Catnip for Dogs: Unveiling Its Effects and Benefits

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Is there such a thing as catnip for dogs? Keep reading to find out more! Catnip is typically a feline thing, but many have wondered if it’s safe for dogs and what effect it has. In this article, we’ll share some research and expert insights. Join us as we dive into the world of catnip for dogs!

What is Catnip?

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Catnip is scientifically referred to as Nepeta cataria, an herb in the mint family. It has a chemical constituent known as nepetalactone, which explains the hallucinations cats exhibit when they come across this plant. Once cats get a whiff of this plant, they may roll around, rub, purr, and jump. It can quickly become their favourite treat!

Can Dogs React to Catnip?

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Let’s see how it affects dogs. The differences can be found by looking at the influence of nepetalactone on the physiology of cats and dogs. Cats have glands in their tongues, while dogs don’t. These glands are responsible for what cats feel from catnip. For that reason, dogs will not have the same reaction. 

Is Catnip Bad for Dogs?

The good news for pet owners worried about their dogs is that catnip is not toxic to them. When used correctly, it is chemically inert and contains no harmful substances that can cause health issues. However, it is necessary to pay attention to how dogs are feeling even though their response is much weaker than that of cats.

Potential Benefits of Catnip for Dogs

  • Calming Effect: While cats do not get as high as when they get their paws on catnip, some dogs may find the plant somewhat relaxed inducer. This can be especially helpful in soothing fear; examples include fireworks and thunderstorms.
  • Digestive Aid: Catnip possesses digestion properties that benefit cats. It can also be used in dogs to treat a few common stomach ailments, such as inflammation of the intestines or excessive flatulence. Get your vet’s approval, especially if you want to add herbs or supplements to your dog’s diet.
  • Enrichment and Stimulation: Adding catnip to toys or even to the bed can add extra value to dogs and make the bedding or toys entertaining for cats. Although dogs’ responses will not be as vigorous as those of cats, the new scent will pique their interest and keep them occupied.

How to Use Catnip for Dogs

If you decide to introduce catnip to your dog, there are several ways to do so safely. Here are some tips on how to do it without any issues:

  • Catnip Toys: If you want to get toys with catnip for your dog, there are ones available that are already laced with catnip. You can add a little dried catnip to your dog’s toys. Pay close attention and monitor how your canine behaves when eating solid foods. Ensure your pet does not take too much.
  • Catnip Spray: This liquid spray is simple to apply. You fog it on the dog’s pillows, blanket, or any other surface they like. It will leave a scent behind.
  • Edible Catnip: Certain dog treats incorporate catnip. This is a safe approach to determine whether a dog likes it. This ensures that the treats are given in good measure.

Addressing Common Concerns

Can Catnip Be Harmful to Dogs?

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Catnip, in most cases, is not harmful to dogs. You should slowly integrate catnip just like with anything new, whether it’s diet changes or feeding your canine substances. High doses of catnip may lead to certain forms of gastrointestinal discomfort, including vomiting or diarrhoea. You should monitor your dog the first time they use catnip.

Will My Dog Become Addicted to Catnip?

Cats are not the only animals known to be addicted to some plants, specifically catnip, but dogs cannot be said to be addicted to catnip. Unlike other substances, the herb does not contain elements that could make a dog dependent. Giving catnip as a treat occasionally is more than okay!

Can Catnip be a Replacement for the Calming Aids Specifically Meant for Dogs?

The effects of catnip on some dogs can be soothing, but it should not be a replacement for any medication, especially if your vet suggests it. If your pet develops severe anxiety or stress, it is prudent to consult a veterinarian to have the best solution on how to handle the issue. Catnip is not always the answer. 


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You can’t expect dogs to go crazy for catnip as cats do, but the substance can benefit them in some ways. It will not harm your dog in any way and can act as a natural sedative or an engaging toy for your dog to play with. Starting with small amounts and monitoring your dog’s response is advisable. For any issues, call your vet so you can provide the best care. If you have doubts about whether catnip is poisonous to dogs, you now have the answer! It can become another method to bring happiness to your dog’s life.


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