Pet Wellness Guides > Catnip for Dogs: Are There Any Benefits? - Pet Insurance Review

Catnip for Dogs: Are There Any Benefits?

Posted: 07/05/2023 | BY: Jenna Bruce | Categories: Behavior , Dog , Pet care

We all know that most cats go nuts for catnip. This natural herb provides our feline pals with a bit of euphoria that is not only entertaining for them but also highly entertaining to watch as well. But some dog owners wonder if there is catnip for dogs? Can we give our dogs catnip? Is it safe? What will it do? Does it offer any benefits?

We’re glad you asked because we’re about to answer all of these questions and more in this blog post.

catnip for dogs

Is Catnip Bad for Dogs?

No, catnip is completely safe for dogs. It’s typically used less in dogs because the effects are not the same as in cats – or nearly as dramatic. So, should you have both cats and dogs in your home and your pooch gets hold of some catnip, you needn’t worry.

Catnip, whose botanical name is Nepeta cataria, comes from the same family as the mint plant. Which is why sometimes catnip is referred to as “catmint.” It’s the essential oil in this plant that drives a majority of cats wild.

Okay, so we know catnip isn’t bad for dogs, but can dogs benefit from this herb at all?

What Does Catnip Do to a Dog?

As we mentioned, catnip’s effect on dogs is far more mild than in cats. And in fact, it tends to have the exact opposite effect. Instead of making a dog go batsh*t crazy and run around like a lunatic, catnip tends to make dogs very relaxed and chill.

Here are some of the benefits catnip can offer to our canine companions.

Benefits of Catnip for Dogs

You may be surprised to learn some of the different catnip benefits for dogs:

1. Diuretic

The chemical compounds in catnip have a diuretic effect, which can help dogs eliminate excess water and flush their urinary tract of waste products. This can help facilitate healthy kidneys and bladder.

2. Antiseptic

Catnip contains a compound called Thymol. Thymol is an essential oil that provides antiseptic properties. Dog (and cat) parents can apply a little catnip essential oil to minor cuts, scratches and bug bites to prevent infection and reduce inflammation.

3. Insect Repellant

Catnip essential oil is also an effective bug repellent. Interestingly, researchers at Iowa State University have shown that “nepetalactone”, the essential oil in catnip, is roughly 10x more effective at repelling mosquitos than DEET, a chemical used in most commercial insect repellents. It should be noted that catnip has also been found to be effective at repelling fleas.

4. Motion Sickness

Most dogs love going for car rides but there are some fur babies that experience motion sickness. This can make them feel dizzy and nauseous. Regular prescription anti-nausea medications are effective but they often leave your pooch feeling spacey.

Catnip is a natural alternative for dog motion sickness. And the best part is, it doesn’t come with any nasty side effects!

5. GI Upset

Mint has long been used to treat an upset stomach. And since catnip is part of the mint family, it can also help relieve GI distress in your pup. Just a little catnip can help soothe a dog’s digestive system, help keep them regular regular and yes, even reduce gas.

catnip for dogs

Catnip for Dog Anxiety

Many pups have anxiety issues. Some get anxious in the car, at the vet’s office or groomer, during thunderstorms and fireworks or when left home alone. 

The interesting thing about catnip is that while it causes many cats to become frenzied, it relaxes dogs. It completely calms them down and makes them just want to nap. 

Like in cats, not all dogs will respond to the chemicals in catnip. But for the ones that do, it can be a great way to help them feel calm and relaxed in what would otherwise be a stressful situation.

How to Use Catnip for Dogs

Now that you know catnip offers a few really cool benefits for dogs, you may want to take advantage of this interesting herb. To start we would say that before giving anything new to your dog, always speak with your veterinarian. This is especially true if your dog has been diagnosed with any disease or is currently taking any prescription medications.

It should also be mentioned that catnip should not be used as a daily supplement for dogs. It is really a natural aid for certain situations that may crop up from time-to-time. For example, July 4th fireworks or when you are taking your dog on a family road trip, etc.

Catnip Dosage for Dogs

Dogs who can benefit from catnip don’t need a lot to see results. Most pup parents simply sprinkle ⅛ to ½ a teaspoon of catnip on their pup’s food. You can also simply add a few fresh leaves to their water bowl.

How long does it take catnip to kick in for dogs?

As we mentioned, not all dogs, just like not all cats, will respond to the chemicals in catnip. Those that do should begin to feel the effects with 20 – 30 minutes, depending on the size of dog and how much they consumed. 

benefits of catnip for dogs

Pet Parents Can Feel Calmer with a Pet Insurance Plan

Why should your dog be the only one who gets to feel calm and relaxed? While catnip may not help you chill out, enrolling your pup into a pet insurance plan certainly can. If your dog were to suddenly become very sick or injured and you were looking at a vet bill of $5,000, $7,000 or more, could you handle it? Or would it wipe out your savings?

Take two minutes to get a free, customized quote from top providers in the country.

Thinking of insuring your pet?

Get Quotes & Compare


  1. “Catnip Captures Attention as a Mosquito Repellent”
  2. “Catnip is good for dogs, too!”
  3. “What Is Catnip? What Does Catnip Do to Cats?”



The information contained on this blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. It is not a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always consult with your veterinarian before making any changes to your pet's health care or treatment plan.

The authors of this blog are not veterinarians and do not claim to be experts in pet health. The information provided here is based on our own experiences and research, as well as information from reputable sources. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or completeness of this information.

We encourage you to do your own research and consult with your veterinarian before making any decisions about your pet's health.

Get a quote today

Leave a review