Essential oil enthusiasts use peppermint oil to clear stuffy sinuses.
It seems to have great usages for humans.
But is it safe for dogs?
Keep reading to discover:
- Precisely why you shouldn’t let dogs smell this oil.
- 7 ways to safely diffuse peppermint oil around dogs.
- A step-by-step method to teaching them to leave essential oil bottles alone.
- PROVEN: This study confirms the dangers of using peppermint oil on dogs.
- And many more…
Is diffusing peppermint oil safe for dogs?
Diffusing peppermint oil isn’t safe for dogs when it’s not done properly. Microdroplets from the diffuser can land on their fur or skin and canines can lick it. Ingesting it can cause essential oil toxicity. This can result in burns, itchy skin, muscle tremors, breathing difficulties, or death.
Is peppermint oil safe for dogs?
Peppermint oil isn’t safe for dogs. Vets on Parker says that all essential oils can be toxic for your pooch. Some more than others.
But it all depends on how much your dog has absorbed and how.
This happens when your dog eats or inhales the oil.
In fact, diffusing essential oils can cause microdroplets to fall on their skin.
And dogs can lick it when they groom themselves. Or inhale it when they go near.
If this happens, peppermint essential oil can cause essential oil toxicity. Later in the article, I’ll reveal how in detail.
What’s more, there aren’t enough studies that prove the effectiveness of essential oils on dogs.
And the companies that produce essential oils are the sponsors for studies that support the usage.
For example, this one talks about a spot-on formulation. That may help with atopic dermatitis.
Or this 2016 study that advertises an essential oil spray for bacterial pyoderma.
Note: Consult with your vet before trying essential oil-infused products on your dog.
Suffice it to say, essential oils are not for everyone. And particularly, these products are not safe for animal use.
How can I safely diffuse peppermint oil around my dog? 7 vital tips
#1: Consult a vet before using essential oils in your house
Before going on a shopping spree, ask your vet how to use essential oils around your doggo.
Make an appointment with one who’s familiar with using the oils to treat dogs.
In this way, you’re making sure that your pooch is as safe as they can be.
It’s very easy to misuse these because of how little you need for a strong scent.
Most diffusers only need 2 to 3 drops of essential oil diluted in water. This is good for 2 to 3 hours of using it.
But sadly, some people have thought that quantity equals effectiveness. So instead of putting 2 drops, they put in 20.
This is dangerous for your dogs or any other pets you might have.
Always talk to your vet before doing this in your house.
Especially with peppermint oil. This is one of the oils that are toxic for your dogs.
And according to Cabbage Town Pet Clinic the following are also dangerous oils:
- Citrus oil.
- Tea tree oil.
- Cinnamon oil.
- Eucalyptus oil.
- Ylang ylang oil.
- Wintergreen oil.
#2: Never leave peppermint oil unattended
This goes for all essential oil bottles that you own.
It’s easy for curious animals to sniff at the bottles.
They can get some residue oil on the outside of the bottle on their nose.
Which makes it easier for them to ingest it through licking.
They can also knock over bottles of essential oils. These can break.
And your dog might wound themselves over the broken bottle. Or lick the spilled oil.
Either way, your pooch gets hurt.
So make sure that your essential oils stay in your sight.
You can also invest in some dog-proof and smell-proof containers. It’ll be hard for your pooch to get into these.
Although, you still have to put the box in a place where your doggos can’t reach it.
And there are unfortunate times when dogs can reach your essential oil bottles. Keep a close eye on them for this.
If you find your dog with a bottle in their paws or their mouth, use the “Leave it” command.
You can use this for a variety of situations when your dog has something that’s dangerous for them.
Teaching the “Leave it” command
This is a very great exercise to strengthen your dog’s impulse control. And helps them to learn that their attention should be on you.
Do this in a quiet room in the house.
Step 1: Sit down on the floor before your dog. Have them in a “Sit” position.
Step 2: Take a treat, place it on the floor, and cover it with your hand.
Step 3: Take your hand off the treat. If your dog lunges for the treat, cover it again with your hand. When your dog sits again, say “Yes” and give them the treat. Do this a few more times until your dog waits for you to give them the treat.
Step 4: Next, is to introduce the verbal command, “Leave it”. Do the same exercise but insert the command when they try to reach the treat.
Step 5: Repeat until your dog recognizes the command and does as expected.
Step 6: Make the exercise more difficult. Kneel on the floor and drop the treat. Say the command before your dog moves to eat the treat.
Step 7: Repeat it once again until your pooch knows what to do. Then make it more difficult by standing up, then dropping the treat.
Next, you can drop the treat higher and further. Don’t add to the difficulty unless your dog already mastered the previous step
Step 8: For the final stage, do the exercise in an open area where there are lots of distractions. But don’t do it until you’re sure of your pup’s memory of the command.
You can use a lot of different treats for this. Use toys or human food. This will help your dog learn that “Leave it” applies to everything.
#3: Diffuse away from your dog’s usual spots
Peppermint isn’t safe for dogs. So if you have to use it, keep the diffuser away from rooms that your dog uses as their resting spot.
According to EPI, you have more control over the oil’s effects if they’re diluted and diffused far away from your pooch.
But to be extra safe, you can have a designated aromatherapy room in your house.
Make sure that there are pet-proof locks. And that the room has lots of ventilation.
