Catnip For Dogs – Is Catnip Bad for Dogs?

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I’m sure you’ve been curious from time to time about Catnip and wondered what on earth it is. Catnip is a type of herb that belongs to the mint family, and pet owners throughout the world feed these amazing leaves to their cats for its health benefits. However, it’s because of the incredible relaxing properties of Catnip that it has because so famous, but is it safe to use catnip for dogs?

Is Catnip bad for dogs? Feeding catnip to dogs is not harmful or toxic to them and is entirely safe for them to ingest! Catnip does show a calming effect on dogs but in a much weaker form, so it doesn’t affect dogs in quite the same way as cats.

However, Catnip does have all the same health benefits for both dogs and cats, as it is filled with various minerals and nutrients.

In this article, we’ll discuss the effects of Catnip on dogs, its benefits, and whether or not you should use it.

Dogs and Catnip

Catnip contains Nepetalactone, a chemical compound that produces the sensation of a “high.” Cats usually feel this sensation immediately, and it lasts for about ten to fifteen minutes. About 75% of cats react to Catnip in one way or another. It’s generally non-addictive and harmless.

Though Catnip affects cats dramatically, in most cases dogs on Catnip are not affected in the same way. When dogs consume Catnip, they may feel a bit relaxed but won’t show any major changes in their behavior. So, if you are looking for the same strong effect on your dog, then you might be a little disappointed.

If your dog ingests some Catnip or licks some of your cat’s leftovers, he won’t be at risk of getting high and acting intoxicated.

Dogs are safe to be around Catnip plants, and it’s not harmful to them to sniff, lick, or nibble them.

Catnip plant

If your worry is can dogs eat Catnip? Be rest assured that feeding your dog Catnip will not produce any adverse health effects. It’s a totally safe plant for dogs to eat, it’s wholesome and nutritious.

Does Catnip Work on Dogs?

Cats and dogs react differently from each other when eating Catnip. Dogs respond less intensely, while cats experience a buzz. As already mentioned, it does work as a sedative on dogs, but the degree of sedation is quite mild.

Nevertheless, these effects are extremely convenient if you’re taking a nervous dog in the car, or if you need to take your furry friend to the vet. Alternatively, if your dog has separation anxiety, it could help keep your dog calm while you are away.

Dogs can be drawn to these herbs mostly out of curiosity, and are not attracted to the chemical stimulant. The compound called Nepetalactone, which is present in Catnip is not a trigger.

So, to answer the question “does catnip work on dogs?”, yes, it does, but without the intensity and buzz that cats experience, there is no point in feeding your dog Catnip and expecting a similar reaction.

What does Catnip do to Dogs?

Catnip can be a nourishing supplement for your dog, as it contains magnesium, Vitamin C and E, flavonoids, tannins, and other minerals. It can keep your dog’s digestive system healthy as it also contains essential oils that can help relieve intestinal problems.

It’s a good idea to give your dog some Catnip to chew on if he has an upset stomach as it can relieve gas. Catnip contains antispasmodic properties that ease cramps and dyspepsia.

We previously touched on Catnip’s calming effect on dogs. Nevertheless, it’s important to point out how dogs that suffer from anxiety frequently, can benefit greatly from the calming effect on their nerves. It’s a safe, natural, and relatively cheap calming solution. Why not try it on your furry friend when he’s about to face a situation that will trigger his anxiety.

You can improve your dog’s sleeping pattern with Catnip, and help him relax into a deeper, more restful sleep.

The healing benefits of Catnip are another remarkable benefit to this wonder herb. It has antibacterial and healing properties that you can use on your dog as a natural antiseptic. It’s easy to use, and you only need to apply some fresh Catnip to any scraped areas or minor cuts to the skin.

Are Mosquitoes pestering your dog, no problem! Catnip oil can save the day. You can use a small spray bottle and follow this recipe on to make a fantastic DIY mosquito repellent. Remember, if you’re spraying it on your dog by yourself, do make sure to avoid the face area.

Researches show that Catnip does indeed repel pests. A study in Iowa State University back up this claim. You can also read about it at

Catnip can also be used as a diuretic. It gets rid of excess water and flushes out toxins from your dog’s body after an illness.

It’s also a safe solution to motion sickness in dogs, and can help your dog relax overall whilst travelling.

How Do You Give Catnip to Your Dog?

There are several ways to give your dog a small dose of Catnip. Sprinkle 1/8 to ½ teaspoon of dried catnip on your dog’s food for the most potent calming effect for your dog.

catnip in a container

Another method is to mix some fresh leaves from the Catnip plant in your dog’s drinking water.

Catnip tea is great for dogs to soothe their bellies, and it’ll help with their digestion and improve bowel movement. You can make some for yourself too because it’s equally healthy for humans!

It’s best not to feed your dog Catnip every day, especially if your dog has a prior medical condition. If you are ever in any doubt, you should always consult your Veterinarian.

Is It Safe for Dogs to Play with Catnip Toys?

Anxious Canine strongly suggest that you DO NOT give your dog Catnip toys to play with, especially if you have a puppy. Toys designed for cats are tiny, and while harmless for cats, can prove to be a potential choking hazard for your much larger, stronger dog.

Dog Toy

Swallowing a Catnip toy can prove fatal if you aren’t a professional in performing the doggie Heimlich. Even if your dog doesn’t choke on the catnip toy, it could lead to an intestinal blockage and get stuck in your dog’s digestive system. Your furry friend might need to undergo emergency surgery to remove the painful, life-threatening blockage.

Some Preventive Measures You Should Take

Catnip is a relatively safe plant for dogs. Not all dog will react the same way to the relaxing effects. Your dog might not have any reaction at all, while others may find an amazing calmness they’ve never previously experienced.

You might feel a little worried that your dog will become spaced or addicted to Catnip, but it’s effects mild and relatively harmless. It’s always good practice to keep the dosage to a minimum to start, and slowly increase to dosage based on your dog’s reaction.

The best way to use Catnip for dogs is through its oil. You should test how your dog reacts to Catnip before you start using the oil form for the full experience.

A great alternative to Catnip is, Dognip called anise or aniseed. It’s a safe alternative, but should only ever be used for dogs.


People wondering is Catnip bad for dogs should feel rest assured that it’s an urban myth. In fact, it is a safe plant that is healthy and nutritious and has a wonderful calming effect on many dogs. However, don’t be too disappointed if your dog doesn’t respond very well to Catnip, as its effects vary greatly from dog to dog, and in some cases, it doesn’t work at all.

However, if you want the very best calming effect on your dog, why not give Dognip a try!

Don’t forget to bookmark us for later, we’ve got a wide range of material on all sorts of dog-related subjects. We update and post regularly so don’t be a stranger.

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All information in the article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian’s advice.


All information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not meant to replace your veterinarian's advice.
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