Cats have all the fun! If you’ve ever had a cat that loves catnip, you might also be wondering about catnip for dogs. But can dogs have catnip? Will it even have the same effect?
The good news is that catnip is safe for dogs. It is non-toxic and safe to eat, but wait! Before you decide to give your dog a quick buzz, it’s important to know how it affects your dog and how to safely deliver it.
When it comes to herbs, oils, or spices, it is best to understand the benefits and precautions before offering it to your dog. To get started, let’s take a look at what catnip is.
What is catnip?
Take a deep puff of fresh or dried catnip, and you may find that it smells vaguely familiar. This is because catnip is part of the mint family. Catnip has several different names: catnip, catmint, and its scientific name nepeta cataria, but we’ll stick with old catnip.
Although this popular plant is best known for its stimulating effect on cats, catnip is also a popular ornamental plant for gardens. It is also an effective repellant against common garden pests such as aphids. For more information, check out this ultimate guide to catnip.
Does catnip work on dogs?
It might sound strange, especially given the name, but dogs are also drawn to catnip. You may have noticed your dog’s obsession with your cat’s catnip toys. Sure, they’re small and fun, but it’s the scent that makes them irresistible.
We know that catnip is not toxic to dogs, but does it have the same effect on dogs as it does on cats? In most cases, no. Catnip for dogs generally provides a softening effect instead of the stimulating response of many cats.
If you have an overactive puppy at home, this may seem like a positive effect, but just like cats, some dogs will not have an attraction to grass.
Benefits of catnip for dogs
Even if your dog is not interested in the plant, catnip can still have benefits for your dog if the plant is ingested. We’ve broken down 3 of the most notable catnip benefits for dogs:
1. Calming aid
Catnip generally has the opposite effect on dogs than it does on cats. Instead of being a stimulant, catnip is a mild sedative for dogs. It can be used to reduce stress, arousal, and even fear reactions caused by anxiety.
2. Digestive aid
Catnip can also be used to reduce gas and digestive discomfort. When ingested, it can prevent gas formation and reduce cramps. That means less dog farts! If your dog is showing signs of minor digestive issues, such as diarrhea or constipation, the antispasmodic properties of catnip may help by soothing the intestinal walls. It can reduce pain and improve digestion.
3. Urinary and renal care
You can use catnip to promote healthy urination. This may not seem like a particularly positive quality to you, but it is a great way to promote urinary tract and kidney health.
Using a mild diuretic, such as catnip, can help your dog flush out toxins, bacteria, and debris that could lead to urinary tract infections, stones, or blockages. In combination with products like cranberry powder, catnip can help prevent recurrent urinary tract infections.
Remember, the more they pee, the more they will need to drink to avoid dehydration. Consider adding wet food to your dog’s diet or offering bone broth as a treat. This will keep your pet hydrated and help flush their system.
The dangers of catnip for dogs: too many good things
So is catnip safe for dogs? Yes, but before you get him addicted to cat green you need to know how to safely feed your dog catnip. So far, catnip seems to be pretty beneficial, but giving your dog too much of the good stuff can also be bad. Giving your dog too much pinching can actually cause digestive issues, vomiting, and respiratory depression.
How Much Catnip Can Dogs Have?
When introducing catnip to your dog, be sure to do it little by little. 1/8 c. Having tea mixed with their food or water for the day is a good place to start for a small to medium sized dog. Large breeds can have 1/4 teaspoon per day. Speak to your veterinarian before offering catnip to dogs that are on medication or have illnesses or illnesses. Prevention is always better than cure.
Pregnant dogs cannot have catnip
If your dog is pregnant, offering catnip is a significant risk. It can act as a uterine stimulant, which can lead to preterm labor or birth complications. This also goes for cats, so if you have a pregnant pet in the house, be sure to keep all catnip out of reach. Replace toys with options without catnip until your pet has given birth.
Anise: the best catnip for dogs
If you are looking for something that will give your dog a dose of playful energy, like catnip for cats, you should try anise. Anise is the unofficial “dognip”.
Anise is a plant from the same family as carrots and celery. Anise has a licorice flavor and has long been used as a digestive aid in humans. While some dogs react to the scent of anise and some do not, the strong scent will attract your dog whether or not they react to catnip.
Anise oil can be used on toys to stimulate playtime and encourage physical activity. Anise is also an effective gas reducer, like catnip. Feeding anise seeds or oil can help reduce gas and improve digestion.
A little goes a long way
Just like offering catnip to your dog, anise should be administered in moderation. A small pinch of crushed seeds or a few drops of essential oil is all you need to achieve the positive effects. You can add anise to a variety of food formats, or you can add anise to your favorite homemade recipes like treats, bone broth, or dogicles.
Does your dog like catnip? If you’ve tried Catnip or ‘Dognip’ with your puppy, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Krystn is the content writer for Homesalive.ca. She is passionate about pet nutrition and has worked in the pet industry for over a decade. Krystn enjoys sharing his passion for animal welfare with others. She loves all animals, but is currently channeling some crazy pussy vibes with her five adorable but rebellious cats.