Can Dogs Play With Catnip Toys? Is It Safe? [+ Alternatives]

A German shepherd and cat sitting together indoors with a small cat toy between them.

Catnip, or catmint or cat-wort, is an herbal plant that can stimulate and greatly enrich cats, but what about your other four-legged friends?

Can dogs play with catnip toys? Catnip can soothe and calm most dogs. While catnip itself is generally okay for dogs, catnip toys are not designed for dogs. Most catnip toys are very small, making them a choking hazard. If a dog swallows one without choking, it can still cause intestinal blockage. 

The following will serve as your overall guide in exploring the safety of giving your furry friends catnip toys. 

Dogs and Catnip Toys

Catnip is a fragrant green leaf that contains vitamins C & E, magnesium, flavonoids, and tannins.

It makes cats act a little nutty but can be used for dogs too, though generally not in toy form. 

Are Catnip Toys Safe for Dogs?

While ingesting catnip is okay for dogs, the nature of most catnip toys is not designed for canines, especially for bigger dogs.

Catnip toys are made for smaller animals, like cats, to play with. 

However, if a catnip toy is the right size for your pup’s mouth, meaning that it’s large enough where there is zero possibility of the dog swallowing it, then it should be safe.

Otherwise, catnip toys smaller than a dog’s mouth will only be a choking hazard.

Do Dogs Like Catnip Toys?

Some dogs may develop a liking for catnip toys while others won’t. Every dog reacts differently to catnip toys. 

What Does Catnip Do to Dogs?

While catnip is a stimulant for cats, catnip acts as a sedative to dogs. It can help relieve anxiety and mellow out an overactive dog.

Catnip can also induce sleepiness in dogs and be helpful in other ways, such as:

  • Natural remedy for diarrhea in dogs
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Diuretic, stimulating urination and promoting body detoxification
  • Insect repellant (ticks, flea, flies, mosquitoes)

What If My Dog Ate a Catnip Toy?

It’s best to supervise your dog while playing with a catnip toy to ensure that they don’t ingest any part of the toy, like the stuffing, bells, and squeakers.

Ingesting catnip will have sedative effects on the dog, but if he has eaten a lot of it, the effects could be hyperactivity or, worse, vomiting. 

First, be absolutely certain that the dog is not choking. Then, observe him closely for the next few hours. If you note any alarming behaviors, take the dog to the vet immediately.

Also, be sure to monitor your dog’s bowel movements over the next few days.

If nothing is happening in that department, there may be an intestinal blockage, and he should be seen by a vet immediately.

Can Small Dogs Play With Catnip Toys?

Playing with catnip toys is usually not a problem with very small dogs, given that they are about the same size as a cat and unlikely to swallow or destroy the toy.

You should, however, choose a catnip toy appropriate for the size of your dog’s mouth, and always supervise playtime. 

Catnip Toy for Dogs – Best Choice

Most catnip toys designed for cats are too small for a dog to safely play with, but a larger one might work.

They are more likely to tear apart the toy, so it’s best to find a catnip toy specially designed for dogs – durable with reinforced stitching to withstand the dog’s teeth and rough play. 

Don’t forget that supervision is strongly recommended when your dog is playing with catnip toys. It’s especially important if your furry friend is an aggressive chewer. 

Petstages Catnip Toy

Petstages Catnip Crunch Fish Cat Toy
  • ENCOURAGE NATURAL HUNTING INSTINCTS: The Catnip Crunch Fish cat toy is thoughtfully made with...
  • SHAPED FOR BUNNY KICKS & WRESTLING: Great for active cats who need a way to redirect their energy,...

Over 1 foot long, this catnip toy is large enough to give to most dogs.

It provides multiple sensory experiences to dogs – an irresistible catnip scent with a crinkle material that a dog would enjoy. The polyester material is also durable. 

How To Safely Give Your Dog Catnip

While catnip isn’t bad for your pooch, the key is to give it to your dog in a safe dosage: 1/8 to ½ teaspoon of catnip for every pound of dog food.

You can give your dog fresh or dried catnip of the recommended amount and mix it in their water or food. 

Remember that catnip isn’t meant to be a daily supplement for dogs. Giving it to dogs twice or three times a week (like for cats) should be safe.

Also, each dog can react differently to catnip, so it’s always better to consult a vet first before giving it to your dog.

Another tip to safely give your dog catnip – always supervise their playtime with a catnip toy. 

Catnip Overdose in Dogs

While catnip is not a toxic substance, excessive amounts of catnip given to dogs can cause various health problems over time.

So, stick with the recommended 1/8 to ½ teaspoon when giving catnip to dogs.

Giving them more than the recommended amount will not likely end in an “overdose,” but your dog could get sick from it.

Consuming too much catnip can cause poison-like reactions, such as vomiting and diarrhea. 

Catnip can also lead to your pooch developing some digestive system troubles, especially if your dog has an underlying medical condition that may be aggravated by catnip.

Catnip for Dogs Equivalent

Catnip is famous for its stimulant effects on cats. The equivalent of that in dogs is aniseed or anise.

Anise is a plant from the same family as celery and carrots that can make your furry friend playful and energized. 

Anise for dogs can be in the form of anise seeds, anise oil, or an anise treat.

Only offering it infrequently and in small doses is recommended to avoid upsetting your dog’s stomach and causing diarrhea. 

Related Questions:

Is Dognip the Same as Catnip?

Dognip is not the same as catnip. Catnip is a plant from the mint family with a strong odor, while dognip isn’t actually a plant at all.

The term dognip refers to a treat given to dogs that contains anise. 

Can You Give Catnip to Dogs for Anxiety?

Catnip acts as a sedative to dogs, the opposite of its stimulating effects for cats. Hence, it’s a great option for dogs experiencing bouts of anxiety.

However, catnip can have different effects on different dogs. In some cases, dogs don’t react to catnip at all. 

That’s a Wrap

While catnip toys are safe for your very small dogs to play with, make sure that they’re durable and the right size for your furry friend.

Since no toy is indestructible, it’s strongly recommended to monitor your dog while playing with a catnip toy, especially for the first time.

Larger dogs are too big to play with catnip toys because of the potential choking hazard. A toy or treat made with anise can have similar effects though.

Last update on 2022-05-18 at 11:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API