“Mint doesn’t just flavor food or freshen breath—mint offers a range of nutritional and health benefits that can boost your dog’s wellness,” says Dr. Suzi Beber in “Mint—an herb you can share with your dog” in the Animal Wellness magazine.
Beber says mint can provide vitamins that a dog needs.
She suggests adding some mint leaves in dog food recipes.
Mint’s health benefits
Mint, Beber says:
· has Vitamins A and C
· contains minerals such as calcium, copper, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin and zinc;
· is a source of dietary fiber and protein;
· is a powerful antioxidant, and has antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties;
· contains rosmarinic acid, which has been studied for its effectiveness in relieving seasonal allergy symptoms;
· also contains menthol, a natural decongestant that can help in break up phlegm and mucus;
· is a calming and soothing herb;
· can be used to soothe an upset stomach, reduce gas, and stave off nausea and motion sickness; and
· has been used to treat inflammatory bowel disease and to help with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
Mint’s history as food and medicine
In ancient times, Greeks used mint to clean banquet tables and they added it to their bathwater.
Romans, on the other hand, put mint leaves in sauces to aid digestion and to freshen breath.
Medieval monks added mint to both their diet and medicine.
“It’s believed mint was brought to the New World in the 17th century, and today, the US produces 70 percent of the world’s peppermint and spearmint,” Beber says.
She adds: “Juliette de Bairacli Levy, the ‘mother’ of herbal medicine for pets, recommended an infusion using all parts of the peppermint plant for appetite loss. And in combination with ginger, mint has long been considered soothing to the whole gastrointestinal system.”
There are different types of mint: spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, pineapple mint, lavender mint, and many others.
Warning: Avoid pennyroyal. It is toxic and classified as a non-culinary mint. It is bad for both humans and pets.
“One of the great things about mint is that it’s easy to grow. I have learned a valuable lesson, though. Let mint have its way, and it will take over your garden, so if you are interested in adding mint to your dog’s diet (and yours too), plant a variety of mints in pots for your patio, balcony or window ledge. Alternatively, you can sink the pots into the ground,” Beber says.
“It’s not unusual to see my dogs grazing on the mint that grows in my own garden. From single leaves to mature stalks, they love to include mint in their diets, whether fresh from the garden or in one of the recipes…,” Beber adds.
Recipes for dogs
1 lb ground meat (e.g., kangaroo, ostrich)
1 tsp first pressed olive oil, to drizzle in pan
â…› cup fresh mint leaves, minced; or 1 tbsp dried mint leaves
¼ cup fresh flat parsley leaves, minced
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cracked black pepper (optional)
1 clove garlic, minced; or 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)
Choose organic ingredients if possible.
1. Mix all ingredients, except the olive oil and eggs, in a large mixing bowl.
2. Add eggs and mix thoroughly, until the ingredients are well incorporated.
3. Form the mixture into meatballs. At least 12 balls can be made.
4. Drizzle olive oil into the pan and turn the heat on high.
5. As soon as one bubble appears, turn the heat down to medium, and add the meatballs.
6. Cook until the pink of the meat disappears.
7. Turn out onto the plate, and cool completely before serving.
8. The meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator, or frozen in a container or Ziploc bag.
9. You can serve the meatballs with whole brown rice or quinoa, and topped with a dollop of yogurt.
10. You can also serve the meatballs to your dog raw, or rolled in quinoa cereal before cooking.
Mint magic cookies
4 cups whole oat flour (or other whole flour of your choice)
1 tbsp fresh peppermint leaves, chopped; or 1 tsp dried mint
1 tbsp Saigon cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups organic pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling), apple sauce or unsweetened apple butter
1 cup of filtered water
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
3. Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the wet ingredients.
5. Mix thoroughly until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
6. Turn onto cookie sheet and roll out right to the corners.
7. Score lightly with a sharp knife.
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Turn oven down to 200°F, and bake for another 40 minutes, or until biscuits are bone hard.
10. Remove from oven, cool completely, and store in a cookie jar or Ziploc bag.