Is Catnip Really Safe For Dogs?(+Dog Catnip Alternatives)

If you have a cat that loves to chew on catnip or roll around in patches of it at home, you know that it can provide a lot of joy. 

Is catnip safe for dogs? It is perfectly fine to give catnip to your dog if you have some at home and they seem interested. You won’t get the same reaction as seen in cats – and potentially no reaction at all – but it can work as a nice sedative for stressful situations. If you want something that has the same effect as catnip on cats, you can try small, occasional amounts of anise.

This works nicely on treats and toys in moderation. But what about our pet dogs that might want to join in on the fun? Is it OK for our dogs to have catnip or are they better off with something else? 

What Does Catnip Do To Dogs?  

If you are thinking of getting some catnip for your dog in the hope that they will go mad for it, like a cat, then you are going to be disappointed. While your feline friend will love nothing more than to rub themselves against this plant and enjoy quite a high for a while, dogs aren’t as into it. In fact, you are more likely to see your dog lie down for a bit of a snooze and just mellow out. You can use this as an effective sedative if you want to, rather than using any sort of pharmaceutical option or another questionable spray.  

How Much Catnip Can I Give To My Dog?  

If you want to consider giving your dog catnip as a natural sedative, especially during a stressful situation, you should find that a little bit goes a long way. You can get dried catnip instead of growing the plant in your home. This allows for a more effective result as they ingest the substance like a herb, rather than just sniffing at it. Half a teaspoon of these leaves becomes a nice garnish for their nighttime meal, which can then lead to a calming effect if you know there will be fireworks or thunderstorms that night. Some dog owners also put catnip in their dog’s water for a similar effect. 

A nice alternative option is to give your dog a catnip stick. These sticks are typically used as a chewing aid for cats that provides a nice taste and distraction for less-savory items. Small dogs may also enjoy chewing on these dried stems instead of their normal chews for a change.  

How Long Does It Take For Catnip To Kick In For Dogs?  

This is all great if you need a natural way to provide a calming substance for your pet. However, you need to be aware that it can take a little while for the catnip to kick in. Dogs don’t respond to catnip in the same way as the felines in their household, which can lead to a slower response. Therefore, it is best to give catnip to your dog at least 30 minutes before any scheduled stressful event. For example, if they hate long car rides, give them some catnip 30 minutes before they need to get in the car – rather than waiting 30 minutes in the car for it to kick in.   

Does Catnip Calm All Dogs?  

While this all sounds great as a natural option for relaxing our canine companions, we also have to remember that not all dogs respond to catnip. There will be some that can drink the water and chew on the catnip sticks and not feel that much of anything. That is where it helps to have other natural dog sedatives in mind. Potential solutions here include: 

  • Specially formulated calming sprays for pets 
  • CBD oil  
  • Compression vests  

What Is The Equivalent Of Catnip For Dogs?  

But what about the canine equivalent of catnip for dogs? So far, all these options are there to calm your pet. What about the substances that make them go a little crazy and give them a high for a little while? One of the most popular options is anise  

What Does Anise Do To Dogs?   

There are two potential reactions when dealing with anise for dogs. There are some that will get hyperactive for a little while. They may get really happy and keen to play, perhaps enjoying a short period of zoomies. This can be great fun for the right dog that isn’t too big or destructive and has the energy to burn. Or, you may find that it has a similar effect to catnip and creates a more mellow feel  

Is Anise Safe For Dogs?  

Anise is safe when used correctly. The right amount will help to create that effect mentioned above. A managed dose with the aid of veterinarian assistance could also help with digestive issues and respiratory problems. However, too much can lead to some serious adverse effects. It can upset the stomach and worsen those symptoms. It can also have an effect on the nervous system. 

How Much Anise Can I Give To My Dog?   

Because anise is safe in small doses, you have to be careful with how much you give. You can sprinkle a bit of it on a toy, put it in a paste in a Kong toy, or leave it as a tiny treat for them to sniff out during a game. The smaller the dog, the smaller the dose because of the potency. It is best to check with your vet first.  


Even though we naturally associate this herb with cats and feline highs, there is no reason why your pet dog can’t have some too. This will be a big relief for any cat owners that grow the stuff at home. You can find that the plant has a helpful calming effect, rather than producing a high. That is why some dog owners prefer to use anise as a catnip alternative instead.