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Peppermint Oil Dangerous to Dogs? (Must-Read Before Using)

If you’re a dog owner, you might be wondering if it’s safe to diffuse peppermint oil in your home.

Dogs, with their highly developed sense of smell and different physiological responses, can react differently to certain aromas and compounds compared to us.

Before turning on that diffuser, it’s essential to understand how peppermint oil might impact your furry companion.

is peppermint oil dangerous to dogs

Is Peppermint Oil Dangerous To Dogs?

Yes, peppermint oil can be dangerous to dogs when ingested, inhaled, or applied to their skin.

Peppermint is also on PetMDs list of toxic essential for dogs, meaning it should be completely avoided.

Although peppermint is often used in various products and even some pet products in very diluted forms, concentrated peppermint oil is much stronger and can pose risks to dogs.

If it’s used in a diffuser as a strong level, it could potentially hurt a dog just by them breathing it in. Explained more below.

Let’s break it down:

1. Ingestion:

If a dog ingests peppermint oil, it can cause:

  • Gastrointestinal upset: This includes symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Central nervous system depression: In larger amounts, peppermint oil can depress the central nervous system leading to dizziness, confusion, or even muscle tremors.
  • Changes in heart rate: Peppermint oil can also affect a dog’s heart rate.
  • Liver damage: There’s a component in peppermint oil called pulegone, which can be harmful to a dog’s liver in significant amounts.

2. Inhalation:

When diffusing essential oils, including peppermint oil, in the home:

  • Respiratory distress: Dogs have a much more acute sense of smell than humans. For them, what might seem like a mild scent to us can be overpowering. Inhaling peppermint oil can lead to nasal and throat irritation, coughing, sneezing, difficulty breathing, or even pneumonia in severe cases.

3. Topical Exposure:

If peppermint oil is applied to a dog’s skin:

  • Skin irritation: This can include redness, burning, or itching.
  • Thermal regulation issues: Essential oils can affect a dog’s natural ability to regulate its body temperature, which is particularly concerning for breeds prone to overheating.

Dogs Breathing Peppermint Oil: What Owners Must Know

Peppermint oil, when diffused or present in the air, can impact a dog’s respiratory system due to their heightened sense of smell and their physiological differences from humans.

Consider this: A dog’s sense of smell is somewhere between 10,000-100,000 times stronger than ours! Imagine how the diffuser smells at 100,000 times the strength, yikes! 😬

Can Dogs Breathe Peppermint Oil?

While they technically can smell very weakly diffused peppermint oil in a well ventilated area, it’s still not advised. Just incase it is in fact too strong for them, and therefore potentially toxic.

1. Sensitivity to Smells:
Dogs have an exceptionally acute sense of smell, far more developed than that of humans. This means that scents that might seem mild or even pleasant to us can be intense and overwhelming to dogs.

2. Respiratory Distress:
Inhaling the strong aroma of peppermint oil can lead to:

  • Nasal irritation: Your dog might sneeze more than usual or constantly paw at their nose.
  • Throat irritation: This could lead to coughing or a change in their bark.
  • Difficulty in breathing: In severe cases, especially in dogs with pre-existing respiratory conditions, inhaling peppermint oil may exacerbate their symptoms or lead to breathing difficulties.

3. Aversion Behavior:
If a dog finds the scent of peppermint oil unpleasant or overwhelming, they may display aversion behaviors such as leaving the room, avoiding the area where the scent is strongest, or showing signs of distress.

can dogs be around peppermint oil

Using Peppermint Oil Safely Around Dogs:

If you choose to use peppermint oil in a diffuser or in any form that releases its aroma into the air:

  • Well-Ventilated Area: Ensure that the space is well-ventilated. This will help in diluting the intensity of the aroma.
  • Allow an Escape Route: Always allow your dog the option to leave the area. This means not diffusing peppermint oil in an enclosed space where the dog can’t get out if they find the scent overwhelming.
  • Monitor for Signs of Distress: Keep an eye on your dog for any signs of discomfort, respiratory distress, or aversion behaviors.
  • Consult with a Vet: If considering the use of essential oils in proximity to pets, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian for guidance specific to your dog’s health and needs.

While peppermint oil isn’t deadly toxic to dogs in the way some substances are, it can certainly be a respiratory irritant and can cause discomfort. It’s best to approach its use with caution, always prioritizing the comfort and health of your furry friend.

Safety Tips:

  • Always Store Safely: Make sure peppermint oil and other essential oils are kept out of reach of pets.
  • Use Diffusers with Caution: If you’re using a diffuser in your home, make sure the room is well-ventilated and that your dog can leave the area if the scent becomes too much for them.
  • Consult a Vet: Before using any product containing peppermint or peppermint oil on your dog, or even introducing it to your household, consult your veterinarian.


While peppermint oil might offer several benefits for humans, it’s essential to exercise caution when using it around dogs. Always ensure your pet’s environment is safe and free from potential hazards, and when in doubt, consult with a professional or veterinarian.


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.