natural essential oil that comes from a plant called Mentha piperita. The peppermint candy we eat does not contain the pure form of the oil but instead uses artificial ingredients to achieve a similar taste.
Although it smells and tastes wonderful, peppermint can be hazardous for dogs. Some sources list peppermint as being toxic, even fatal to dogs if ingested in sufficient quantities. Pets lick their chops after food so they will lick up bits from your candy dish where the sweet treat has been set out on display. Many good-intentioned pet owners have given their dog a piece of chocolate or mint that they saw someone else give their pup without thinking twice about it only to find that they just might be the one responsible for their dog’s poisoning.
Here are some facts about peppermint candy and dogs:
1. The oil in peppermint is potentially toxic to dogs, not just the candy version of it.
2. If you want to determine if your dog has eaten enough peppermint or chocolate to cause problems, look for symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, increased thirst, agitation, and seizures. If your vet sees these symptoms after ingestion of any food product, they should treat it as a poisoning case no matter what type of ingredient was ingested since the signs could be different depending on that particular ingredient.
Although many veterinarians recommend against giving your pup any treat containing chocolate because cats are also extremely to its effects, Dr. Silver has a more wary approach to the subject. “I have worked with chocolate toxicity in dogs for many years and have seen several cases where ingestion was not as much as a problem as ingestion of large amounts,” she says. “If your dog does ingest large quantities, don’t wait. Take immediate action.”
Dr. Silver’s advice is to induce vomiting immediately saying “In my opinion, if you know or even suspect that your dog has eaten any type of chocolate, including white chocolate which contains no cocoa solids, inducing vomiting within an hour would be prudent.” Inducing vomiting is a good first step before going to see a veterinarian since it can help save time and money that would otherwise be spent waiting to see if the symptoms develop.
As with most cases of chocolate ingestion, the signs include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, and muscle tremors.
Also as with chocolate ingestion, if you don’t see any symptoms within a few hours it is unlikely there will be any to see later so Dr. Silver doesn’t recommend seeking veterinary attention unless your dog has eaten a large quantity or shows some symptom that makes you suspicious that something is wrong.
She also suggests keeping milk handy in case your dog does ingest chocolate since its protein may bind the toxic elements of the treat making them less dangerous for your pup to process. If you do choose to induce vomiting at home use milk as a way to help flush out your pet’s stomach before going to see your vet.