Can Dogs Have Catnip Toys?

Catnip is a herbal plant. It’s also known as cat-wort or cat-mint and is used to stimulate cats. Dog owners can use catnip on dogs as well – although it has the opposite effect on dogs vs. cats. Dogs have started to develop a liking for it, hence making us ask, “Can dogs have catnip toys?”

Can dogs have catnip toys? Yes. Dogs are meant to feel sedated with catnip. It will calm and soothe most dogs. However, be aware the reaction to catnip can differ from dog to dog. Dogs can have no reaction, feel sedated, or become hyperactive (they’ll become sleepy later).

Does your dog like catnip toys or do you want to give your dog a catnip toy during a drive in the car? Then you need to know how safe is catnip. This article will serve as your complete guide on giving your dog a catnip toy. We will explore the safety of catnip toys, the type of catnip toys to give your furry friend, and the medicinal uses.

Can Dogs Have Catnip Toys?

Catnip toys contain dried catnip as stuffing. They can feature small trinkets and bells to entice your pet to play with it. Even though they’re designed for cats, your dog might develop a fondness for these toys.

The catnip toys with bells or squeakers in them are especially popular with dogs who have a high prey drive.

When you’re buying a catnip toy for your dog, choose a size they cannot swallow. Catnip toys that are much smaller than your dog’s mouth will become a choking hazard.

What If My Dog Ingests Catnip?

Watch your dog while it plays with a catnip toy to ensure it doesn’t pull the toy apart and ingest the catnip stuffing. Catnip is safe but your dog should only consume it directly under veterinary guidance.

Catnip has a sedative quality but ingesting large amounts can cause hyperactivity. In some cases, it can cause diarrhea and vomiting. This is why supervised play with a catnip toy is recommended.

Remember, every dog can react differently to catnip.

What Is the Safest Method to Give My Dog Catnip?

There are several choices:

  1. Give your dog a catnip toy and supervise their playtime.
  2. Rub a small amount of fresh or dried catnip directly onto your dog’s favorite toy made from a soft material like a plush toy.
  3. Sprinkle some fresh catnip leaves in your dog’s water or food.
  4. Apply catnip oil on your dog directly or on their bedding to help it relax.

If you would like to grow your own catnip at home and dry the leaves, take a look at this video.

Do Vets Use Catnip?

Yes, your vet may give your dog catnip if it’s fearful, scared, and nervous.
Your vet may give catnip to your dog after it undergoes surgery and if it needs to spend the night at the hospital.

Your vet may prescribe catnip in your dog’s water when it becomes nervous and anxious.

How Much Catnip Should You Give Your Dog?

You should sprinkle 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoons of fresh or dried catnip either in your dog’s water or food.

Each dog reacts differently to catnip. I’d recommend that if you plan to give your dog dried catnip, it’s better to consult with your vet first. Your vet will help you decide the dosage and frequency.

You shouldn’t give your dog catnip directly every day.

What Kind of Catnip Toy Should You Buy?

A dog can tear apart a toy containing dried catnip. Buy a catnip toy that has been specially designed for dogs to play with. This toy needs to be durable so look for a soft toy with reinforced stitching to make it withstand a dog’s teeth and rough play. That means it won’t tear apart easily.

Ensure the size of the catnip toy is much bigger than your dog’s mouth. That way, there will be less of a risk of suffocation. Most catnip toys on the market are small in size and no bigger than your hand. That means they would be more suitable for small and toy dogs.

You should also get catnip toys made from soft and non-toxic materials.
The toy should contain only a moderate amount of catnip, as an excessive amount of catnip is not suitable.

Don’t forget to supervise your dog when they are playing with a catnip toy. I know I sound like a broken record but it’s really important, especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer.

The first time you introduce your dog to a catnip toy, monitor your dog to gauge its reaction. Does the catnip toy soothe and sedate your dog? Is there no reaction from your dog? Does your dog become hyperactive? After these initial observations, you can make a decision about whether a catnip toy is suitable for your dog.

Always consult your dog’s vet first before introducing anything new to your dog’s life.

What Catnip Toy Do We Recommend?

We have 2 recommendations for you:

The Kong Hedgehog

This plush toy Hedgehog measures 4 x 1 x 2.5 inches.

Kong offers a 60-day money-back guarantee.

It comes with its own vial of catnip sourced in the U.S.A.

Being a refillable toy, you can control how much or how little catnip your dog gets and observe their reaction.

When the vial is all used up, we recommend you then buy Sojo’s certified organic catnip for future refills. Again, this catnip is grown in the USA. It’s free of additives and pesticides. Because the quality of the catnip is so good,, you can use less than your regular dried catnip.

