MUNDANE MYSTERIES: Is Catnip Bad For Your Dog?

Your kitty may love that adorable toy you bought specifically for it that some extra special love potion inside of it, but what happens if (when) your dog gets hold of it? Is catnip safe for dogs?

Catnip is basically just an herb, called Nepeta cataria, from the mint family. It contains something called nepetalactone, which is a chemical known to get cats excited whenever their olfactory receptors come into contact with it. But what happens if your dog gets its paws on catnip?

Well, first off, it most likely won’t give your dog the same euphoria that your cat gets. But neither should it cause any adverse effects, either (unlike chocolate, raisins, coffee, and lots of other common household things). Unlike those non-dog-friendly items, catnip actually contains a host of good stuff (vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients) that can potentially benefit a dog’s health.

While some cats end up bouncing off the walls when they catch a whiff of catnip, others can act more “buzzed” than hyperactive. And then there are some that seem to be immune to outright. But for dogs, catnip generally serves as a light natural sedative, which could make it an option for calming your dog down during thunderstorms, fireworks, trips to the vet, stressful situations like that. It might also help them sleep, or could even help ease an upset stomach. But, just for the record, let me say that, while catnip is considered safe for canine consumption, it’s always best to check with your vet before giving your pup a pinch of catnip (or anything else, for that matter).

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