Is Catnip Bad For Dogs? Is It Safe?
Category_Dog Knowledge

Is Catnip Bad For Dogs? Is It Safe?

by Andrew Ehlert

Many Americans live in a home with dogs as well as cats, and this makes it common for toys and treats to be shared accidentally. Everyone loves to see a dog and cat play together but there are a few potential issues that you must keep an eye on. One of the most common questions we hear about in this type of home is if Catnip is bad for dogs.

If your cat plays with toys that contain catnip or you have catnip around at your home then it is possible for your dog to come in contact with it. In this article, we will talk about catnip for dogs and what pet parents need to know about the substance.

What Is Catnip?

Catnip is considered to be an herb that comes from the same plant family of mint which is a commonly utilized spice. Catnip contains an active compound called nepetalactone which is located within the leaves of the plant, the pods, and even coats the stem of the plant. When most cats interact with catnip, it gives them a burst of energy or a buzz that makes them act excited. This is because of how the active compound interacts with the central nervous system of the cat, but catnip doesn't have the same effect on dogs or humans.

The herbs available in catnip and the active compound nepetalactone are actually used by humans as a calming tea drink. This drink is often referred to as catnip tea or nepetalactone tea. This type of tea is known for its calming effect on humans and is utilized to improve relaxation and reduce anxiety.

So now that you know what catnip is, how it impacts cats, and how it impacts humans. It is time to learn about catnip for dogs.

Catnip For Dogs: Is It Safe For Pups?

So is catnip safe for dogs? The answer is yes, catnip for dogs is safe and actually has a few potential health benefits for your dog. Cat's typically have a much different impact to catnip compared to dogs or humans. Cat's will get overexcited and hyper when they consume catnip but dogs will actually see a calming effect similar to how humans react to the herbs within catnip.

Most catnip brands will contain a variety of different vitamins, minerals, and beneficial herbs. These ingredients and vitamins can help to provide a relaxing relief to your dog but can also improve the overall health of your dog by providing beneficial nutrients to their health.

Catnip contains a few important nutrients such as:

  • Essential Oils
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Antioxidants
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Iridoids
  • Tannins

Adding additional minerals, vitamins, and compounds can help to alleviate discomfort for your dog and improve overall health.

How Does Catnip Affect Dogs?

Along with providing these beneficial minerals and vitamins to your dog's diet, catnip can help to calm your dog down and help alleviate certain conditions such as anxiety or nervousness.

Below are a few other health issues that occasional catnip might be able to help with:

Help With Dog Sleeping Issues

Many dogs will struggle to sleep on a consistent basis because of a variety of different issues. If your dog is having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, then catnip can help to calm them and allow for healthy sleeping patterns. Similar to how catnip impacts humans, catnip can act as a mild sedative for dogs which can help them relax and get some rest.

Can Help With Anxiety or Nervousness

Many dogs will get anxious or nervous when they go out in public, get their fur groomed, or go to the veterinarian. Many pet parents will resort to Benadryl for dogs or Melatonin for dogs during these stressful situations to help them relax. But catnip can be used to help your dog relax and calm down before going to the vet or the groomer. A small amount of catnip roughly 30 minutes to an hour beforehand can help them calm down and relax before a stressful situation.

Protect Your Dog From Insects

One unique benefit that has been reported about catnip for dogs is its ability to protect dogs from certain types of insects. The smell of catnip and the overall herbal compounds can help to protect your pets from mosquitoes and even fleas. This is not an alternative for flea medication but can be used occasionally to give your dog further protection from these types of insects or bugs.

How Often Can Dogs Have Catnip?

Catnip shouldn't be given to dogs on a routine basis as it shouldn't be used as a daily supplement. Catnip should only be used occasionally and should be utilized as an acute tool to alleviate specific issues such as temporary anxiety before going to the vet. If you are looking for a daily supplement alternative for your dog then you can take a look at our collection of daily dog supplements!

There isn't a perfect answer to how often you can give your dog catnip as each dog has a different health profile, different medical needs, and are different breeds and sizes. We recommend speaking with your veterinarian before giving your dog any new type of food, treat, or ingredient. Catnip should be used sparingly and only in small quantities as it only takes a small amount to impact your dog.

How Can I Give Catnip To My Dog?

There are many different ways that you can give your dog catnip. It should only be given to your dog sparingly but you can sprinkle a half-teaspoon of catnip over your dog's food. Another method is to put a small amount of catnip directly into your dog's water bowl so it dissolves into the water and becomes easy for your dog to consume.

It is important to note that you should always monitor how your dog reacts when you give them catnip for the first time or any food for the first time. You should monitor how they react to the flavor and make sure they don't have any allergies that you didn't know about. If your dog doesn't like the smell or taste of catnip, it is best to not force them to eat it.

Let's Stay Connected