Yeowww Pollock Fish

If you’re looking for a catnip toy that’s longer-lasting, the Yeowww is our top pick.

Filled with 100% organic catnip, the potency is stronger than your regular dried catnip.

  • Made in the USA.
  • It’s 11 inches long.
  • Perfect for puppies and small dogs.

How Often Should You Let Your Dog Play with a Catnip Toy?

Access to a catnip toy for a limited time each day should be fine.

But again, make sure it’s supervised playtime. You need to watch out for your dog ingesting catnip if the toy is torn apart.

The Benefits of Catnip Toys

Here’s a list of benefits of giving your dog catnip toys.

Alleviates anxiety

Most dogs should not lose their cool while on catnip. Your dog should feel more relaxed and mellow. Since it works as a mild sedative, it can induce sleep.

Give your dog a catnip toy to play with if you need to travel long distances by road or air.

Another time to give your dog a catnip toy to alleviate anxiety is a trip to the vet.

If your dog suffers from anxiety, consult your vet to see if you can give your dog a small amount of catnip directly to relieve its anxiety. The catnip herb comes in a fresh and dried form and oil too.

Relieves digestive problems

Catnip contains antispasmodic properties, which work to relieve stomach pain due to diarrhea. If your dog is experiencing gas or bloating, catnip can provide some relief. It’ll reduce spasms and cramps as well. If your dog has fallen sick, you can prevent it from vomiting by giving catnip.

But always consult your vet first before giving catnip directly to your dog.

Aids wound healing

Catnip has antimicrobial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties, which facilitates wound healing.

Ointments and creams containing catnip are available.

It can be applied to an external wound to speed up the healing process.

You can also apply catnip oil or fresh catnip to cuts, sores, and scratches.

Repels insects

You can apply fresh or dried catnip leaves or catnip oil directly onto your dog’s coat. This will repel insects, such as lice, fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes.

If you’re taking your dog for a hike or outdoors, you can use catnip as an insect repellent.

Works as diuretic

Get catnip essential oil and combine it with a carrier oil.

Apply the essential oil mixture to your dog’s fur to stimulate urination and body detoxification.

Related Questions

Can you use catnip for dogs’ anxiety?

Dogs react differently to catnip than cats do. In most dogs, catnip works as a mild sedative to calm your dog’s nerves, making your dog lethargic and sleepy.

You can ask your vet about giving your dog the catnip herb or a catnip toy to play with to make it calmer when traveling in a car.

If your dog has anxiety, you can give it catnip to relieve stress and help it get through the situation.

My dog ate the catnip mouse, what’s going to happen?

If your dog ate the catnip mouse, then you need to take it to the vet before a blockage happens and puts it at risk. Most likely, your dog will require surgery to remove the catnip toy.

How long does catnip last on dogs?

The effects of catnip on both cats and dogs last about 10 minutes.

Your vet can tell you how frequently you should use catnip based on the condition and reason you want to give it to your dog.

You should never decide the dose for your dog on your own, as too much catnip may make it sleep more. If catnip has the opposite effect, it may make your dog more energetic than ever before.

Can catnip kill dogs?

Catnip can’t kill your dog. There are no reports or evidence of catnip causing deaths in dogs. However, to be on the safe side, you should consult with your vet before giving your dog fresh or dried catnip or catnip in the form of oil.

Catnip toys are safe if they are the right size for your dog’s mouth (reducing the chance of suffocation) and if their playtime is supervised.

Is catnip safe for my dog?

Yes, catnip is safe for your dog but needs to be under the direction of your vet.

A dog that ingests too much catnip should become more energetic and playful, and will then sleep it off.

In most cases, they’ll feel mellow and calm.

If you’re giving your dog catnip toys, don’t give them a small one, as it can cause them to choke. If swallowed it can lead to gastrointestinal obstruction requiring surgery.

Do dogs have their own version of catnip?

A herbal remedy, anise, has the same calming effect as using cat’s catnip for your dog.

More About Toys and Dogs

Toys are such an important way to add indoor or outdoor fun and value to your dog’s life. That’s why we’ve spent a lot of time writing about them here at Outdoor Dog Fun. If you want to find out more about toys to keep your dog safe and happy, check out our list of articles below.


Michelle loves enjoying the outdoors with her dogs. She grew in a big house near the beach with German Shepherds. Nowadays, Michelle has down-sized her dogs to poodles, proving small dogs can enjoy the outdoors too! Her dogs enjoy playing fetch, swimming, and long walks. Michelle and her dogs enjoy escaping the city limits to hike, camp, and swim.

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