Can Dogs Eat Catnip?

August 09, 2020

catnip for dogs, can dogs eat catnip?

Once you bring a dog into your life, you’ll be surprised at just how many strange behaviors you’ll start looking up and questions you’ll have regarding the well being of your canine companion. Today, we’re going to dive into a topic you never thought you’d be wondering about, catnip for dogs.

Yup, you read that right. More dog owners than you’d think are also wondering is catnip bad for dogs, what does catnip do to dogs, and if it’s safe.

This might be because your household has cats and dogs, maybe catnip, a perennial, grows in your garden, or maybe you’re wondering if your dog is missing out on a good time 😉

Well my dog-loving friend, look no further. Because we’re going to find out.

Catnip for dogs: is it safe?

In short, yes! Catnip is completely safe for dogs to ingest. In fact, a large number of dogs are naturally attracted to catnip plants or catnip toys that may be around the house.

Catnip, as you probably know, causes a euphoric effect on an estimated 70% of all cats. If you’ve ever been around a cat on catnip you know the crazy, hyped-up behavior I’m talking about.

What does catnip do to dogs?

Interestingly, while completely safe for dogs, catnip doesn’t work as a stimulant for canines. In fact, catnip is said to have more of a sedating, calming effect on dogs.

Owners that are interested in herbal remedies and holistic vet care often turn to catnip for its calming effects on dogs. It’s especially helpful for dogs that are prone to stress and anxiety, or before a stressful event like a trip to vet or traveling with your dog.

To use catnip for dogs as a sedative you can:

  • Add 1/8-1/2 tsp of dried catnip per pound of food
  • Add fresh catnip leaves to their water
  • Brew some catnip tea and add it to their water or food

As always, it’s worth reaching out to your vet before trying catnip as a sedative for the first time.

Other ways to use catnip for dogs:

  • As a natural breath freshener for your dog: chlorophyll is great for combating bad breath in dogs. You can add parsley, mint, wheat grass––or catnip!–– to your dog's food, into their water, or bake it into treats to ward of bad breath
  • To aid in digestion: when your dog is constipated or especially gassy, catnip can help keep them regular and relieve gas. Try adding some catnip to their water, or brewing a catnip tea and adding that to their water bowl
  • To promote urination: if your dog is suffering from kidney or urinary tract related issues, catnip can help promote healthy urination. This can clear their system of toxins. Adding catnip to their water while they have a UTI or for dogs that have kidney disease is a great idea. Beware that the increased urination can lead to dehydration, so be sure you’re offering free access to water
  • As a natural insect repellent for dogs: catnip oil, or catnip oil blended with other essential oils known to naturally repel insects, can make a dog-safe and effective insect repellent for Fido

Related Reading: CBD Oil for Dogs

What is catnip?

Catnip is a perennial that is part of the mint family. Its scientific name is Nepeta Cataria. Catnip is also referred to as catmint, catswort, and fieldbalm.

Catnip grows as a wild plant across the US, and is a popular perennial in many home flower gardens. Like other members of the mint family, it grows like crazy and will quickly take over a garden bed.

Catnip is an appealing looking plant with white or light purple flowers that bloom in late summer. It has a minty smell that attracts cats and dogs alike! Catnip is a popular herb that offers a host of benefits to humans, dogs, and cats alike!

For humans, catnip tea is used to destress and promote sleep, aid digestion, and repel mosquitos.

Is there a catnip for dogs?

Some of you may be disappointed to hear that catnip won’t give your dog that riled up, playful, euphoric experience it provides for cats. But actually, there is something that will! Anise is becoming more and more known as the catnip for dogs, or “dognip”.

Anise doesn’t work on all dogs, but many will have a euphoric and playful reaction. A small pinch of dried anise seeds or a few drops of anise essential oil are all you need.

To give your dog anise you can try:

  • Adding a drop of the essential oil to a favorite toy
  • Baking some homemade dog treats with anise added
  • Creating a dog toy filling that includes some anise for extra fun.

Related Reading: Dog Safe Perennials and Plants for Your Home

Other dog-friendly herbs

Has the benefits of catnip for dogs got you wondering what other herbs are safe and beneficial for your canine? There are actually a lot of options out there!

Most often, dog owners use herbs to freshen their dog’s breath and treat digestive issues. Parsley, basil, mint, oregano, dill, and wheatgrass are all dog-safe.

The bottom line on catnip for dogs

Well, now you know that catnip is totally safe for dogs and has no toxic effects. The next time Fido is going for the cat’s toy or chomping away in the garden, you can relax, everything will be okay.

While catnip won’t give your dog the playful jolt it provides cats, it can act as a mild sedative, aid in digestion, and promote healthy urination. And if you are looking for a way to get your dog going, look into anise 😊

If you have any further questions about catnip for dogs or want to start using it with your dog, we recommend discussing dosage with your vet. It’s always a good idea to get professional advice specific to your dog.

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