a dog with catnip


When it comes to our furry friends, ensuring their well-being is of utmost importance. Many pet owners are aware of the effects of catnip on cats, but what about dogs? Canines and felines have their unique characteristics and sensitivities. In this article, we will explore the question: "Is catnip bad for dogs?" We will delve into the science behind catnip, its effects on dogs, and whether it's safe for your canine companion.

Understanding Catnip

What is Catnip?

Catnip, scientifically known as Nepeta cataria, is a herbaceous plant that belongs to the mint family. It's renowned for its ability to induce a euphoric and playful response in cats when they come into contact with it. The active compound responsible for this reaction is called nepetalactone.

How Does Catnip Affect Cats?

When cats are exposed to catnip, they may exhibit various behaviours, such as rolling, rubbing, purring, and increased playfulness. These reactions are generally harmless and often entertaining for both pets and their owners. The effects typically last for about 10-15 minutes, after which cats lose interest in the catnip.

Catnip and Dogs

Can Dogs Be Affected by Catnip?

While catnip has a profound impact on cats, it has a considerably milder effect on dogs. Most dogs are not as responsive to catnip as their feline counterparts. This is primarily because the sensory receptors in their noses and brains do not react to nepetalactone in the same way.

a dog with catnip

The Mild Response in Dogs

In cases where dogs do show any reaction to catnip, it is generally less dramatic than that observed in cats. Some dogs may sniff or lick catnip, while others may simply ignore it. There have been instances of dogs exhibiting mild signs of excitement or playfulness, but these are rare and not as intense as in cats.

Is Catnip Safe for Dogs?

General Safety

For the majority of dogs, catnip is safe in small quantities. It is non-toxic and not known to cause any harm. However, it's crucial to remember that individual dogs can react differently, and some may not react at all.

Potential Benefits

In some cases, catnip can have potential benefits for dogs. It may act as a mild sedative, helping anxious or stressed dogs to relax. Additionally, catnip can serve as a tool for mental stimulation and enrichment, especially in dogs that enjoy exploring new scents.

Precautions and Considerations

Allergic Reactions

Although rare, some dogs may be allergic to catnip. If you notice any signs of allergic reactions, such as itching, rashes, or gastrointestinal distress, discontinue use immediately and consult your veterinarian.

Moderation is Key

If you choose to introduce catnip to your dog, do so in moderation. Excessive exposure may lead to desensitisation, rendering it less effective over time.

Consult Your Veterinarian

Before incorporating catnip into your dog's routine, it's advisable to consult your veterinarian, especially if your dog has underlying health issues or is on medication.


In conclusion, catnip is generally safe for dogs, but it has a much milder effect compared to its impact on cats. Most dogs will either have a minimal response or no reaction at all. If you decide to use catnip with your dog, remember to do so in moderation and be attentive to any potential allergic reactions. Always consult your veterinarian for personalised advice regarding your dog's specific needs.


  1. Can catnip be harmful to dogs?

    • Catnip is generally not harmful to dogs and is considered safe in small quantities. However, individual reactions may vary.
  2. Will catnip make my dog hyperactive?

    • Catnip typically has a mild or no effect on dogs, so it is unlikely to make them hyperactive.
  3. Can I use catnip to calm an anxious dog?

    • In some cases, catnip may act as a mild sedative and help calm anxious dogs. However, it's essential to monitor their response.
  4. Are there any side effects of using catnip with dogs?

    • Most dogs do not experience side effects from catnip. However, it's important to watch for allergic reactions or excessive consumption.
  5. How should I introduce catnip to my dog?

    • If you decide to introduce catnip to your dog, start with a small amount and observe their reaction. If there are no adverse effects, you can use it in moderation for enrichment and mental stimulation.

Join Us in Caring for Your Furry Friend!

At Cooper and Gracie, we understand the deep bond you share with your pets, and we're here to help you nurture that connection. Our range of premium dog care products is designed with love and dedication to enhance the well-being of your furry companions. Whether you have a cat, a dog, or both, we have something special for every animal. After reading our informative article on the safety of catnip for dogs, we invite you to explore our website and discover the extensive collection of pet-friendly goodies we offer. From soothing shampoos to delicious treats, we've got it all. Join us in ensuring your pets receive the care and attention they truly deserve. Give them the best with Cooper and Gracie, where every product is crafted with passion, just like the love you have for your pets. Shop now and experience the Cooper and Gracie difference!

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