Can My Golden Retriever Eat Catnip? Only If You Do This

I have catnip in my back yard and as you know by now Golden retrievers are curious by nature, they like to discover new things and they like to taste them too.

I always find my dogs walking around it and sniffing it confused and trying to figure out is it food or something they can play with and after a lot of sniffing they decide ah what the hell and taste it anyway.

While they are sniffing it I decided to do my research before he eats it to make sure if it’s safe for golden retrievers to eat. After my research, I found some useful and interesting information about catnip and can golden retrievers eat it? Here’s a summary.

Can my golden retriever eat catnip? Yes, Golden Retrievers can eat catnip and be just fine. Catnip is a green leaf that is related to mint and while it makes some cats act weird, it’s completely for a golden retriever to eat and consume. Catnip Can be used to calm down dogs and help them sleep.

You should know that giving your dog catnip should only be under the right circumstances.

Feeding your dog catnip depends on many things how about learning them together.

What Is Catnip? 

Image for catnip to illustrate the answer to can my golden retriever eat catnip

Catnip is a herb that’s related to mint, it’s native to Europe and Asia but now it grows wildly across America and other places in the world.

As you can see from the name, it’s got something to do with cats. 

One of its many benefits is the calming effect that it can have on the body because it contains nepetalactone. It’s an essential oil and it’s similar to the valepotriates found in a commonly used herbal sedative.

In essence, it can make the animal more relaxed, reduce their anxiety, stress, and restlessness, boost their mood, and even help them fall asleep.

Catnip is also a natural emmenagogue which means it activates blood flow in the pelvic region. In women, it is used to help with menstruation and help them be more comfortable, but it has completely different effects on cats who love the stuff, hence the name (told you it had something to do with cats).

As for dogs, it can also help them relax and reduce their stress and anxiety. Stress is as serious in dogs as it is in humans, and it can cause more dangerous problems like excessive shedding or even aggression. Check out our complete guide on golden retriever aggression here. I have included the 7 ways you should try to make your golden less aggressive, so make sure to check it out.

One last thing to note here is that catnip shouldn’t be given to pregnant humans or dogs.

Catnip’s Effects on Cats

The term “catnip” is thought to originate from the reaction cats show towards that pant.

When cats are around catnip you will see the pure joy in their reaction, they will start by licking and rubbing against it before it turns into something even weirder, which is not that surprising when it comes to cats to be honest.

Soon enough, cats can become hyperactive and they can start jumping, stretching, or drooling. If you think this sounds like the cats are on drugs, you are right, that’s exactly what it looks like because it’s pretty much the same thing.

Is catnip a drug for cats?

Yes, it is. It’s the only recreational drug that vets routinely give to animals. It makes cats freak out and roll on the ground, drooling, licking it, and rubbing against the plant.

Cats can get high and act wild because of catnip just by inhaling it. The chemical binds receptors inside a cat’s nose and it stimulates sensory neurons which eventually will lead to the brain.   

Can catnip get you high?

No, it can’t. Catnip can’t get humans high but trying to smoke it will make you feel pretty awful.

Too much catnip whether you tried to smoke it or drink it as tea will cause you headache and vomiting.

Little warning do not try to smoke it. Still interested? Maybe the side effects can convince you to avoid it then.

The effects of Catnips on humans:

  • Headaches.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Skin and eye irritation.
  • Uterine contractions.

Is Catnip Safe for Your Dog? 

Yes, it is safe for dogs, it’s not toxic for them and they can digest it easily. But the effect catnip does on dogs is completely different from the effect it does on cats.

Well, catnip can benefit and provide your dog with vitamins C, magnesium, flavonoids, tannins, and vitamin E. It also contains essential oils.

All of that can help your dog to sleep and calm down, especially dogs that have a history with anxiety whether it’s due to going to the vet or loud sounds like fireworks, thunder, and storms, or any loud noises.

Anxiety is a very serious problem and it can cause your dog to even run away from the house. You can learn more about how to stop your dog from running away here. There are 7 ways discussed there that I have tried and tested myself over the years and they have never failed me, so make sure to give it a look when you can.

The essential oils in Catnip can help keep your dog’s digestive systems healthy and it can also relieve any stomach upset because catnip oil promotes urination and relieves the body of extra water and toxins like acid, uric, or waste from colds or allergies.

It can be used as a natural antiseptic too. You can apply fresh catnip to small wounds, cuts, sores, scratches, or mosquito bites or any other insect bite as catnip also has thymol.

One more thing is some dogs can’t respond to catnip because responding to it is related to certain genes and some dogs are simply born without that gene. Your dog’s response to catnip also depends on age. Dogs under two months won’t respond to it. 

Before giving catnip to your dog you should consult your vet to recommend the right amount for your dog based on his health, weight, and age.

How to Feed Your Dog Catnip? 

If you want to provide your dog with the many benefits that catnip can offer here’s how you can serve it to them:

Take ⅛ to ½ teaspoon of dried catnip and add it to their food and you can also try putting catnip leaves in their water, it’s recommended to be fresh leaves. Or you can mix in some catnip tea.

If you have a cat (or thinking of getting one) and you are wondering if they are a good fit with goldens, you can learn everything about golden retrievers with cats here. Make sure to take notes on the discussed steps to introduce your dog and cat safely and everything will be splendid!

Related Questions 

Is there a dog nip?

Yes, there’s a dog nip, it’s an herb and it’s also related to mint. Dogs respond to the essential oils that dog nip consists of, it’s not toxic to dogs, and some dogs do not respond to the dog nip because the ability for dogs to respond is genetic. However, responding to that herb also depends on age.

Can a dog overdose on catnip

Yes, they can, when a dog overdoses on catnip it could cause depression and heart failure especially in older dogs. Catnip should only be given in the right circumstances and conditions and in the right amount.  

Is it safe for humans to eat catnip?

Yes, it’s mostly safe for most adults when it’s taken in small amounts. Like, cupful amounts of catnip tea, it’s been consumed without serious side effects.

However, Catnip is not safe for children. It’s also unsafe when smoked. Drinking too many cups of catnip tea is also a bad idea because it can have many (really bad) side effects.   


What is Catnip

Is Catnip safe on dogs?


Hey there, I'm Matt, the author behind With a deep love for dogs and a dedication to strengthening the bond between owners and their retrievers, I've created a hub of resources for enthusiasts like you. Through engaging articles, training guides, and product reviews, I aim to provide practical advice that makes a real difference in your life as a dog owner. Whether you're a seasoned pro or new to the world of retrievers, my approachable and informative writing style ensures that you'll find valuable insights. Join me on this incredible journey of discovering what makes retrievers tick, unlocking their potential, and creating an unbreakable bond with your furry companion. Let's embark on an adventure of dog ownership together. Thank you for visiting and being part of our vibrant community.

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