While you may be tempted to give your dog human breath mints to combat his halitosis, the ASPCA warns mints can be harmful to dogs. Many human mints contain xylitol, which can cause blood sugar to drop suddenly, or menthol, which can irritate his mouth and gastrointestinal tract. Instead of taking these risks or wasting money on store-bought canine mints, you can make your own, using mint extract.
Ingredients You Need
Although different recipes exist for homemade dog mints, all of them start with a base of flour, oatmeal or cornmeal. You can use whichever you have around the house. You’ll need 3½ cups of whichever you choose. Moisten the dry ingredient with 4 tablespoons of vegetable oil. If you do not want to use that much oil, supplement with water, but use at least half of the recommended vegetable oil. For added flavor, use three-quarters of a cup to 1 cup of chicken broth. You can add some cheddar cheese if your dog likes that flavor. You will need one egg to hold all of the ingredients together for baking. You will also need to add mint -- fresh or extract -- and possibly parsley, although the latter may not be as useful as you might think.
Fresh Mint Versus Mint Extract
Interestingly, most dog mint recipes specify the use of fresh mint leaves which are usually placed in a food processor to grind them down along with the other ingredients. However, you do not have to use fresh mint even in recipes that call for it. For every 1 tablespoon of fresh mint required by the recipe, substitute a half-teaspoon of mint extract. A half-cup or 8 tablespoons of fresh mint leaves is equivalent to 4 teaspoons of mint extract.
To Add or Not to Add Parsley
Many recipe for mint dog biscuits include fresh parsley -- a common belief is that chewing parsley helps humans combat bacteria that cause bad breath and, therefore, it should work for dogs, too. According to the "New York Times," research has found no connection between parsley and bad breath elimination in humans -- so this herbal addition probably will have little impact on your dog’s halitosis.
When you start combining ingredients, start preheating your oven to 400 degrees. Combine everything except your base -- the flour, cornmeal or oatmeal -- and your egg in a food processor. You can also blend with a hand mixer in a pinch. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, you'll mix it into your base ingredient. Then beat the egg and mix it into the ingredients. Knead the combination and form a ball of dough. If you need more water or broth, you can add a little bit more, as long as the dough remains sticky and a little grainy. Roll out the dough, cut out designs using cookie cutters or the rim of a cup, and bake for up to 20 minutes.