Catnip and puppies

Our question this week was:

Will catnip make a puppy sick?


Wendy Lee


Hi – thanks for your email. Good question. You know, in all my years of practice, I don't think anyone every asked me that? Will catnip make a puppy sick?

Catnip is an herb related to the mint family (Nepetia cataria). The active ingredient in catnip, nepetalactone, is chemically similar to hallucinogens. Not all cats are affected by catnip but for those that do respond, it causes them to lick at the catnip, roll around, meow and act totally silly. It is thought to cause no harm or addiction.

Dogs are not able to "respond" to catnip as do cats. The herb is harmless when ingested. It is possible that some pets may have vomiting from eating too much of it as they would with eating any plant or herb.

Also, make sure your dog is not eating a toy that contains catnip. Eating the toy can cause an entirely different problem such as a gastrointestinal foreign body from the toy getting stuck in the stomach or intestines.

Although it has not been show to cause harm in puppies, I would not recommend deliberating feeding it.


Dr. Debra

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