Does Catnip Affect Dogs?


We all know that felines go crazy for catnip, but how do dogs react to it?

As different as these animals are, both of them often enjoy this herb. You’ll likely discover some interesting new things about your pet in this article.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is technically an herb called nepeta cataria. It has been used over the past thousands of years for making tea. Some peoples across the planet have even smoked it on a regular basis. The nepetalactone in this herb is what drives your cat so crazy in such entertaining ways. This herb is actually a member of the mint family.

Giving Your Dog Catnip Toys

It is perfectly safe for a vast majority of dogs to play with catnip toys. In fact, lots of canines love them. Just make sure that you don’t give them any toys that they could potentially choke on. This means avoiding ones that have a little squeaker inside. It is especially important to keep this in mind if you have a very small dog.

Catnip Tea

You can also give your dog catnip in the form of a tea. As we mentioned above, this herb has been consumed by people across the world in liquid form for many years. You can make it into a tea and pour it into a bowl for them to drink.

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Make sure that you don’t give them any hot tea that could burn their mouth or throat. You don’t want to fill up their entire bowl with it; a cup or so will do just fine.

Some dogs lap up catnip tea right away while others might sniff it a bit before daring to give it a try. You shouldn’t ever try to force your dog to drink it if it doesn’t want to. It might end up sitting in your pet’s bowl for a while before they begin to tentatively drink.

spaniel cat

Effects of Catnip on Dogs

The fact is that dogs can react to catnip in a variety of ways. This means that you won’t really know exactly what affects it will have on your pooch until you put it in front of them. 

There are, however, a number of effects that are common amongst these animals. The more you learn about these possible effects, the better of an idea you will have of what to expect.

Relaxing Properties

Catnip can actually have a very relaxing or soothing effect on dogs. This is why some people give their dogs a little bit when they get worked up. If your canine suffers from anxiety, this is something to keep in mind. You can use this herb to create a tea for your dog, which you can pour right into their water bowl.


When this herb is consumed in liquid form, it can have a diuretic effect on dogs. This basically means that it makes them urinate more. The increased urination can cleanse your dog’s body of potentially harmful toxins.

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Soothing the Stomach

Another common effect that catnip has on dogs is soothing their stomach if it is upset. This can be extremely beneficial if your dog is experiencing nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or even just gas. A little bit of catnip oil can make a big difference with reducing gastrointestinal discomfort.

Antiseptic Effects

Believe it or not, catnip can actually be beneficial when applies to injuries that your dog has sustained. You can put it on an open wound to encourage proper healing. You only need to use a little bit, and it won’t sting at all. The antibacterial properties of this herb also promote healing with minor to moderate injuries.

Stimulates Blood Flow

If your female dog is having trouble menstruating, a small amount of catnip tea could ease their discomfort quite a bit. This is due to the fact that cat nip stimulates blood flow. You should never give catnip to your dog if it is currently pregnant.

golden and cat

Tips for Giving Your Dog Catnip

If you are planning to give your dog catnip, there are a few things that you will want to keep in mind, including:

  • If you give them this herb in the form of a tea, don’t pour more than a full measuring cup worth into their bowl. Smaller dogs can be given half a cup.
  • You should only give your dog a little bit of catnip tea the first time so you can see how they react.
  • Make sure that any toys that have catnip in them do not contain any small pieces your dog could choke on. If they swallow any of their toys, it could cause a potentially fatal intestinal blockage.
  • Put away any catnip toys after your dog is done playing with them.
  • Consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any amount of catnip just to be on the safe side.
  • If you are taking your dog for a walk near catnip plants, you’ll want to make sure they do not eat any. They could have a serious negative reaction if they eat an entire plant or even part of it all at once. Catnip isn’t inherently toxic to these animals, but it shouldn’t be consumed this way.
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  • Cat is not toxic to dogs, and in fact many of them go crazy for it similar to how cats react.
  • You can let your dog play with catnip toys, provided they do not present a choking hazard.
  • Catnip tea has many health benefits for dogs and is safe for them to consume in moderation.
  • You can give your dog catnip tea to ease stomach discomfort, anxiety, or even menstruation issues.
  • This herb is also capable of promoting faster and more thorough healing of wounds.
  • You should only give your dog a little bit of catnip the first time.
  • Giving your dog catnip tea can cause increased urination, which could flush potentially dangerous toxins from their entire system.