Can Dogs Eat Catnip? Is it Safe For them to Eat?

If your dog accidentally snags a bit of catnip, don’t panic! This herb actually has a variety of benefits for pups.

If you’re lucky enough to have both canine and feline friends, chances are you’ve experienced your dog attempting to play with your cat’s catnip toy before. Just like cats find catnip irresistible, some dogs do, too. 

But what happens if your dog gets into the catnip and starts ingesting it? Is it cause for panic or just a run-of-the-mill occurrence? 

Today, we’re here to provide you with some peace of mind by answering those burning questions. You might be surprised to learn the answers! 

What is Catnip?

First, let’s talk about what catnip is. Even though it’s extremely well known amongst feline parents, the same cannot be said for the parents of canines, where it hasn’t nearly experienced the same popularity. 

The scientific name for catnip is Nepeta catarina. It’s a perennial herb that’s native to Central Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and even some areas of China. A part of the mint family, catnip shares some traits with the mint leaves that plenty of us are familiar with.

Did you know that catnip plants can actually grow up to be three feet tall? They produce tiny green-brown leaves with saw-toothed edges and flowers. These bloom from late spring all the way into the autumn. 

You can grow catnip in your backyard, and there are actually benefits of doing so. It’s tolerant of droughts, deer-resistant, and even works to deter mosquitos (talk about a plant that does it all!). That’s not all, however. It also can attract butterflies and, yes, cats. 

Catnip comes in several different forms. One of them is the traditional plant, but you can also purchase catnip as a spray, or as a dehydrated plant. The toys you purchase at your local pet store are likely filled with the dehydrated stuff!

When you give your feline catnip, you’ve probably noticed that it makes them act a little wild. It’s a popular way to distract a cat that’s bored. Still, this product isn’t marketed specifically to dogs. Does that mean it’s unsafe for them? 

Is Catnip Safe for Dogs?

Despite being called “catnip,” this herb is actually entirely safe for your dog to ingest. That means that if your dog accidentally gets a bite of your cat’s catnip, there’s no need to call the vet in a panic. Of course, you shouldn’t give your dog catnip in excess—but that’s like most foods. 

There is an interesting catch, however. 

While catnip serves as a stimulant for your cat, it’s going to have the exact opposite effect on your dog. This means that catnip can be considered a sedative for your dog. This is one reason why you should only give your dog catnip in the right circumstances and conditions.

We don’t suggest that you give your dog catnip toys. If they accidentally get it, it’s not going to harm them, but you should remove it from their mouth quickly. This has nothing to do with the catnip itself and is entirely because the toy itself poses a choking hazard for a dog. 

Cat toys are often smaller than dog toys, and therefore, your dog can simply attempt to eat the entire toy in a bite. This could lead to a significant blockage that would require immediate medical attention. 

Like we said: catnip is safe in moderation, but catnip toys? Not so much. 

What Does Catnip Do To My Dog?

As we mentioned, catnip acts as a sedative for your pup. Instead of working to make them more hyper as it does with cats, catnip will actually calm your dog down. If your dog is struggling with anxiety, you could consider incorporating catnip into their life to help relax them (though there are a lot of calming CBD products for dogs widely available now as well). 

For other dogs that don’t struggle with regular anxiety, catnip could be effective in a stressful or panic inducing situation. This could include taking your dog to the vet or during fireworks on holidays.

The most important thing to take into account is that you should first ask your veterinarian for their professional opinion regarding your dog taking catnip before giving it to them. Seeking the advice of a vet that you trust allows them to discuss the potential pros and cons of the product with you. 

If your vet believes that your pup could benefit from incorporating catnip, they’ll also be able to help you decipher how much you should give your dog. On the contrary, your vet might feel catnip isn’t the best option for your specific pet and suggest something else. 

Whatever the case may be, you can’t go wrong by reaching out to your vet first. 

Are There Any Benefits of Giving My Dog Catnip?

As we mentioned earlier, catnip works as a sedative for your dog, so if your pup suffers from anxiety, this could potentially work to their benefit. That being said, there are other ways that providing your pup with catnip can help them out. Let’s discuss some of those now. 

First let’s talk about why catnip could be healthful. It includes minerals including magnesium, as well as vitamins C and E. In addition to this, there are essential oils in catnip, which could work to keep your dog’s digestive systems healthy. Essential oils are also used to relieve gastrointestinal upset. 

That’s not where the benefits of catnip for dogs end, however. As we mentioned, for dogs that have anxiety, this could work as an effective solution to help relieve some of the feelings of panic. 

In addition, if your dog needs help improving their sleep cycle or patterns, catnip might be just the thing. This is because it can help your dog go to sleep.

Finally, did you know that catnip can be considered a natural antiseptic? The herb contains both antibacterial and healing properties, which makes it a great pick. If your dog has a minor external scratch or cut, you can apply some catnip to it. 

See? Catnip certainly isn’t only for cats, and it does definitely have benefits that you can harness for your dog’s benefit!

Whether you’re looking to use catnip for a specific occurrence or you want to make it part of your dog’s routine, reach out to a vet first so they can guide you in the right direction. 

Other Ways to Support Your Dog’s Health

Your dog’s health is a top priority for you—that’s the way it should be. Luckily, there are other ways besides giving your dog some catnip that you can help boost their health. 

As a pet owner, it’s important to ensure that you’re being considerate about what your dog is eating. After all, your dog’s food is what provides them with the nutrients and vitamins that they need to live a long, healthy life.

You want only the best for your pet, and that’s what they deserve. That’s exactly why you should get Sundays for Dogs

There are a plethora of reasons why Sundays for Dogs is the right food for your pet. First, let’s run through the things that we never, ever do. 

At Sundays, we’ll never include anti-nutrients such as gluten, legumes, wheat, soy, rice, corn, or even potatoes. These can interfere with how well your dog absorbs essential nutrients, so we don’t include them in our food. 

We also don’t include common allergens, or anything sketchy—and that includes synthetic and artificial ingredients. Finally, our food doesn’t require any prep or refrigeration. Plus, there are no stinky cans or pouches to open. It’s that easy! 

Now, let’s talk about all the things we do include in our food. 

Our products are rich in antioxidants, provide digestive aids with ginger and pumpkin, and are good for picky eaters. Sundays also supports springy, healthy joints and a silky, smooth coat. Our food is also ideal for smooth digestion. 

Lastly, our dog food is human-grade and even crafted in a USDA-monitored factory, which means you can feel confident about the food you’re providing to your pup.

Created by a vet herself, Sundays is a meal you can feel good about giving to your furry friend. 


Taking care of your dog’s health means making sure that they’re ingesting things that support their body, not tear it down. While the name ‘catnip’ doesn’t sound super dog friendly, we’re happy to report that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your pup enjoying some catnip. 

In fact, catnip can even have benefits for your dog - who knew? Now that you do know, you can use catnip to help improve your dog’s quality of life. By being conscientious about what you’re feeding your dog, you’re helping support a healthy lifestyle. Your furry friend does so much for you—show them that love right back by giving them products and food they’ll enjoy. 


Try Healthy, Easy Sundays