Keep in mind that when you use the room, it’s very dangerous if your dog goes inside. So keep the door locked.
Microparticles of the oil can stay on surfaces.
Your dog can ingest some while rubbing themselves on the carpet. Or when grooming themselves while on the floor.
#4: Keep the diffuser out of your dog’s reach
Don’t leave your diffuser unattended. And don’t place it in an area where your dog can easily reach it.
Dogs are naturally curious creatures. The minute they see something new in their environment, they want to investigate.
They’re known for their superior sense of smell. So they often use their noses when exploring the world.
This is why you’ll often find your dog sniffing the ground during your walks.
According to this study, a dog’s nose is 10,000 to 100,000 times better the human one.
- Detect different chemical compounds.
- Differentiate between different smells in a busy area.
- Learn how to use their nose to recognize certain smells.
A dog’s nose is so powerful. No wonder they’re employed as bomb sniffers or drug detectors.
Interesting fact: Dogs can also learn how to use their nose to detect diseases, this study says.
The researchers trained 8 detection dogs in just a week. The dogs learned to detect the virus. They did it through saliva and nasal samples from COVID patients.
The dogs had a very high success rate.
They were able to differentiate between positive and negative samples. With 82.63% sensitivity and 96.35% specificity.
And in 1012 randomized samples, the dogs had:
- 94% detection rate.
- 157 correct detections of positive.
- 792 correct rejections of negative.
- 30 incorrect rejections of positive.
- 33 incorrect indications of negative.
It’s amazing how a dog’s nose works right? ‘’
But unfortunately, this also makes their nose sensitive to strong smells.
The peppermint smell is too strong for their noses. And it may irritate and damage their nasal passageways.
So keep your pooch away from your diffuser so that this doesn’t happen.
#5: Use diluted products
Never use essential oils that aren’t diluted with a carrier oil or water. And don’t use these on your dog.
Concentrated oils have even greater negative effects than diluted ones.
Some enthusiasts will say that you need to buy pure oils. Or you need to buy specific “high quality” products.
Diluted or not, essential oils will affect your dog.
This is why vets will always caution dog parents against the dangers of using these products.
It will have bad results for your dog.
Take for example this 10-year study. The researchers collected data on tea tree oil toxicity.
They took data from 337 dogs and 106 cats. All these animals got exposed to 100% tea tree oil.
89% of the animals had intentional exposures to the substance. The rest was unintentional.
The researchers found that signs of toxicity started appearing in as early as 2 to 12 hours after exposure. And these symptoms lasted up to 3 days.
The animals had:
- Partial paralysis.
- Loss of body movement control.
These all signal central nervous system (CNS) depression. This is a condition where the CNS reacts because of an inflammatory attack.
If you want to try giving your pooch essential oils, remember this:
Dogs can’t process these oils in the way we can. What’s soothing to you may make them feel uncomfortable. Or have adverse effects on their system.
And with essential oils, the cons far outweigh the pros.
Take a look at what vets have to say about essential oils and dogs:
#6: Diffuse for only a short time
If you must diffuse your essential oils. Do it for a short time only.
This minimizes the number of microparticles floating around the room.
These are dangerous because they’re undetectable. And you won’t know that your pooch has already licked some from their fur. Or off the floor.
Tufts says that most dogs get poisoned when the essential oil comes in contact with their skin.
It’s also advised that you keep your pooch away from active diffusers. And even when they’re not in use. As these can still contain residue of the oil.
#7: Air out the room before your dog comes in
Don’t let your dog come into the room right after diffusing.
Air out the room for 2 to 4 hours before allowing your pooch to come back inside.
Make sure that you open the windows of the room to ventilate.
This allows the microparticles floating in the air to evaporate.
But a word of caution, oil can take a long time to evaporate. Or even not at all.
Airing out the room is one way to make sure that there’s no residue from the oil left in the air.
On the furniture, is another story.
You can give things a wipe down with a damp cloth. And again, allowing the moisture to evaporate before allowing your dog inside.
How do I know if my dog has been poisoned by diffused peppermint oil?
VCA says you’ll know your dog has been poisoned by diffused peppermint oil when they show the following signs:
- Muscle tremors.
- Difficulty walking.
- Breathing struggles.
- Scratching at the face or mouth.
- Burns on lips, hum, tongue, skin.
And you can also smell it on their:
Warning: Take your dog to the vet if you smell essential oil on any part of their body. Do this even if they’re not showing the signs yet.
You need to be extra careful with peppermint oil. This can cause severe damage to your pooch. And beware, it’s also present in some anti-flea treatments.
This study says, that flea medicine with essential oils can cause adverse effects. Even when dog parents follow instructions to the letter.
These are the signs that showed:
In the study, the researchers gathered data from 2006 to 2008. They studied 39 cats and 9 dogs.
In 39 animals, poisoning symptoms appeared within 24 hours. And it ranged from 30 minutes to 149 hours.
50% of the animals recovered with a wash-off bath. The other had to receive the following:
- Muscle relaxants.
- Intravenous fluids (IV).
- Anticonvulsive medications.
But sadly, 3 animals died due to essential oil poisoning.
This is something that dog parents have to consider before getting oils for their canines.
There’s always a good and bad side to everything. And unfortunately, dogs will get the short end of the stick when it comes to essential oils.
You might also want to check out: 7 Most Effective Scents That Deter Dogs From Peeing