Peppermint Essential Oil and Pets

Published 7th May 2024

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Australians love their pets – especially dogs and cats. We spend a fortune on them, do everything for them and treat them like royalty. It’s no wonder fans of animals and aromatherapy oils are tempted to use these therapeutic gems to boost their pet’s health.

Surely an oil like Peppermint that’s loved the world over is pawfect for your four-legged friends?

With a relaxed and minty scent, uplifting properties and bountiful health and wellness benefits, of course people love Peppermint oil! Yet how effective are those benefits when it comes to animals? Time to hit the ‘paws’ button and learn about using Peppermint in a pet-friendly environment!

What Is Peppermint Essential Oil?

Crisp, refreshing and revitalising, it’s no surprise that Peppermint Oil is one of the most popular essential oils on the planet.   

Beyond its beautiful minty scent, Peppermint possesses numerous therapeutic benefits for the mind and body. Like a liquid first aid kit, Peppermint Oil helps fight bacteria, colds, inflammation and fatigue. And that’s just for starters! 

It’s all thanks to one of Peppermint Oil’s key constituents, menthol, a natural decongestant known to clear stuffiness, rid the body of aches and pains and bring focus to otherwise fuzzy minds. It works rather well keeping good old Aussie critters at bay too! 

Here’s how Peppermint Essential Oil benefits can help humans: 

  • Reduce fatigue
  • Improve concentration
  • Relieve coughs, colds, and flu symptoms
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Ease headaches, migraines
  • Settle nausea
  • Repel insects and rodents
  • Prevent bacteria
  • Support minor skin irritations 

No wonder we all love using Peppermint Oil topically and via a diffuser to support mind and body health! Yet do these same benefits transcend to our pets? 

Peppermint Oils in Australia

Before you can even think about using essential oils around your pets, you need to understand everything about them – their constituents, potency and associated risks. 

Shop for Peppermint Essential Oil in Australia, in stores or online, and you’ll typically find two main variants, as follows:  

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Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Piperita)

Fresh, sweet and minty to smell, this oil comes directly from the true Peppermint plant, Mentha piperita. Its leaves are steam distilled to produce an oil naturally high in menthol and in healing power, said to support all kinds of ailments and health conditions.

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Peppermint Essential Oil (Mentha Arvensis)

This type of oil actually derives from a different species of mint - the corn mint plant – a herb naturally much higher in menthol than true Peppermint. Often, this variation is dementholised to reduce its menthol potency, resulting in an oil akin to the Mentha piperita variety in terms of its benefits but with a crisper and more herbaceous, strong minty aroma.

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So, while there are slight differences between Peppermint Oil types, particularly with their smell, they all contain that same main constituent, menthol – only in different amounts.   

Now, while menthol is generally viewed positively in aromatherapy circles, it is also highly potent and, therefore, poses a risk if not used carefully. For instance, the natural menthol content in Mentha arvensis is exceptionally high – around 70% - which is why many manufacturers ‘dementholise’ their oil to reduce the potency to a more acceptable level (around 40%; similar to the menthol content in Mentha piperita).   

Of course, most Peppermint Oil users are people. How does a highly potent constituent like menthol affect dogs and cats? 

Learn more about Peppermint Oil variants.

Is Peppermint Essential Oil Good for Dogs?

This is the million-dollar question – and, depending on who you ask, you’ll receive a different answer. 

Some sources suggest topical application is OK under the guidance of a vet or animal aromatherapist. You may even come across sources that say how the benefits of Peppermint Oil can be carried safely to your dog when diffused, helping particularly with digestive issues or calming an anxious pet.  

One thing most sources agree on is this: since menthol is toxic for dogs, ingesting Peppermint Oil is an absolute no-no. When an oil like Peppermint hits a dog’s stomach, it can cause immediate problems to their digestive system. Now, this means topical application also poses an issue since dogs like nothing more than a good old lick of their body to keep it clean. Even applying a small amount of oil to a dog topically can wind up in your pet’s mouth and stomach. And it only needs a small amount of oil to begin causing your dog large problems.  

It’s no different when diffusing Peppermint Oil, either. The particles of oil released into the air during this process can be consumed by your dog accidentally, leading to similar issues.  

Our advice is to avoid using Peppermint altogether around dogs. Given that its toxic, Peppermint Oil simply isn’t worth the risk – especially when there are other safer essential oils you can use around dogs instead. 

Is Peppermint Essential Oil OK for Cats?

This is a much more straightforward question to answer. Unfortunately, Peppermint Oil is NOT safe for cats under any circumstances. 

It’s all down to the menthol constituent in Peppermint Oil, which is even more toxic to cats than dogs and can cause them all manner of issues, including: 

  • Breathing problems 
  • Fits and seizures 
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting 
  • Liver failure 

So, if you’re considering using Peppermint Oil for one of its many potential human health benefits – like improving digestion or reducing anxiety – it will likely do more damage to your cat than good. Even a small amount of Peppermint Oil can pose an issue to your feline friend, which means any application whatsoever – topical, diffused or ingested – is off the table.  

Even having Peppermint in the vicinity of cats for personal use can be risky, and you may want to reconsider using it altogether while they are in your care. 

A Final Word on the Safe Use of Essential Oils around Pets

When you look online at what oils are safe to use around animals, you’ll find different opinions about which are OK, and which are a no-no. 

At the end of the day, it’s your animal and only you can make the final decision about their well-being. It’s best to remember how all oils pose an element of risk, even to humans - and this risk increases significantly when it comes to animals. 

Some final words, then, to help you decide whether to use essential oils at home while keeping animals: 

  • Even ‘safe’ essential oils can be harmful. Handle oils with care and caution, particularly when using them around animals.
  • Pack oils away after you use them, keeping them safely out of reach.
  • Never allow pets to ingest oils.
  • If you are starting to use oils for pet care, introduce new oils slowly and watch for any adverse reactions. If you are concerned, call the vet immediately. 

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Buy Peppermint 100% Pure Essential Oils from AWO, leaders in authentic, high-quality aromatherapy oils.

Available in small and bulk quantities at wholesale prices. 

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