Can You Give Dogs Catnip


As pet owners, we often come across various questions related to our furry friends. One such question that has been asked frequently is whether dogs can have catnip or not. Catnip is known for its effects on cats, but what about dogs? In this article, we will explore the potential benefits and risks of giving your dog catnip.

What is Catnip?

Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family. It contains a chemical compound called nepetalactone, which is responsible for its characteristic scent and effect on cats. When cats smell or ingest catnip, they become excited, playful, and sometimes even aggressive.

Can Dogs Have Catnip?

Yes, dogs can have catnip, but it may not have the same effect as it does on cats. Unlike cats, who are genetically predisposed to respond to the scent of catnip, most dogs do not react to it in the same way. However, some dogs do show interest in catnip and may enjoy playing with toys that contain it.

Potential Benefits of Giving Your Dog Catnip:

1. Relaxation: Catnip has a calming effect on some animals and may help reduce anxiety in dogs.

2. Digestion: Catnip contains essential oils that can aid digestion by stimulating movement in the intestinal muscles.

3. Anti-inflammatory properties: The essential oils in catnip may help reduce inflammation in dogs.

4. Aversion training: Some pet owners use catnip as a tool for aversion training by spraying it on furniture or other areas they want their dog to avoid.

Risks of Giving Your Dog Catnip:

See also  what to do if my dog ate a grape

1. Overstimulation: While most dogs do not react strongly to catnip, some may become overstimulated and display symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea.

2. Allergic reactions: Like any other substance, some dogs may be allergic to catnip and experience symptoms such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing.

3. Interaction with medication: If your dog is on medication, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before giving them catnip, as it may interact with certain medications.


In conclusion, while catnip does not have the same effect on dogs as it does on cats, it can still be given to dogs in moderation. It may provide some potential benefits such as relaxation and aiding digestion, but there are also risks involved such as overstimulation and allergic reactions. As always, it is important to consult with your veterinarian before introducing any new substance into your dog’s diet.