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Right up front: While cats get a big buzz from catnip, dogs do not really respond to this natural stimulant — at least in a manner one would expect.
Truth be told, felines and canines react to catnip quite differently. Some say the effects are exactly the opposite!
But here’s the good news:
Despite Nepeta cataria’s inability to elicit a playful reaction, your dog may still benefit from this perennial herb (AKA catmint or catswort).
Catnip is Safe For Dogs
This herbaceous plant, from the mint family, can actually have a sedative effect.
In any case, your dog can be allowed to sniff at or even eat a bit of catnip. It’s not harmful for hounds. In fact, it is edible.
Just don’t expect to see any rolling around like you would with a cat!
Your dog may scrutinize catnip by licking and smelling at it. They could also be totally indifferent to this particular stimulant.
Still, there are several other uses for catnip as it applies to dogs. Keep reading!
Catswart Does Have Benefits
Catnip can help to heal wounds, relieve gastrointestinal discomfort and even be a diuretic.
A dog with a minor external cut or scrap can benefit from fresh catnip (as a natural antiseptic).
The reason is it contains thymol which has antibacterial and healing properties.
Does your dog have stomach issues?
You may have success mixing a bit of catmint in with food.
And that’s not all! The nepetalactone in catnip repels mosquitoes. This may be the best use when it comes to your pet pooch!
A Sedative Effect For Dogs
It is not completely clear why dogs react to catnip in an opposite way.
Some dogs experience mild sedation which isn’t necessary a bad thing.
We think travel is when catnip comes in handy (especially if the dog gets nervous on trips).
And it may help for canine anxiety in general. Although consider a calming product that’s designed specifically for dogs.
Many say catnip works well for their buddies, in a calming way, which is great.
Catnip And Your Canine
Dogs are drawn to catnip and other herbs mostly out of curiosity and not for the chemical attractant properties that are applicable to cats.
The key compound in catmint (called Nepetalactone) is not an effective trigger for a pet dog.
But, again, a bit of catnip can still be fruitful for all the reasons we have discussed here.
Any Catmint Alternatives?
Anise is a good alternative to catnip (though it still will not make Fido behave like a cat)!
Get your dog a good play toy to produce a similar effect that cats experience. That’s the closest you can get to the overwhelming joyousness that felines display.
Looking for a soothing or calming effect?
Take a look at Rescue Remedy Natural Stress Relief for Pets.
The Bottom Line
Most dogs do not noticeably respond to catnip.
But you can allow an occasional sniff, and even permit your pet to eat small amounts.
You do not have to worry about catnip being toxic for your dog — though it could be sedative.