We all know that cats love catnip. They are obsessed with it. They love to role in it and play with it until they just shut down completely. This is great entertainment for a bored catto, but what about dogs? Do they as well prefer to play and nip on this powerful herb?
I won’t lie to you; most dogs do not love it, but this doesn’t mean that your pooch won’t like it for sure. Give it a try and see if he will go bonkers for it, or he will dislike it. But how to introduce catnip into dogs’ routines? Can dogs eat catnip? Should you let him play with catnip toys as cats do?
If you are eager to find out if catnip is safe for dogs and how it will affect them, all you have to do is read this article until the end.
What Kind Of Herb Is Catnip?
If you take a sniff of some fresh or dried catnip, you will find out it smells very familiar, and you are not wrong. The catnip is a member of the mint family. The chemical compound called nepetalactone that catnip contains in the leaves and stems is the main reason why this herb gives that “high” sensation to cats. In fact, cats will immediately react to it, and that reaction can last for 10 to 15 minutes.
The catnip can be found almost all around the world, and even though it is the most famous for its effect on cats, the catnip is, in fact, an ornamental plant for gardens. It is great to attract butterflies and to repel pests.
The good news is that catnip is not toxic to dogs; however, you should consult your vet before including the catnip into their diet.
So How Does Catnip Work On Dogs?
It might sound strange, but dogs are attracted to catnip as well, and why wouldn’t they be when catnip is so fragrant, we all know how sensitive dog sniffers are. Did you notice that your dog is obsessed with your cats’ catnip toys and that is not because they’re small and fun; it’s because of the scent.
The catnip isn’t toxic for dogs, but it does not have the same effect on dogs that it has on cats. Catnip for dogs provides a calming and mellowing effect while it has a stimulating response in cats.
The catnip can be very handy if you have a hyperactive dog that needs a bit more help to calm down. On the other hand, some dogs will have no attraction to the herb, and it will not affect them at all.
What Are The Benefits Of Catnip For Dogs?
Catnip contains various minerals like magnesium, vitamins C and E, tannins, and flavonoids. Besides these components, it is also very rich in essential oils. Those can significantly help your dog maintain its digestive system healthy. If it suffers from gastrointestinal upset, it will help relieve it.
Here’s how you can use catnip:
1. Calming Effect
Use catnip on dogs that frequently experience anxiety, whether it’s due to separation from the owner, or going to visit the vet, maybe it has a hard time riding in the car, or he is too sensitive during loud holidays. Catnip will help calm them down in all these situations since it has a mild sedative effect on them.
If your dog suffers from insomnia or has an irregular sleeping pattern, catnip can help solve this problem and keep things under control. Of course, only if it is used in the right way.
2. Antiseptic Aid
Catnip can be used as a natural antiseptic since it contains antibacterial and healing properties. Catnip contains thymol, which makes catnip ideal for treating external wounds. Apply fresh catnip or catnip oil to cuts and scratches. Also, applying catnip oil helps repel mosquitoes and other insects that may bite dogs.
3. Digestive Aid
Catnip is great in reducing gas and digestive discomfort. Catnip can prevent gas formation and reduce cramping, which means fewer dog farts! Small amounts of fresh catnip, catnip oil, or catnip tea can calm a sick dog’s stomach and keep them away from vomiting and diarrhea.
When your dog shows signs of digestive issues like diarrhea or constipation, catnip will help by soothing the intestinal walls, reducing pain, and improving digestion.
4. Maintaining Urinary Tract And Kidneys In Tract
You can use catnip to promote healthy urination and kidney health. Since it has a mild diuretic effect, it will help your dog flush out toxins, debris, bacteria and keep them safe from urinary tract infections. It will also prevent the forming of kidney stones and blockages of the urinary tract. If your dog does not love catnip and it has problems with the urinary tract, combine it with cranberry powder.
Remember, when you give catnip to your dog, they will pee more, and that means they will need to drink more water to prevent dehydration.
Side Effects Of Catnip For Dogs
So we already concluded that catnip is safe for dogs, but only when you know how much and when to offer catnip to your dog. The catnip seems pretty beneficial, but if you give too much of it to your dog, it can cause digestive issues like vomiting and respiratory depression. It will also sedate your pooch and make it sedentary, so be careful when dosing the nip!
Remember, pregnant dogs can’t have catnip! Catnip can act as a uterine stimulant and lead to premature labor or birth complications. This goes for cats too.
How Much Catnip Can Dogs Have And How To Serve It?
Introduce catnip to your dog a little at a time. You should first add 1/8 tsp into their food or water for a small to medium-sized dog.
In case your furry friend is a member of some larger breed, it can have 1/4 tsp per day. Consult your vet before using catnip on dogs that take medications or suffer from some illnesses.
In case doctors tell you that your doggo can’t use catnip for some reason, you can try with anise. It will give your dog a playful energy dose, all the same, digestive aid benefits, and significantly improve digestion! Use it in the form of seeds or oils.
So How To Serve Catnip To Your Dog?
First, try to sprinkle 1/8 to ½ a teaspoon of dried catnip on dog food. If this won’t work for your dog, try putting a few fresh catnip leaves in drinking water. Of course, this should not be done every day!
You can also try finding catnip toys designed especially for dogs since cats’ catnip toys are not suitable for dogs. They usually have small bells and fillings that a dog could easily digest and block their respiratory and digestive tract.
If you have a difficult time finding one, you can try to rub or fill one of your dog’s existing toys with catnip and see if it will have any effect.
So What’s The Story About Dogs And Catnip?
I’m sure that after reading these lines, you are well informed of how catnip can affect your dog’s health as well as his behavior. However, I must warn you not to use catnip for your dog on your own before consulting your vet. Make sure he approves it and asks for the correct dosage since overdosing on catnip can be nasty.
It is great that catnip can be used in various ways and various forms like fresh catnip, dry catnip, and catnip oil. If you have a hard time making your dog eat catnip in the food, you can always try infusing his water with fresh leaves or entertain him with catnip dog toys.
Always keep in mind that with home remedies like this one, a little goes a long way!
Learn More: What Can Dogs Eat? A Comprehensive List Of Dog-safe Foods