What Does Catnip Do To Dogs?


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Catnip is an herb with a strong, pungent smell that is popular among some cats. It is sometimes used as a recreational drug, offering a similar effect on cats as marijuana does on humans. However, cats aren’t the only animals to feel the effects of this herb, dogs can too. What does catnip do to dogs? While the effects of catnip on cats may be well-documented, less is known about what catnip does to dogs. This article will explore the potential effects of catnip on dogs, and provide insight into whether or not it is safe for them.

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Catnip, although often associated with cats, can have some effects on dogs as well. Catnip is a plant with a chemical called nepetalactone that is known to produce a variety of reactions. It is primarily used to stimulate a feeling of well-being in cats but can also have similar effects on dogs.

The most common effect of catnip on dogs is a mild euphoric reaction. Dogs may seem to enter a dream-like or trance-like state, and they may even become more affectionate. They may also exhibit playfulness or increased energy levels.

However, some dogs may also become overly excited and even aggressive when exposed to catnip. It is important to closely monitor your pet’s reaction when introducing it to catnip.

In addition to its effects on dogs’ emotions, catnip may also have some physical effects. It may act as a mild sedative and help to reduce anxiety and even help with pain relief. Additionally, some dogs may suffer from allergies, which can be alleviated with catnip.

It is important to remember that catnip is not an appropriate remedy for all dogs. It is best to consult with your veterinarian or animal behavior specialist before giving your pet any kind of catnip.

What Is Catnip?

Catnip is a plant in the mint family (Nepeta cataria) that produces a chemical called nepetalactone. This chemical acts like a stimulant for cats, causing a playful reaction in most of them when they’re exposed to it. Catnip is commonly used as a recreational toy for cats to sniff, rub, roll, and kick around, sometimes leading to vigorous bouts of activity.

Is Catnip Safe for Dogs?

Catnip is generally safe for dogs to ingest. However, the same mild euphoric effects that cats experience will not occur for dogs. Therefore, if pet owners are looking to provide a calming effect, they should instead consider natural calming aids such as lavender or chamomile. While catnip poses low toxicity risks, it should be used sparingly since too much can cause vomiting or diarrhea in some dogs. Additionally, if ingested consistently, long-term use can lead to decreased appetite and weight loss.

How Long Does Catnip Calm A Dog?

Catnip does not have any calming effects on dogs. In fact, catnip can actually act as a stimulant for dogs, as it contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone that excites their nervous system. This stimulating reaction can lead to increased energy, so it’s not recommended to give catnip to dogs to help them relax.

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How Much Catnip Does It Take To Sedate A Dog?

Catnip does not have the same effects on dogs as it does on cats. Instead of becoming relaxed and mellow, as cats do when exposed to catnip, dogs can become excited or agitated. Therefore, catnip cannot be used to sedate a dog. To sedate a dog, a veterinarian should administer a veterinarian-prescribed sedative. These sedatives come in liquid, tablet, or injectable forms and vary depending on the size of the dog. The dosage is determined by a veterinarian, who takes into consideration the age, weight, breed, and medical condition of the dog. If the dog needs to be sedated for an extended period of time, the veterinarian may suggest an oral sedative that can last longer. Additionally, sedatives can be combined with other medications, such as painkillers, to create a stronger sedative effect. Due to the specific dosage instructions from the veterinarian, it is not recommended for owners to attempt to sedate their own dog with catnip or any other substance.

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Catnip has been known to cause a reaction in cats. Cats that are exposed to the fresh leaves of the catnip plant exhibit an increase in excitement and playful behavior. Although catnip does have an effect on cats, the same cannot be said for dogs. Catnip does not have an effect on dogs and will not make them act differently. However, there is no scientific evidence to support any side effects that catnip causes on dogs. Dietitians suggest that giving your dog a small amount of catnip, in a safe environment, will likely not harm them and may even help in their digestion.

Is Catnip Calming Or Stimulating?

Catnip is an herb from the mint family that is known to have a stimulating effect on cats. It contains a chemical called nepetalactone, which is the primary active ingredient that triggers the response from cats. When nepetalactone is released, cats may display signs of aggression, excitement, or arousal.

The exact response that a cat will have when exposed to catnip is unpredictable. Each cat will respond differently to the herb, and the response can range from acting hyperactive and meowing loudly to chewing and rolling around. Some cats may even display behaviors such as drooling, purring, or crouching.

In addition to being stimulating, catnip can also have calming effects. This is because nepetalactone stimulates the production of endorphins and serotonin, which can have a tranquilizing effect. This can help to soothe an agitated cat and calm them down.

Catnip can also be smoked or consumed as a herbal tea. It has long been used by humans as an herbal remedy for stress, insomnia, headaches, and digestive issues. It has also been known to be a mild sedative.

In general, catnip is both a stimulating and calming substance. It can produce euphoric or stimulating effects in cats, as well as calming effects in humans. While there is no conclusive evidence that any of these effects are beneficial to cats, they are harmless and can even provide a few moments of harmless fun for your feline friend.

