Is Catnip Safe for Your Canine Companion?

Catnip is a popular herb that is well-known for its effects on cats. However, some pet owners may wonder if sharing catnip with their canine companions is safe. While it may seem harmless, it is essential to understand the benefits and risks of catnip for dogs before offering it to them. 

In this blog, we will explore the topic of catnip for dogs and what pet owners should know, drawing on information from PetPost, a trusted source of information and pet supplies for pet owners.

What is Catnip?

Catnip is a perennial herb from the mint family. It is native to Europe and Asia but can now be found in many parts of the world. 

The herb contains a compound called nepetalactone, which is responsible for its effects on cats. When cats smell or consume catnip, they can become more active, playful, or sedated.

How Does Catnip Affect Dogs?

While catnip has a significant effect on cats, it does not have the same effect on dogs. Nepetalactone does not stimulate dogs in the same way that it does cats. However, some dogs may still be attracted to the smell of catnip and show interest in it.

Is Catnip Safe for Dogs?

While catnip is generally considered safe for cats, the same cannot be said for dogs. Catnip can be harmful to dogs in some cases. 

If a dog ingests too much catnip, it can cause digestive upset, vomiting, and even seizures in some dogs. It is essential to monitor your dog’s reaction to catnip and offer it in moderation.

Benefits of Catnip for Dogs

While catnip may not have the same effect on dogs as on cats, it can still benefit dogs. For example, catnip can help calm dogs who are anxious or stressed. 

It can also offer a new and exciting scent for dogs to explore. Additionally, some dogs may enjoy playing with toys infused with catnip.

Risks of Catnip for Dogs

While catnip can benefit dogs, it also comes with some risks. In addition to the potential for digestive upset and seizures, catnip can cause overstimulation and aggression in some dogs. It is essential to monitor your dog’s behavior when offering catnip and to stop if you notice any adverse effects.

Alternatives to Catnip for Dogs

If you want to offer your dog a similar experience to catnip without the potential risks, there are some alternative herbs that you can try. 

For example, chamomile, valerian root, and lavender are all herbs that have a calming effect on dogs. These herbs can be used to make teas or added to your dog’s food or water.

Can Cats and Dogs Share Toys with Catnip?

If you have cats and dogs, it is best to keep their toys separate. This is because dogs may ingest catnip, which can cause digestive upset and other health problems. 

Additionally, cats and dogs may have different play styles, and toys that are appropriate for one may not be suitable for the other.

How to Offer Catnip to Your Dog

If you decide to offer catnip to your dog, there are some steps that you can take to do so safely. First, make sure that the catnip is fresh and high-quality. Avoid offering your dog catnip that has been sitting around for a long time or exposed to moisture. 

Next, offer the catnip in moderation. Start with a small amount and monitor your dog’s reaction. Finally, do not force your dog to consume catnip if they are uninterested. 

Some dogs may not be interested in catnip, which is okay.


While sharing catnip with your dog may be tempting, it is essential to do so cautiously. By understanding the potential benefits and risks of catnip for dogs, you can decide whether or not to offer it to your furry friend.