catnip for dogs

Catnip For Dogs: 2023 Safety Investigation

While we all know that cats love catnip, have you ever wondered if there’s catnip for dogs? Let’s explore whether our canine friends can enjoy a similar treat or if it’s strictly a feline affair.


As a pet owner, it is essential to ensure that your furry friend is healthy and happy. While dogs are known for their love of play and exercise, they may sometimes require extra stimulation to help them relax or unwind.

One such method is by using catnip. But wait!

Before you grab a bag of catnip from the local pet store, ask yourself: Is catnip safe for dogs? In this article, we will explore this topic in detail to help you make an informed decision.

Definition of Catnip

Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is an herb that belongs to the mint family. It has a distinctive odor that can be described as minty or lemony and contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone. This compound is what makes it so attractive to cats but has been found in recent studies also affects dogs.

Brief History of Catnip and its Use in the Pet Industry

Catnip has been used since ancient times for medicinal purposes and was believed to have calming effects on humans. However, its use in the pet industry began when it was discovered that cats were attracted to its scent and would often roll around in it or eat it.

Cat owners soon started incorporating catnip into their pets’ toys and treats as a way to provide entertainment and relaxation for their feline friends. However, with time dog owners discovered some similar traits between cats and dogs when exposed to Nepeta cataria thus leading them testing if doggos can benefit from catnips goodness too.

Purpose of the Article

The purpose of this article is not only to determine if catnip is safe for dogs but also to understand how it affects them. We will explore the chemical composition of catnip, its effects on dogs, and the benefits and risks associated with giving your dog this herb.

Additionally, we will provide some important factors to consider before giving your dog catnip. With this knowledge, pet owners can make an informed decision about whether or not to introduce catnip into their dog’s lives.

Description and Origin of Catnip

Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family. It is native to Europe and Asia but has been naturalized throughout North America. The plant has a square stem with heart-shaped leaves and grows up to 3 feet tall.

The flowers are white or lavender in color and bloom from June to September. Catnip has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties.

In ancient times, it was used as a tea to treat ailments such as headaches, colds, and stomach problems. Today, it is mostly popular among cat owners who use it as an herbal remedy for their feline companions.

Chemical Composition of Catnip

The main active ingredient in catnip is nepetalactone, which is found in the leaves and stems of the plant. When cats smell this compound, they experience an intense euphoric reaction that can last up to 15 minutes.

Nepetalactone is not toxic to cats or humans but can cause mild irritation if ingested in large quantities. In addition to nepetalactone, catnip also contains other compounds such as citronellol and geraniol that give the plant its distinctive scent.

How Does Catnip Work on Cats?

When cats smell catnip, nepetalactone binds with their olfactory receptors in the nose. This triggers a response in the brain that releases various chemicals including dopamine and serotonin which cause feelings of pleasure and happiness. Cats may also display physical reactions such as rolling on their backs or rubbing against objects after smelling catnip.

These behaviors are thought to be part of their instinctual response when encountering new plants or herbs in their environment. Overall, while cat owners often find watching their feline friends experiencing the effects of catnip amusing or entertaining (depending on your point of view), there is more to understand about this herb for pet owners with dogs.

Effects of Catnip on Dogs

Can dogs have catnip?

Catnip is known to be safe for cats, but what about dogs? While it is not toxic to canines, it can still have an effect on them. Some dogs may be attracted to the smell of catnip and attempt to eat it, so it’s important for pet owners to take precautions when introducing this herb to their furry friends.

How does it affect dogs?

The effects of catnip on dogs are not as well-studied as its effects on cats. However, some dog owners have reported that their pets become more relaxed or playful after being exposed to catnip. Other dogs may show no interest in the herb at all.

It’s worth noting that not all dogs will react the same way to catnip, and some may even have an adverse reaction. It’s always best to introduce a new substance slowly and carefully observe your pet’s behavior before allowing them unrestricted access.

Is it safe for dogs to consume?

While catnip is generally considered safe for consumption by both cats and dogs, there are a few things pet owners should keep in mind. Consuming large quantities of catnip can cause vomiting and diarrhea in both species.

Additionally, if your dog has a history of gastrointestinal issues or allergies, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian before giving them any new substance. If you do decide to give your dog some catnip, start with small doses and monitor their behavior closely.

If they show any signs of discomfort or illness after consuming the herb, stop giving it immediately and contact your veterinarian. Overall, while catnip is generally safe for consumption by both cats and dogs, pet owners should always exercise caution when introducing anything new into their pets’ diets or environments.

Benefits and Risks of Catnip for Dogs

Benefits of giving your dog catnip

Most dog owners are familiar with the benefits of giving their dogs treats or toys to play with. However, catnip can also provide some benefits for dogs.

One of the main benefits is that catnip acts as a natural stress-reliever for dogs. This is because it contains nepetalactone, which is a chemical compound that produces a calming effect on animals.

When dogs sniff or chew on catnip, it can help them relax and reduce anxiety levels. Another benefit of giving your dog catnip is that it can help stimulate their appetite.

Dogs who are picky eaters may be more willing to eat when given treats with catnip in them. Additionally, the scent and taste of catnip can be enticing to some dogs and may encourage them to eat their food.

Risks associated with giving your dog catnip

While there are benefits to giving your dog catnip, there are also potential risks involved. One risk is that some dogs may have an adverse reaction to nepetalactone and may experience vomiting or diarrhea after consuming or inhaling it. It’s important to monitor your pet closely after giving them any new treat or toy.

Additionally, there is some concern that if a dog consumes too much catnip, they may become overly sedated or even dizzy. If you notice any unusual behavior in your pet after consuming catnip, it’s recommended that you contact your veterinarian immediately.

Factors to consider before giving your dog catnip

Before deciding whether or not to give your dog catnip, there are a few factors you should consider. First, you’ll want to make sure that the brand you’re purchasing uses high-quality ingredients and does not contain any harmful additives.

You’ll also want to consider whether or not your dog has any pre-existing medical conditions that may be aggravated by catnip. For example, if your dog has liver or kidney issues, they may not be able to tolerate catnip.

It’s important to only give your dog catnip in moderation. Giving them too much can have negative effects on their health and behavior.

While there are benefits to giving your dog catnip, it’s important to weigh the risks and factors involved before making a decision. As with any new treat or toy, it’s recommended that pet owners monitor their pet closely after introducing them to catnip.


Summary of the Article

Catnip is an herb that is commonly used to soothe and calm cats, but what about dogs? In this article, we have explored the effects of catnip on dogs and whether it is safe for them to consume.

We learned that although catnip can have mild benefits for dogs, there are also risks associated with its use. As responsible pet owners, it is important to carefully consider these factors before giving your dog any form of catnip.

Final Thoughts on Whether or Not You Should Give Your Dog Catnip

After reviewing the information provided in this article, it is ultimately up to each pet owner to decide whether or not they want to give their dog catnip. While some studies suggest that small amounts of dried or fresh catnip may offer mild benefits such as stress relief and digestive aid, there are also potential risks such as vomiting and diarrhea.

It is important to note that some dogs may be more sensitive than others to the effects of catnip. As with any herbal supplement or medication, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian before giving your dog any form of catnip.

They can help you determine if it’s safe based on your dog’s medical history and current health status. Additionally, if you do choose to give your dog catnip, always start with a small amount and monitor their reaction closely.

While catnip may seem like a harmless treat for dogs who love a little bit of extra stimulation or relaxation from time-to-time – the reality is much more complicated than simply being “good” or “bad”. Owners should carefully consider the potential benefits and risks associated with this herb when deciding whether or not to give their furry friend some treats containing this ingredient.

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