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Does Catnip Make Dogs Calm?

No, catnip does not make dogs calm. Catnip is an herb from the mint family that is thought to contain a compound called nepetalactone. This compound is a stimulant that affects cats but not dogs. In cats, nepetalactone can cause many behavioral changes, including calmness in certain cats and playful behavior in others. In dogs, however, the compound has no effect. So while it might seem like cats do get some relaxation effects from catnip, it won’t have the same impact on dogs.

Rather than using catnip to calm dogs, it is much more effective to use proven techniques such as positive reinforcement, exercise, and other forms of conditioning. Additionally, it is important to keep in mind that dogs may respond differently to different situations and should be approached with an understanding of their individual needs and preferences.

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  1. Improved Digestion: Catnip can help to improve a dog’s digestive system, aiding in the healing of issues like gastritis, diarrhea, and intestinal inflammation.
  2. Improved Oral Health: The natural enzymes in catnip have been known to help reduce bad breath and dental plaque in dogs.
  3. Reduced Joint Pain: Catnip contains salicylic acid, which is similar to aspirin and is known to reduce joint pain in both cats and dogs.
  4. Increased Appetite: Catnip can help to stimulate a dog’s appetite, making it an excellent supplement for underweight or picky eaters.
  5. Pest Repellent: Catnip can be used as a natural repellent for fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, making it a great way to keep your pet safe from pests.

Nutrients In Catnip

Catnip is high in iron, calcium, and mineral salts, as well as containing important vitamins and essential oils. Vitamins present in catnip include vitamin A, which helps healthy skin, and thiamin, which helps maintain cellular energy. Catnip is also a source of other vitamins, including vitamins C, B6, and E. Essential oils available in catnip include nepetalactone and limonene, known to have sleep-inducing and sedative effects. Lastly, catnip is a good source of dietary fiber.

Best Catnip For Dogs

While catnip is generally associated with cats, it can also be used in certain forms to entice dogs. Specifically, Bach Rescue Remedy Pet, a tincture of herbal and animal essences that includes catnip can be used to help manage a dog’s stress or anxiety levels. It can be administered by spraying the tincture on the fur or directly in the mouth. KONG Active Catnip Spray is another popular product to introduce to dogs as a way to keep them entertained and active, but many veterinarians and dog breeds recommend exercising caution when introducing any new element into a dog’s diet.

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Some dogs may be allergic to catnip, so it is best to consult with your veterinarian before giving it to your pet.

  1. Prepare the catnip: You can buy fresh or dried catnip from pet stores or online. If you buy dried catnip, it may need to be rehydrated with a small amount of water to make it more attractive for cats to eat.
  2. Bring the catnip out when your dog isn’t looking: Dogs may be tempted by the smell of catnip, so it’s best to bring it out when your dog isn’t looking. Cats usually aren’t fond of being watched when they are indulging in their catnip treat, so it’s best to keep your dog distracted.
  3. Place the catnip in a safe place: An enclosed, well-ventilated area is ideal as it will keep the catnip out of your dog’s reach and away from other cats or animals.
  4. Place a small dish of the catnip near your cat: Since cats are attracted to many smells, including catnip, it’s best to place a small dish of the catnip near your cat for them to find and enjoy.
  5. Monitor your cat’s behavior: Make sure to keep an eye on your cat and ensure they are not ingesting too much catnip. Also, make sure there aren’t any other animals or children near them when they are indulging in their treat.
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What Are The Risks Of Catnip To Dogs?

The risks of catnip to dogs are generally considered minimal, however, as with any product not specifically designed for it, it can potentially have side effects. These may include vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, increased heart rate, and even lethargy. It is therefore recommended that pet owners seek the advice of their veterinarian before giving their dog catnip.


Q. How does catnip affect a dog?

A. Catnip does not have the same effect on dogs as it does on cats. Rather than making them excited, it tends to have a sedative effect. Dogs can be given catnip as a mild sedative if they are anxious or hyperactive in order to help them to relax. However, it is important to note that catnip is not suitable for all dogs and should be used in moderation.

Q. Is catnip calming for dogs?

A. No, catnip is only calming for cats. In fact, it may have the opposite effect on dogs and cause them to become more excitable.

Q. Can I give my dog catnip every day?

A. No. Catnip should not be given to dogs every day, as it can have a sedative effect and should not be used in excess. It is safe to give your dog catnip in moderation, but only when appropriate and in small doses.

Q. Do dogs play with catnip?

A. No, dogs do not typically play with catnip.


In short, catnip does not have any effect on dogs. It does not produce a calming, relaxing, or stimulating effect in dogs as it does in cats. Thus, it is not recommended to give catnip to dogs, as it may cause gastrointestinal issues. Instead, owners should look for natural supplements and calming aids that have been specially formulated for dogs.


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