the Digest
NutritionWellness

Superfoods in Your Kitchen: Mint for Dogs

mint for dogs

Minty fresh breath isn’t just for kids. Share the wealth with your pup.

The Stats:

Peppermint (mentha balsamea) may soothe your dog’s nausea and upset stomach, but in large quantities it can also cause liver or kidney problems. Similarly, spearmint (mentha spicata) can freshen your dog’s breath and repel fleas, but larger doses could cause diarrhea or vomiting, so proper portioning is key. The mint family is diverse, with varieties like lavender mint, apple mint, and even pineapple mint. Just be sure to steer clear of Pennyroyal (mentha pulegium), a type of non-culinary mint that is toxic for both people and pets.

Benefits:

1. Fresh mint is rich in Vitamins A and C which support healthy bones, skin, and vision as well as immunity
2. It’s full of trace minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, potassium, and zinc which all play a key role in balanced nutrition
3. Mint leaves are a natural source of dietary fiber which can promote healthy digestion
4. The antioxidant benefits of fresh mint protect against free-radical damage and oxidation in the cells
5. Soothes upset stomach and relieves nausea or diarrhea
6. Contains rosmarinic acid which has been shown to relieve symptoms associated with seasonal allergies…
7.  …and menthol, a natural decongestant which can help break up mucus and phlegm, relieving respiratory ailments
8. Relieves symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease and reduces gas
9. The leaves of the plant in particular may help reduce side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments
10. Mint has natural antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal benefits which can all help freshen your dog’s breath

How to Feed It:

The easiest way to add mint to your dog’s diet is to sprinkle a little fresh or dried mint over his food. Just don’t overdo it – a few leaves a day is about all your dog should be getting.

What to Watch For:

While fresh mint can be good for your dog’s health, artificial forms are another story. Breath mints, for example, often contain xylitol, an artificial sweetener that can be toxic for dogs.

If you want to give your dog a mint-flavored treat, try your hand at homemade biscuits with a few easy ingredients. Minty fresh thank you kisses to follow.

Image: Food52 

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