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Peppermint or other essential oils to deter mounting?

1221 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  prairiefire
Recently at work we got a boarder who came in nearing the end of her heat cycle and the owner brought peppermint oil spray for her bum to help deter dogs from mounting her. Obviously with her in heat we aren't going to risk it and her being allowed at the facility even in solo care is a different story that we won't go into and is irrelevant to the question I have.

Question is, does this actually work at all? Has anyone tried this with their dogs who tend to get targeted when at social dog gatherings or even in multi dog homes? I can't imagine it would do much with a dog who is actually in heat, but working with dogs I have come to realize that it's often just specific dogs who get this kind of undesirable attention, and often it's a submissive neutered male. Even my female spayed Pit tends to get mounted a lot, thankfully she makes is very clear this is unacceptable.

Obviously this is more of a training issue on the part of the dog who is mounting other dogs, in a perfect world this would be addressed by the dogs owner, but that aside I am just curious of the options for this issue.
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I'm personally quite leery of essential oil use on pets, because they can't tell us if the smell is bothering them, or their skin is feeling irritated, or if they're feeling off after using them. Until they have really severe symptoms and you're rushing them to the emergency vet, anyway - peppermint oil and other mint oil is often listed specifically as toxic to animals. So my first question, before whether it works or not, would be how concentrated this spray is and how likely it is to be absorbed into the skin or licked by either dog in the scenario.

Personally, as the owner of a dog who does get this kind of negative attention (neutered males are rare here), I just don't bring him to dog-social events. He only socializes with our other dog and a select few known dogs (mostly owned by family) that he gets along with. It's not the only reason - he also has reactivity and arousal issues around strange dogs that can make him quite the jerk and create unsafe conditions for everyone - but it's what I've landed on after spending many of his early years taking him to dog parks and doggy day care. Just not worth it.
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I have an older female German Shepherd. Spayed. She will develop hot spots on her back (she is on Apoquel but when she is stressed I have to up the dose). When she is about to develop a hot spot my intact male GSD will sniff and act like he is going to mount her. Once the allergy is under control he stops.

I simply intervene. The dogs are never together alone.

I agree with Day Sleepers.. Essential Oils are a big no-no on animals. I was at my vet one day and he took an emergency call from someone who put tea tree oil on their dog's hot spot and it poisoned the dog.
Essential oils can be okay in very small quantities/very diluted as an ingredient in something, which is why something like tea tree dog shampoos are perfectly safe when putting straight oil on a dog is very much not. So if this is a commercial product formulated by a reputable company, it might well be safe (not sure about effective, but safe). But I have a hard time trusting something essential oil based when it's homemade, not intended for animal use, or lacking health and safety testing. People are quick to think natural = safe with essential oils when they're extremely potent stuff.
"People are quick to think natural = safe with essential oils when they're extremely potent stuff." - DaySleepers

This is so true. For example, I use peppermint oil at work to deal with headaches and client documents that stink of smoke. I apply topically to my forehead/temples and below my nose. If not diluted enough, it BURNS.
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