Can I Give My Dog Catnip?

Can I Give My Dog Catnip?Everyone knows that cats get a buzz from catnip, but dogs don’t respond to this natural stimulant in the same way. That does not mean there’s nothing noteworthy or useful about introducing this curious plant to your furry friend.

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Felines and dogs usually react to catnip quite differently. Some would say the effects are exactly the opposite. But not all canines, or even kitties, are noticeably affected by Nepeta cataria.

What’s surprising is that both types of pets may benefit from this perennial herb AKA catmint or catswort. Learn about some excellent, yet little-known, catnip uses for your dog’s sake!

Can I Give My Dog Catnip? Answer: Yes

This herbaceous plant, from the mint family, may have a sedative effect which could come in handy in certain situations.

You can safely allow your pet dog to sniff at or even eat a bit of catnip. The herb is edible and not harmful. Just don’t expect to see any rolling around on the ground like a cat would. Instead, you’ll likely see your dog scrutinizing catnip by licking and smelling at it. Lots of pet parents say their buddies are indifferent to this stimulant. Others report that catnip works fairly well for their dogs, in a calming way, which can be great.

Keep reading to learn more about some other uses for catnip as it applies to dogs.

Other Uses for Catswart

Most folks don’t know that catnip can help to heal wounds, relieve gastrointestinal discomfort and even work as a diuretic. So, for example, if your dog has a minor external cut or scrap you can apply some fresh catnip as a natural antiseptic.

It contains thymol which has antibacterial and healing properties. Likewise, if your dog has stomach problems then you may have success by mixing a bit of catmint in with their food.

The nepetalactone in catnip even repels mosquitoes which may be the best use of all when it comes to your pet pooch!

Mild Sedation for Dogs

It’s not clear why canines react to catnip in an opposite way. Some dogs will experience sedation and that isn’t necessary a bad thing. If you are planning on traveling then perhaps catnip can come in handy, especially if your dog gets nervous during trips.

Canine anxiety is quite common and while catnip may help, consider a calming product designed specifically for dogs.

Catnip & Curious Canines

Dogs are drawn to catnip and other herbs mostly out of curiosity, rather than the chemical attractant properties it definitely has for most cats.

So the key compound found in catmint, called Nepetalactone, does not work as a trigger for dogs. That said, a bit of catnip can still be fruitful for Fido for all the reasons we have already discussed.

Some Catmint Alternatives

Anise is one possible alternative to catnip for dogs, though it probably won’t make Fido behave like a cat! But really, if you want to produce the same effect that cats experience then get your pet dog a quality play toy.

If, on the other hand, you are looking for a soothing or calming effect then take a look at the pet version of Rescue Remedy.

Conclusion on Catnip

Hounds often react to catnip in a different way compared to cats. Results vary and some dogs don’t respond to catswort at all. In any case, you can allow your pet to sniff and even eat small amounts of catnip on occasion. It’s not toxic for dogs though it is potentially sedative.

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Dr. Stephanie Flansburg Cruz, a practicing vet, has reviewed and endorsed this article. She has 3 dogs of her own and cares about the welfare of all animals.


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