If you’ve ever seen a cat on catnip you probably wondered if it’s something you can give your dog for the same comedic effect. The answer, unfortunately, is that dogs don’t respond to it the way cats do, so it’s really not something you should give them.
There is some rumor going around that you can give them anise instead of catnip, and that it produces the same effect, but we were unable to substantiate these claims, and will leave it as a trial and error process for you. Some owners said their dogs responded to it the same way a cat responds to catnip, others say they didn’t really do anything funny, they just like eating it.
It’s also been noted that some dogs actually do respond to it, and seem to like it. So it can’t hurt to give it a go with your dog to see what kind of response you get. Just don’t be disappointed when they don’t do anything special. No two dogs are the same, between different breeds, different upbringing, and different genetics, so it’s really a matter of trying it out if you have some handy.
Can I Give My Dog Catnip? Answer: No Effect
Dogs don’t respond to catnip, and it’s OK if they sniff it or even eat some, it’s not going to make them roll around on the ground and act any differently than they normally would. In fact, it will probably be a huge disappointment when you see them sniff it or lick it and then go about their business completely indifferent to it.
Catnip is unique in that it really only has an effect on cats. Even big cats respond to it and have been known to go gaga for it. It can be really funny to see a giant ferocious cat rolling on the ground in what can only be described as euphoria.
Dogs are Fun Already
The reason it’s fun to give a cat catnip is because they show traits that they typically don’t show. They act out of the ordinary, they break their usual reserved and refined cat etiquette and start acting, well, stoned. The reason you don’t really need a dog equivalent of catnip is that dogs are already themselves, they just do what they feel like doing 24/7 so you don’t have to get them out of their shell or try to take down the wall they put up. It’s just not there to begin with.
We already mentioned anise as one possible alternative to catnip for dogs, but our main point here is that dogs don’t really need catnip, they are already getting a big enough kick out of life. If you want to produce the same effect, get them a toy. Unlike cats, dogs stay playful even late into life and will usually light up when they get a new toy, especially one that squeaks or makes noise. Get them up and moving around with a game of fetch or tug of war. That will also give them the added benefit of getting activity and exercise.
You can also give them the occasional dog treat, especially when you’re teaching them new tricks. They will love that and will get just as much enjoyment from it than they would with something like catnip.
Is Catnip a Drug?
Catnip is just an herb, a plant, and the only thing that makes it unique is the way cats respond to it. It’s amazing how fast the effects kick in, if they just get a sniff of it they’ve been known to immediately hit the floor and start rolling around, basically as if they were high. It’s even been documented that cats can overdose on it, looking like something of a dope fiend as they just can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. It’s as if they are trying to get the catnip to become a part of them.
It’s not considered a drug, as it’s not medicinal, and doesn’t have any major health benefits and doesn’t treat any disease. It is just something fun for cat owners, but unfortunately probably not something for dog owners.