What Does Catnip Do to Dogs?

What Does Catnip Do to Dogs?


Hello there, caregiver extraordinaire! You’ve probably heard about the hypnotic effect of catnip on our feline friends. But have you ever wondered what does catnip do to dogs? Well, sit back and buckle up as we dive into this fascinating query.

What is Catnip?

Firstly, let’s demystify what catnip is. Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is a member of the mint family. It’s a perennial herb native to Europe, but it also grows wildly in North America and Canada. Catnip is well-known for its intoxicating effects on cats, thanks to a chemical compound called nepetalactone.

Also Known As Nepeta cataria
Family Mint
Effects on Cats Intoxicating
Chemical Compound Nepetalactone

Effects of Catnip on Dogs

Now, let’s focus on the crux of the matter. While catnip tends to cause hyperactive behavior in cats, it has a surprisingly opposite effect on dogs. Instead of the frenzied reactions seen in cats, dogs who encounter catnip tend to become more sedate.

  1. Sedative Effect: Catnip can act as a mild sedative when consumed by dogs. This is because the nepetalactone compound affects dogs differently than it does cats.
  2. Aromatherapy: Some studies suggest that catnip can be used as a form of aromatherapy for dogs, helping to calm anxious or overly excited pets.

However, it’s important to note that not all dogs react to catnip. The effect can vary depending on the breed, age, and individual temperament of the dog.

Is Catnip Safe for Dogs?

The million-dollar question – is catnip safe for dogs? The short answer is yes. Catnip isn’t toxic to dogs. However, like all things, moderation is key. Too much catnip can lead to mild gastrointestinal upset.

  • Mild Side Effects: Overconsumption of catnip can lead to vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. If your dog ingests a large amount of catnip and shows signs of illness, it’s best to contact your vet.
  • Allergic Reactions: While rare, some dogs may have an allergic reaction to catnip. Signs of an allergic reaction include persistent coughing, difficulty breathing, and other changes in behavior.


Q: Can I give my dog catnip toys?

Yes, but monitor your dog while they’re playing with catnip toys. If ingested, the toy could potentially cause a blockage.

Q: Can cats and dogs share catnip?

Yes, but remember that catnip affects cats and dogs differently. What excites a cat may sedate a dog.

Q: How much catnip is safe for my dog?

In moderation, catnip is generally safe for dogs. However, it’s always best to consult with your vet first.

Q: What if my dog is allergic to catnip?

If you suspect your dog is allergic to catnip, stop exposure immediately and consult with your vet.

Q: Can I grow catnip at home for my pets?

Absolutely! Catnip is easy to grow and can be a fun addition to your home garden.

In conclusion, while catnip is well-known for its effects on cats, it can also have a calming effect on dogs. As a dedicated caregiver, it’s essential to understand the potential effects and risks to ensure the wellbeing of your furry friends. Always remember, when it comes to introducing anything new to your pet’s routine, moderation and observation are key.