Is Catnip for Dogs Safe? Effects & Benefits

Is Catnip for Dogs Safe? Effects & Benefits - May 2024 - Two Tails Pet Company

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If you own a cat, you may have heard of what catnip is and its benefits. But, did you know that it can also affect dogs?

Catnip, also known as Nepeta cataria, is a plant in the mint family. It contains nepetalactone, which is a compound that produces a euphoric and calming reaction in your pets. 

In this post, we explore if catnip for dogs is safe and what potential effects and benefits it can have on our pups. Read on!

Is Catnip Safe for Your Dog?

According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, catnip is generally considered safe for dogs and is even classified as non-toxic. However, just like with anything else, moderation is key.

Excessive consumption of catnip can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, which is definitely not what we want for our pups. Additionally, it's important to note that catnip affects each animal differently, and some dogs may not respond to it at all. 

Besides, as with any new treatment or supplement, it's always best to consult with your veterinarian first to ensure that it's safe for your individual pup and won't interact negatively with any medications they may be taking.

Key Takeaways

  • Catnip is safe and non-toxic for dogs. However, it's important to use it in moderation to avoid any potential side effects.
  • Catnip contains vitamins and beneficial nutrients for dogs
  • If you want your dog to get the perks of catnip, you can add about 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of this herb to their food.

    How Does Catnip Affect Dogs?

    Catnip affects dogs differently than it does cats. While catnip can make cats feel relaxed and euphoric, it has a milder effect on dogs.

    However, it can be helpful for some dogs in a few different ways. For example, it can act as a mild sedative for calming dogs who struggle with separation anxiety or who are nervous in new situations. It can also be a great tool during puppy training.

    In addition to its calming properties, catnip has also been used as a sleep aid for dogs. Again, this is due to the herb's mild sedative effects. If your dog struggles with insomnia or has trouble settling down at night, a small amount of catnip may be worth trying.

    Finally, catnip is also known for its antiseptic properties. The herb contains natural compounds that can help kill bacteria and prevent infection. Some dog owners have used catnip as a natural wound dressing or to soothe skin irritations. 

    While it's not a substitute for proper medical care, catnip can be a helpful addition to your dog's first aid kit.


    • Catnip has calming effects
    • It can help with problems such as anxiety, stress, fear of thunders, and insomnia.
    • It contains a wide collection of nutrients, including essential acids and minerals such as magnesium and vitamins C and E. Plus, there are some special organic compounds in there that really do the trick for your dog.
    • It can help reduce the symptoms and pain of specific illnesses like arthritis.
    • It can help in promoting healthy digestion and reducing stomach issues in dogs
    • It contains natural insect-repelling properties that can help protect your dog from pesky bugs and fleas.
    • It can be a useful training aid when used in moderation (especially for puppies)
    • It can help reduce boredom and destructive behavior in dogs.
    • It has no known harmful side effects if you use it appropriately.

    Should You Give Catnip to Dogs?

    Yes, you can give catnip to dogs. However, there are some important considerations. Catnip has mild calming effects on dogs and can help reduce feelings of anxiety, excitement, or stress. 

    However, it's important to note that there are certain situations where you shouldn't give catnip to dogs. For instance, if your furry friend is pregnant, it's best to avoid giving them catnip as it can cause uterine contractions and lead to premature labor.

    Also, if your pup is taking any other medications or has any known heart or urinary problems, it's best to avoid giving them catnip. It could end up making their condition worse!

    Overall, catnip can be a safe and enjoyable addition to your dog's routine, but always make sure to exercise caution and monitor their reaction to it.

    How to Give Catnip to Your Dog

    If you’ve been given the green light by your vet to give your dog some catnip, you might be wondering about the best ways to go about it. Here are a few great ideas: 

    • Sprinkle a small amount of dried catnip on their food. You can also stuff a toy or pillow with catnip and give it to your dog to play with.
    • Apply catnip essential oil to your dog’s skin. If your dog is having some skin irritations or insect bites, you can use catnip essential oil to help alleviate those issues. However, make sure to mix it with a carrier oil before doing so.
    • Combine valerian root and catnip. This mixture is known to be helpful in calming dogs down. Just mix some dried catnip and valerian root together and either put it in your dog's toy or add it to their food.
    • Give your dog some catnip pills. These pills are usually formulated with natural catnip extracts and other ingredients that can help calm anxious or stressed dogs. It's important to make sure that the ingredients in the pill are safe for your dog and don't interact negatively with any other medications they may be taking.

    It's also important to follow the recommended dosage instructions. Giving your dog too much catnip can lead to lethargy, loss of coordination, and even vomiting. As a general rule, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or veterinary technician to determine the appropriate dosage for your dog, depending on its size, weight, and health status.

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