Catnip For Dogs: Can Dogs Eat Catnip? Or Is It Bad?

(Last Updated On: August 29, 2019)

If you’re a cat owner, or have ever been one during any stage of your life before, then chances are you’ve experienced first hand (or have at least heard/read about it somewhere) what a catnip plant is capable of doing to our beloved little cats.

However, we’re not here today to talk about catnip for cats [1], we’re here today to talk about catnip for dogs, whether or not dogs can eat catnip, what effects catnip has on dogs, whether or not dogs actually like catnip, and a bunch of other information you should be in the know about concerning this minty plant.

Catnip For Dogs: Can Dogs Eat Catnip? Or Is Catnip Bad For Dogs?

The short answer to this question is, YES, dogs can be given Catnip, under the right circumstances and conditions – but you have to always keep in mind that it has a sedative effect that’s very likely to take over your dog when they consume it.

According to ScienceBlogs, catnip does not have the same identical effect on dogs as it has on cats, and something like the anise plant has more of a similar effect, but that’s just for general informational purposes you should know about.

If given to dogs to eat in the right amounts and under the right circumstances, Catnip can actually have many benefits to offer dogs that may need it for different reasons and won’t be harmful to them at all.

The following list covers some of the most important health and nutritional benefits that Catnip (also known as the Nepeta Cataria [2]) is known to have, ones that your dog may very well be able to benefit from to a certain degree.

Vitamins And Minerals: Catnip is known to be a rich source of a wide variety of different vitamins and minerals, most notable of which are Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Magnesium, just to name a few of the most prominent ones.

Essential Oils: Catnip is also known to be a rich source in essential oils that are necessary to keep your dog’s energy levels properly maintained throughout the day in order to prevent sudden crashes and spikes, help your dog’s digestive system [3] functions remain smooth and help your dog maintain a silky, glowing and healthy coat.

What Does Catnip Do To Dogs? Does Catnip Affect Dogs At All?

If you’re wondering what kind of physical effects Catnip has on dogs, and whether or not these effects are anything like the ones you already know about Catnip and cats, then this list has you covered with what you should know about.

It’s a well known fact by now that Catnip acts as a very effective stimulant when given to cats, however this is not the case for dogs – the case is quite the opposite as Catnip acts as a sedative when given to dogs.

Before we kick off this list, though, it must be said that a fair percentage of dog owners claim that their dogs aren’t affected at all after being given Catnip, so it seems to be a relative issue where some dogs are receptive to it and feel the effects it has to offer, while other dogs are just not receptive to it at all.

Calmative: One of the most common effects that’s sought after with dog owners that give their dogs Catnip is the calmative (also known as sedative) effect that comes along.

Here are a few example cases for when the sedative effect of Catnip can be useful for dogs.

– Dogs that experience strong episodes of anxiety [4] when, for example, fireworks are being played somewhere close outside and the noise is loud and clear

– Dogs that display very strong signs of fear when having to take their medicine/treatment in the form of an injection

These are just two examples of many, many possible cases where a sedative effect of Catnip can come in handy with a nervous, anxious and fearful dog that needs intervention on the spot to get back to normal.

Help With Sleep: Much related to the calmative effect discussed above, Catnip given in the right framework and right dosages can greatly help improve sleeping patterns of dogs and solve any related problems they might be experiencing.

Gastrointestinal Upset: One of the many ingredients dog owners have found useful over the years to give their dogs when they’re suffering from any form of gastrointestinal upset and a troubled stomach is Catnip.

Whether your dog has a bad case of diarrhea, is emptying their troubled system through vomiting or is just passing some nasty excessive gas, Catnip has properties that can help in all of these cases.

Natural Wound Healer: Another very useful tip many dog owners apply is using Catnip to tread wounds/cuts that dogs may suffer from, thanks to the antibacterial properties that this plant contains.

The two most common forms of Catnip that dog owners use to heal external wounds and cuts on their dogs are Catnip in its oil form and Catnip in its natural form.

Mosquito Repellent: Another very useful tip many dog owners like to put into practice is making use of Catnip on their dogs in order to benefit from the properties it contains that allow it to act as a very powerful mosquito repellent [5].

Of course, depending on the area you live in and where your dog spends most of their time, this tip may or may not be very beneficial to you.

How Can Dogs Have Catnip?

For whatever reason you may be considering giving your dog Catnip, there are several different ways you can go about doing this, and we’ve covered the easiest and most common ways in the list below.

Mixed With Food: One of the most common and easiest ways that dog owners like to give their dogs Catnip in is by mixing the specific dosage with a meal of dog food that their dog is having at the time.

This can very easily be done if you buy a bag of ground Catnip that you can sprinkle whatever dose they require on their food and easily mix it in afterwards, as suggested in this article by VetInfo.

A general recommendation that’s often suggested if you plan on giving your dog Catnip with their food is to add anywhere from 1/8 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon to their food for every one pound of dog food they’re eating.

This can also be done if you choose to get Catnip in the form of oil and add in whatever dosage your dog requires into their food and mix them as well.

Mixed With Water: Other dog owners prefer not to mix Catnip with their dog’s food, but rather add a few leaves to their dog’s water bowl and let them reap the effects of this plant that way.

How Much Catnip Can My Dog Have?

As we always say whenever the subject of dosages is brought up in the conversation, you should ALWAYS, first and foremost, talk to your veterinarian about this.

Discuss with your veterinarian why you’re considering giving your dog Catnip in the first place, let them know of what your goal from doing this is, let them know of any health issues your dog is currently going through, any medication they’re currently taking, etc ..

These issues and a whole other stuff that’s bound to get brought up in the conversation (or they’ll ask you by themselves) will make it much easier for them to tell you whether giving your dog Catnip in the first place is a good idea or not, and how much of it you should be giving your dog to avoid any health complications that may have otherwise developed down the line.

Not only will excessive amounts of Catnip given to your dog cause several different health problems with time, this will also lead to digestive system trouble in no time.

One of the reasons why Catnip is given to dogs to begin with is to relieve different forms of gastrointestinal upset, but given to them in excessive amounts, Catnip will be a cause of gastrointestinal upset rather than a form of help.

When Should I Not Give My Dog Catnip On My Own?

One of the most important notes that must be made when it comes to catnip and dogs is that you should never attempt to give your dog any dose of Catnip on your own if you’re doing so for a medical reason.

Any amount of Catnip given to dogs for any medical reason that may be should always be approved and supervised by a veterinarian beforehand.

You should also be very careful not to give your dog any Catnip in the following cases.

– Your dog is currently taking medication that may cause conflict with Catnip (this is something your veterinarian should let you know about after you talk to them about giving Catnip to your dog)

– Your dog is pregnant

– Your dog is lactating

Resources

1. How Does Catnip Work Its Magic on Cats? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/experts-how-does-catnip-work-on-cats/

2.Nepeta cataria https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nepeta+cataria

3. Digestive System of the Dog https://www.vetmed.wsu.edu/outreach/Pet-Health-Topics/categories/cat-and-dog-anatomy/digestive-system-of-the-dog

4. Natural remedies for anxious dogs https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/7-natural-remedies-for-anxious-dogs

5. Do mosquitoes bite dogs https://www.orkin.com/other/mosquitoes/do-mosquitoes-bite-dogs

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