Catnip is a dog-friendly herb rich in minerals such as magnesium, vitamins C and E, tannins, and flavonoids. While catnip is popularly known to be a stimulant for cats, it has the opposite effect on pooches and makes them calm and relaxed.
Discover how catnip affects dogs and whether it can be safely used to remedy certain health and behavioral problems in canines.
What Is Catnip?
Scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, catnip is a member of the mint family. Its leaves, seedpods, and stems are coated with a stimulant chemical called nepetalactone.
Cats love catnip. Believed to mimic feline pheromones, nepetalactone in catnip has a psychedelic effect on felines, making them feel “high.” If you give cats catnip, they may become hyperactive, and their trippy behavior can last up to 10 minutes.
Around 50% of felines are affected by catnip. Surprisingly, even the big cats in the wild, including cougars, tigers, and lions, are susceptible to the herb’s effects.
Does Catnip Work on Dogs?
No, catnip does not affect canines the same way it does to felines. So, what happens if you give a dog catnip? The nepetalactone will not trigger any trippy effect on dogs; thus, do not expect your pooch to feel buzzed upon sniffing the herb.
What Does Catnip Do to Dogs?
Some observed that the catnip’s effects on felines are opposite to canines. This herb is a mild sedative to dogs, producing a calming effect on them. If sniffed, they will feel relaxed and sleepy.
Can Dogs Have Catnip Even If It Does Not Work on Them?
Yes, dogs can have catnip as it is a safe herb for them. The herb will not make them feel euphoric and delirious, and it offers many health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of catnip to dogs:
- Improves sleep
The sedative effects of catnip on dogs can aid in regulating their sleeping patterns. It is great for pooches that tend to stay up at night, disturbing their snoozing pawrents.
- Soothes anxiety
As mentioned before, catnip acts as a sedative for dogs. Whenever your dog gets nervous or stressed, give him some catnip. As you read on, you will know how to do this.
But keep in mind that the sedative effect of catnip on dogs may vary. Some may not react, while others will become calmer.
- Good for healing wounds
Catnip for dogs is a natural antiseptic as it contains thymol, which has antimicrobial properties. The herb can be used to treat external wounds. You can apply fresh catnip leaves or catnip oil on minor wounds or scratches on your dog.
- Alleviates tummy problems
Why can dogs eat catnip? It keeps dogs’ digestive systems healthy. When used on dogs, catnip has a wonderful ability to ease various digestive issues. It can help relieve indigestion, nausea, and carsickness in dogs.
- Excellent for flea prevention
The nepetalactone in catnip is an effective flea deterrent for dogs and cats. Research also shows that the herb can drive away mosquitoes.
Dog owners can place catnip plants around their homes will prevent flea and mosquito infestation. Sprinkling catnip on your dog’s bed and his favorite areas in the house also helps deter fleas.
- Works as a diuretic
Catnip oil promotes healthy urination in your dog. It works wonders in keeping his urinary tract and kidney in good shape. Aside from that, catnip oil also helps in flushing out extra water, toxins, and bacteria.
Mind that catnip oil should be used on dogs in moderation. Too much can lead dogs to urinate excessively, leading to dehydration.
Can Pregnant Dogs Have Catnip?
No, avoid giving pregnant dogs catnip. The herb acts as a uterine stimulant, which can put pregnant dams at high risk of birth complications and premature labor.
Can Dogs Have Catnip Treats?
Yes, dogs can have catnip treats. Just make sure that these are specifically made for both dogs and cats. This guarantees that the catnip treats offer good nutrition to your pooch.
Most cat treats are safe for dogs, but it does not meet their nutritional requirements. Cat treats tend to be high in calories; thus, they are fattening for dogs.
Can Dogs Have Catnip Toys?
No, do not give catnip toys to dogs because these are dangerous for them. Most catnip toys’ size is intended for felines; hence, they are small for most dogs apart from toy breeds. Pooches may accidentally swallow and choke on the cat toys.
The other problem with giving catnip toys to dogs is that they usually contain bells and fillings. If a dog rips them out and ingests them, they may suffer from stomach blockage. A removal surgery may be necessary to save their life.
How Can I Give Catnip Safely to My Dog?
Now that we know the answer to the question, “Can dogs have catnip?” it is time to know what dosage is safe for dogs. For anxious and nervous canines, it is recommended to sprinkle up to ½ teaspoon of dried catnip on their food.
Dogs suffering from stomach problems can benefit from drinking water that contains fresh catnip leaves. Brewing catnip tea and pouring it into their food or water works too.
Is There Catnip for Dogs?
Yes, there is—it is anise. It is a spice used in various cuisines from Mexico to Italy. Mind that anise should not be mistaken for star anise.
The licorice flavor of anise is super enticing to pooches. Many videos on the internet show how dogs become hyperactive when given anise seed dog treats.
Did you know that anise oil is used on lures for racing Greyhounds? This encourages them to chase after the lure around the track. Anise is also used to make a trail for Foxhounds to follow when “drag hunting.”
How Much Anise Can You Give to Your Dog?
Anise is a safe treat for dogs, but it should be offered in moderation. The rule of thumb is to add around 3–5 dry anise seeds to a pound of dog food.
Grind the seeds into powder and sprinkle small amounts on the treats. Ingesting large quantities of the spice should be avoided as it can cause digestive problems and nervous system depression in dogs.
Do not place anise on dog toys. Your pooch may tear the toy and ingest the inedible materials inside.
When it comes to anise essential oil, there is an ongoing debate about whether it is safe to use on canines or not. Beware, as numerous essential oils are highly potent to dogs. For your dog’s safety, it is best to avoid using anise essential oil.