This question often comes up when talking about pets. Most people know that catnip can make cats act crazy or mellow.
But what about dogs? Is catnip bad for dogs? Can they get into trouble if they eat or chew on catnip?
The short answer is no. Keep on reading to find out more.
Is Catnip Bad for Dogs
Catnip is generally used to refer to the leaves and stems of the plant Nepeta cataria, which is in the mint family. The oils in catnip contain nepetalactone, which is a chemical compound that can be found in other plants as well. When a cat inhales or ingests catnip, it can cause them to roll or run around, rub its head and chin a lot, or become more playful. It includes a wide range of essential nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin E, tannis, magnesium, essential oils, and flavonoids.
Some people think that because catnip affects cats as a stimulant, it might have a similar effect on dogs. It’s both true and false. Catnip is not harmful to dogs and is beneficial in many ways.
They may not become hyperactive like cats, but it helps relieve anxiety and stress and can be used as a training tool. Catnip is safe for dogs and can provide several benefits when used in small amounts.
It doesn’t affect all dogs the same way, with some displaying no reaction. If you’ve never given your dog catnip, it’s best to start with a small amount to see how (and whether) they react. Too much catnip can have the opposite effect of what you’re going for, but catnip can be a helpful tool when used correctly. This leads us to our next point.
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How Does Catnip Work on Dogs
What are the effects of catnip on dogs? Now that we know catnip is dog-friendly, it’s time to explain why. Here are some of the most common scenarios:
1. Your pup is anxious.
Many dogs experience anxiety when going to the vet or groomer. Catnip can help soothe these nerves and ease anxiety in dogs.
To give your dog the benefits of catnip, simply sprinkle some on their food, water, or toys about 30 minutes before the event that is causing them anxiety. You get the best effect when dogs ingest the catnip. If your dog is prone to anxiety, catnip can act as a sedative and help take the edge off.
2. Your dog has problems with digestion.
Catnip can help soothe the gastrointestinal tract and relieve symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Additionally, it can help stimulate appetite and promote healthy digestion.
When used in moderation, catnip is generally safe for dogs and can be a helpful natural remedy for digestive problems.
3. Your dog can’t sleep.
Dogs typically sleep between 14 to 22 hours a day, so anything below that is a red flag. We mentioned that catnip acts as a sedative for canines, so it can help them sleep.
Catnip can cause your dog to become drowsy and fall asleep when ingested. This is why many pet owners give their dogs catnip periodically before bedtime to help them get a good night’s sleep.
4. You can use it as a natural antiseptic.
This goes for minor injuries only. Simply crush a few fresh catnip leaves and apply them to the affected area. You can also make a compress by soaking a cloth in a strong infusion of catnip tea.
Apply this to the injury for 10–15 minutes several times a day and if it doesn’t help, make sure to go to the vet as quickly as possible.
5. You can use it as a flea and mosquito deterrent.
As any pet owner knows, fleas and mosquitoes can be a real nuisance. They are annoying and can also carry diseases that harm pets and humans. If you live in an area with many mosquitoes, you may want to consider planting catnip around the perimeter of your property.
This will keep mosquitoes from coming into your yard in the first place. You can also make a catnip-infused spray to use on your dog. Simply add a few tablespoons of dried catnip to a spray bottle filled with water and shake well. Then, spray your dog’s coat before going outside.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t use catnip on your dog daily. While it’s fine to give them a little now and then (no more than half a teaspoon), giving them too much can have negative effects. It’s always better to consult your veterinarian before giving your dog any kind of supplement to be safe.
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How Long Does Catnip Last on Dogs
The effect of catnip on dogs is relatively short-lived, typically lasting no more than ten minutes. However, some dogs may be more sensitive to catnip than others, and the effects may last longer. Don’t rely just on catnip to quiet your dog. If done frequently enough, it may produce habituation, and the dog will grow less sensitive to it.
As always, it’s best to consult your vet before giving your dog any supplement, including catnip. A good way to give your dog catnip is to put half a teaspoon in their water or food bowl. You can also purchase toys specifically designed for dogs and rub or spray them with the herb. Just supervise your pup while they’re enjoying their catnip treat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do dogs like catnip?
Since it’s a sedative for them, most dogs seem to be in a daze or even fall asleep. No matter how your dog reacts, it’s clear that they’re enjoying themselves!
How much catnip can I give my dog?
You can give your dog about 1/2 teaspoon of catnip when needed. A little goes a long way!
Can dogs play with catnip toys?
Cat toys are typically too small for dogs and can be a choking hazard. While it’s tempting to give your dog a toy that will make them feel good, it’s best to stick with toys designed specifically for dogs. That way, you know they’re safe and won’t cause harmful accidents.
So, is catnip bad for dogs? Not at all! In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Catnip can be good for your canine friend, providing many health benefits. However, like with anything else, moderation is key. Now that you know all about catnip and its effects on dogs, why not go out and get them their bag of herbaceous goodness?