Does Catnip Help With Dog Anxiety?

Although catnip does not cure dog anxiety, it may act as a temporary sedative. For overly anxious dogs, you can add the catnip to their food each morning, or you can submerge a few leaves in the water bowl. Do not give your dog more than ½ teaspoon of catnip per day.

Have you heard of a plant called “catnip?” Some attentive readers might notice the word “cat” in that name. The word “cat” is in the name because the plant makes cats very hyperactive when administered to them.

However, it has the complete opposite effect on dogs. It makes them super mellow and relaxed. Because of this, it might be a game-changer if you have a dog that suffers from anxiety.

If your dog struggles with anxiety, restlessness, and aggressive behavior, catnip might be the solution you’re looking for. An overly active dog will immediately display a change in behavior once the drug is administered.

Let’s take a close look at what catnip is and how to use it to treat dog anxiety.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is a leafy plant in the mint family (it actually looks exactly like mint). The leaves are heart-shaped and have a very distinctive “minty” fragrance. This plant usually grows from July to October.

It has a lot of beneficial ingredients for your pup’s wellbeing: vitamins E, C, and magnesium, to name a few.

As we mentioned above, this plant has energetic properties when given to feline friends (makes them hyper) but has an opposite effect on dogs (acts more like a sedative).

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Signs Your Anxious Dog May Benefit From Catnip

If a dog hates being alone, is always restless, and is relieving itself in the house, then all signs point to an anxiety disorder.

Yes, our canine friends can suffer from anxiety. It can add a great deal of stress to both the pet and the pet parent.

If you believe any of the following reasons are causing your dog’s anxiety, catnip may be beneficial.

Separation Anxiety

Some dogs (just like kids) may experience stress when their owner leaves home. When dogs become stressed, they may start chewing on furniture, urinating everywhere, or even become aggressive. Aggression is obviously an alarming sign when children are in the household.

If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, sprinkle about ⅛ teaspoon of catnip on your dog’s food in the morning.

Old Age

Unfortunately, dogs have not found the fountain of youth. As dogs age, it’s common for them to develop cognitive issues. A very common problem amongst senior canines is CDS (Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome).

When a dog suffers from CDS, it might lose a sense of reality, act confused and distraught, and have perception problems.

Although catnip will not heal CDS, it can help calm the anxiety some dogs experience.


If you live in a noisy neighborhood with constant sirens or kids shouting, your dog could develop anxiety. Constant negative stimuli can turn dogs into nervous wrecks.

Moving would be the best option, but it is obviously not a realistic option. Instead, try giving your dog catnip. This may help him calm down and cope with the anxiety.

How Else Can Catnip Benefit Dogs?

Besides being a great anti-anxiety treatment, catnip has many other health benefits for dogs. Let’s look at a few of the most common.

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Flea repellent

Not only does warm weather mean “fun in the sun,” but it also means tick and flea season has begun. Catnip is an excellent tick and flea repellent. If you’re concerned about your dog getting a tick or flea infestation, try planting catnip in your garden.

Digestive Issues

Catnip is a great way to soothe an upset stomach. Whatever the source of the upset stomach, catnip will likely help.

Cut up leaves (fresh or dried), and mix them with boiled chicken. If you stick with this feeding regime for about two days, your dog will be running around chasing squirrels in no time.

If your dog suffers from digestive issues often, consider changing its food to a different brand, like Hill’s Science Diet or Blue Buffalo Dry Food. They might be a little pricey, but they are proven to be a much healthier alternative to cheaper generic brands.

Better Sleep (For Both of You)

Do you find that your dog struggles to settle down even after a long play day? Or maybe your dog is restless in the middle of the night, waking up the entire family.

Catnip might be your best option before you pull out all of your hair and consult a psychotherapist (the latter may be preferred, you may need your hair in the future).

Sprinkling catnip on your dog’s food or immersing whole leaves into the water bowl will work wonders. Give it a try if your dog is keeping you up at night!


Rub catnip leaves directly onto any scrapes or minor wounds your pup gets after playing too actively. This will decrease the chances of an infection.

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Catnip Can Help With Dog Anxiety

Overactive, anxious dogs can benefit significantly from catnip, but it must be given only when necessary. A dog trainer or vet can help identify the severity of the problem and decide whether catnip would be helpful in your particular case.

If the vet gives the green light on adding this herb to your diet, please follow their guidelines and watch for any alarming signs (your vet should give you a list of signs to watch for). Catnip might be a game-changer for dogs and their owners!

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