Most people knows that catnip can have varying effects on cats. Whether you are a cat lover or a dog lover, you might have asked yourself, does catnip affect dogs? This is an important question to answer, especially if you own both cats and dogs. The answer to this question is yes. Catnip, however, can have positive and negative effects on dogs, depending upon the canine. We will explore how catnip affects dogs in this article.
Act as a Sedative for Dogs
While catnip acts as a stimulant when cats are exposed to it, it can have the opposite effect on canines, acting as a sedative. When given to anxious, nervous dogs, it can calm them, especially during short car rides or when going to the veterinarian. Experts recommend putting a few catnip leaves in your dog’s water or sprinkling dried catnip (no more than half a teaspoon per pound of food) on your dog’s food if you want to try to calm him. Just remember, while catnip acts as a sedative for most dogs, nothing is guaranteed to work for all dogs. If your dog is extremely anxious or nervous, or you have any concerns, consult your vet before giving him catnip. (Catnip also works as a sedative for humans, which you might want to try if your nervous dog is stressing you out!)
Act as a Diuretic for Dogs
Sometimes people use catnip as a diuretic to get rid of extra water in their bodies. Turns out, catnip can have the same effect on dogs. A small amount of catnip in your dog’s water or food can promote urination, to help your dog expel excess waste from his body. This can be especially helpful when your dog is suffering from a cold or allergy and may not be urinating as often as usual. Just remember to keep the amount of catnip you give your dog to no more than a few leaves or half a teaspoon per pound of food. Again, for serious issues or if your dog hasn’t urinated for days on end, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Act as a Digestive Aid for Dogs
Another common human remedy for digestive problems, catnip, can also be used on our canine friends. It is said that catnip relieves gas, so if you have a gassy dog, giving him a bit of catnip might be worth a shot! Catnip can also help relieve your dog’s abdominal cramps, spasms, diarrhea, and prevent vomiting. Ask your veterinarian if it is safe to use catnip before treating your dog’s digestive issues yourself.
Act as an Antiseptic for Dogs
Thymol, which is contained in catnip, is a natural antiseptic and can be used to treat external wounds on your dog. Simply apply catnip oil or fresh catnip leaves to your dog’s small wound or sore. (Of course, if your dog has a larger wound or sore that won’t heal, take him to see the vet—don’t try to treat this at home!)
Repel Insects on Dogs
The thymol in catnip can also act as an insect repellant for both humans and dogs. Rubbing catnip oil on your dog can help to repel mosquitos and other biting insects that can annoy dogs. It’s not recommended as the first line of defense against biting insects, but can help keep some of these bothersome pests away from your dog.
Catnip Can Attract Cats to Your Dog
If you have both cats and dogs, and a field of catnip exists near your house, don’t let your dog walk through it. If your dog does happen to walk through a large amount of catnip, make sure to immediately wash his paws with soap and water when he gets home. Otherwise, you might find your cats are following your dog around the house like the Pied Piper and won’t stop nibbling at your dog’s paws when he is trying to rest!
Catnip Toys Can Be Dangerous to Dogs
Although catnip is generally safe for dogs, catnip toys can pose a choking hazard. Because cat toys tend to be smaller than dog toys, they are much easier for dogs to accidentally swallow. Many dogs have a tendency to try to eat things – shoes, blankets, and cat toys—so if you have catnip toys, keep them out of your dog’s reach. If your dog eats a catnip toy, it can cause a dangerous obstruction in his gastrointestinal tract that could require surgery.