What Is the Dog Equivalent of Catnip?

Have you ever wondered: “Is there a catnip alternative for dogs?” since you want your doggy to experience the same euphoria cats do?

Well, the dog equivalent of catnip is anise, and we tell you all about it below.

Let’s get to it

Why Is Anise the Dog’s Catnip?

Most dog owners who know about catnip and its effects wonder if they can give some to their pups to make them feel the same elation cats feel.

While catnip is safe for dogs to ingest, it only mellows them out and provides some benefits; but there is a plant that simulates catnip-like effects in dogs.

Found mostly in the eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia, anise is a flowering plant used to flavor foods, drinks, and candy; however, it has one additional use: it stirs similar feelings in dogs as those stimulated by catnip.

When dried and crushed, this ‘dognip’ releases a substance called anethole, which attracts and affects dogs just like the nepetalactone found in catnip.

Dogs sensitive to anise become excited and playful when exposed to it, and when they pick it up with their advanced sense of smell, they are attracted and energized by it—unlike catnip, which mellows out certain cats.

Note: Due to its strong smell and unique qualities, anise is also used in canine nose training programs like AKC’s Scent Work program.

Dog Equivalent of Catnip

Should Dogs Have Anise?

Now that you are familiar with the effects of aniseed on dogs, you might be wondering if it’s truly safe and how much to give to your dog.

As a rule of thumb, use anise conservatively, as it will have the same effect in small quantities thanks to its potent aroma. Should you mistakenly give your doggo too much aniseed, it will typically lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

On the other hand, a small group of dogs might not even be attracted by or react to anise. And among those that do, some may even dislike or react badly to the scent, regardless of the amount you give them.

Note: If unsure as to the amount of anise you should give your dog and whether or not to give it any, contact a veterinarian for dosage advice for your specific breed.

Check out ASPCA’s list of toxic plants that you should keep away from your dogs.

How to Give Anise to Your Dog?

Dog Equivalent of CatnipBefore offering anise to your doggo, grind or crush the seeds to release the aroma. Do not overdo it since you only need a few seeds. Then, either fill your dog’s toys with a small amount or sprinkle some on its food to boost the flavor.

Try to avoid using aniseed essential oil since it’s a very concentrated form of anise and should not be ingested or come into contact with the dog’s skin.

Remember, never use it at night since your dog will want to play or exercise to deplete its anise-fueled burst of energy. Try it out before going for a walk in the park; by the time it gets dark, your pup will have spent all its energy.

Key Takeaways

Anise is perfect for motivating your dog to play, exercise, or work. Its effects will last several hours, after which your pup will become sleepy. Just put some on its toys, or make some tasty anise cookies that both of you can enjoy.


What does anise do for dogs?

In addition to giving them a boost of energy and happiness, anise may be helpful as a digestive aid for dogs to relieve bloating and gas.

Can dogs have anise cookies?

Yes, dogs can have anise cookies as long as they do not contain any other ingredients your pooch cannot digest, such as salt and chocolate.

Are there any anise dog toys?

As the dog equivalent of catnip, anise is also often used in doggy toys to encourage them to play and improve their mood.


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