Catnips and Dogs: Find out if Catnip is Bad for Dogs

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is catnip bad for dogs



Are you a doting parent of a furry canine or a cute little pooch? As a dog lover and a pet keeper, your responsibilities equate to having a baby of your own.

There are tons of things you need to know and a million others you need to be cautious about.

A simple food item can prove to be hazardous to your little whelp and an unsuspecting plant could cause rashes or allergies. I am a pet lover myself and try to keep my readers updated with bits of information I gather.

This article is all about the catnip plant and its effect on dogs. If you have often wondered whether catnip is safe for dogs or not, then here, I will try to solve all your doubts. Read on with me!

Catnip is a herb plant, scientifically known as Nepeta Cataria. It has fragrant green leaves that attract cats. This herb planted in your garden can make it cat-friendly.

It is a perennial member of the mint family. Catnip is used in soothing teas too. It is known for its unique heart-shaped leaves, delicate pearl-colored flowers, and a fragrant aroma.

This plant first gained popularity in the 16th century in Britain, when it was used as a tea leaf. Since then, it has been also used as a home remedy for various ailments in humans.

Catnip is a common houseplant growing in the backyard of most homes.

You might have heard of several instances of a cat gone crazy when given a sprinkle of this herb. So what exactly does this plant have that makes cat go berserk? And, is catnip safe for dogs?

is catnip bad for dogs


Effect Of Catnips On Dogs And Cats

Just like we say, ‘Men are from Mars, and women are from Venus,’, the same can be said about cats and dogs! There is a major difference in the effect of catnip on cats and dogs. Cats and dogs are so opposite to each other that it comes as no shock if they react differently to catnips.

While cats seem delighted with this herb and often rolling in it, dogs display a completely opposite reaction to catnips. Cats get a buzz from this pungent herb, while dogs do not. But there is no harm in letting your dogs near catnips. It is absolutely safe for them to ingest it too.

Catnip causes drowsiness in dogs. Canines can sniff at the fragrant leaves and feel sleepy. But sometimes, they show complete indifference to the plant. You can expect different reactions from different felines and canines to catnips.

Catnips and Cats

Never underestimate the power of catnips on cats. If you have a catnip growing in your garden or backyard, you can expect a cat to find it quickly. Once the feline catches sight of the fragrant mint plant, it might rub her/his body on the leaves or roll its body on the plant.

You may also find the cat chewing on the leaves or dashing around the house. I once saw my neighbor’s cat gone crazy after sniffing at my catnip plant. She was so horrified, thinking that the plant might kill the feline’s brain cells.

She was also concerned that the plant could be habit-forming or prove to be a drug for the cat that gave it a high.

Seeing her concern, I was concerned about catnips affecting dogs. I did a quick research to find out that Nepetalactone present in the plant makes cats crazy. The catmint plant affects 70 % of cats, while 30% show surprising indifference.

Kittens under 12 weeks of age do not show any reaction to the plant. (They are, in general, wild and crazy ) Catnips act as pheromones for cats. They contact nepetalactone through their olfactory organs and get pretty hooked up on it.

Catnips and Dogs

Dogs love to wander about a house. They can be often found loitering about the backyard or front porch of the house. They keep sniffing about the plants if your home has a garden. My dog, (a fully-grown Labrador), loves to play in my garden all day long.

I guess he plays hide and seek with the butterflies or the squirrels as I often find him hidden behind my plants.

My neighbor’s cat alerted me to find out more about the effect of catnip on dogs.

I was wondering whether dogs can eat catnip or whether it is safe for them or not. I found out that catnips relax dogs. It can also be given to prevent car sickness or to cure upset stomachs. Dogs can benefit from catnip oil and catnip toys.

I loved my perennial herb plant with its silver lining and fresh-looking leaves.

The purple blossom around it made it look even prettier in the early mornings. But I had begun to wonder whether I should uproot it for safety concerns. When I found out that it is very safe for cats and dogs both, I was relaxed.

is catnip bad for dogs


Benefits Of Catnip On Dogs

  • Nutrients

Catnips contain essential minerals such as Vitamin C and E, magnesium, tannins, and flavonoids. The essential oils present in the herb can be used for keeping your pooch’s digestive system healthy.  It has medicinal properties that can relieve gastrointestinal upsets.

  • Catnips Helps Dogs Relax

My Labrador often gets anxious before a visit to the vet. He is also quite tensed when I take him to the groomer to have his nails clipped. Since I found out the magical properties of this plant, I always give him a sprig or two to relax him. It reduces his anxiety and makes it more manageable for me. Note that the plant takes about 30 minutes to show its effect and so, I give him at least 30 minutes prior.

  • Relieves Motion Sickness

My dog also gets car sickness when I speed down the highway. It makes him dizzy or nauseous. Earlier, I used to stop mid-way to help him throw out or would go very slowly. But now, I just give him a few catmints leaves half an hour before leaving. As this is a natural alternative to treat car sickness, I always rely on it.

  • Relieves Tummy Troubles

Catnip has been used as a digestive aid in humans for long. It helps soothe flatulence and heartburn. It has a similar effect on dogs. Catnips are very effective in relieving upset stomachs in dogs.

  • Keeps Insects Away

Catnips can be used as a topical application for repelling insects.  It is available as an insect-repellent oil too. Nepetalactone is the essential oil present in the plant that is responsible for the characteristic odor. It is also found to be 10 times more effective than DEET – a compound found in most other insect repellents. But before you buy any over-the-counter catnip oil, it is better to consult your vet on how to use it on your dog.

  • Easing Menstruation

As catnips are natural emmenagogue, they help in stimulating the blood flow in the pelvic region. In female dogs, this herb helps to regulate and ease menstruation. But this plant should never be given to a pregnant dog.

  • Healing Wounds

Catnips contains the compound thymol that can be used as an antiseptic. It is, therefore, ideal for curing external wounds. I frequently use catnip oil or fresh catnip on cuts and scratches on my dog’s skin. I even apply it to sores. It provides quick relief.

is catnip bad for dogs


How To Give Catnip To Your Dogs?

Fresh leaves of the plant can be ground in a mortar and applied to the wound. You can also use catnip oil directly. For gastrointestinal problems, just sprinkle 1 / 8 or 1 / 2 Teaspoon of catnip dried leaves on your pet’s food.

Alternatively, you can add fresh catnip leaves to your pet’s drinking water to encourage better catnip absorption.

Although dogs cannot overdose on catnips, on rare occasions, an overdose might cause respiratory failure or heart disease in older dogs. There is no scientific proof regarding catnip for dogs, but since catnip-related deaths are rare, it is considered safe.


Are Catnip Toys Safe?

There are many toys made from catnip plants. I once found a catnip toy with little bells designed for cats.

I bought it for my pet, thinking that catnip toys for cats can be used for dogs too. Later, I realized that the bells could be ingested by my dog.

Catnip toys are mostly designed for cats with little bells, rattles, squeakers, or fillings.

These can be easily ingested by a dog. You should never give a catnip toy designed for a feline to a canine. If you do not find a suitable toy, you can rub a catnip leaf on your dog’s favorite toy.

is catnip bad for dogs


The final verdict is that catnip is completely safe for dogs. So if you have a furry friend whom you dote on, you should know about the effects of common house plants on them. Catnip is one of them.

Have you been advised against planting catnip in your backyard if you have pets at home? Well, now you have your answer!!

Did you find this article informative enough? Do you have a similar experience to share about your dog and catnips? Do leave a comment in our comment section and let us take this interesting discussion forward.

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