Is There a Catnip for French Bulldogs? YES! What To Know About Dognip Anise For Your Frenchie

When I was a kid growing up we had a cat named Jasper. She loved Catnip and I always found it amusing to see her play with her catnip-filled cloth mouse.  It was entertaining beyond measure watching my cat in a euphoric state.  Years later I have transitioned to being a French Bulldog owner and I wondered is there a Dognip? (A Catnip for dogs).  I searched the Internet for Dognip for dogs and low and behold, there was such a thing as Dognip.  In this article I share my findings, is Dog nip safe, and should you use it with your French Bulldog?  

First Things First – What is Catnip?

Before we start on the topic of dog nip for a Frenchie, let’s look a deeper look at catnip for cats and dogs.  Specifically how catnip works differently for each animal. So what is Catnip?  Catnip is a plant (a type of mint actually) and it has a strong smell with textured leaves. Catnip is well-known for the psychedelic effect it has on cats (very much like a high that a human might get from certain drugs).

Catnip, however, is not addictive and is harmless to cats.  Some think it creates a “sexual” response in cats and that is why they get so playful with it. The active chemical in catnip is called nepetalactone and it comes from the plant’s stems and leaves. When cats come into contact with nepetalactone about two thirds of mature cats exhibit altered behavior. This might include but is not limited to rubbing their body against it, purring, meowing, salivating, and rolling around like crazy.  Like I said before, it is quite entertaining to watch.  

The “high” from catnip can last for close to ten minutes but after that the effect wears off and the catnip loses it’s luster for the feline.  It can take 30 minutes for the appeal of the catnip to come back for the cat.  

Will Catnip Affect my French Bulldog? 

In short, the answer is No. Catnip’s effects will only work on cats and not your French bulldog. The brain chemistry of a cat and a dog is different and while cats respond to catnip, dogs sadly do not. 

Is There a Catnip for Dogs and Does It Exist?

As a Frenchie owner and former cat owner, I was hoping there was such a thing as Dognip, a catnip for my French bulldog.  I was happily surprised to discover that a substance known as aniseed is very much like catnip for dogs.  Aniseed, commonly known as Anise, is a plant that has long been used by human as a form of plant medicine for various applications.  Some of those include gas indigestion relief or even pain relief.  Some holistic veterinarians even use Anise to treat issues like coughing.

Apparently someone discovered that when exposed to anise oil scent, given some anise seeds, or given anise dog treats, dogs can have a catnip-like reaction.  When that was discovered people realized that anise is like dognip for dogs.  Like many things, the dose matters and it is important to be aware of the dangers.  

This is what dried aniseed looks like

anise seed for dogs

The Possible Effects of Dognip on Your French Bulldog – Anise for Dogs and How It Affects Them

Anise can have a variety of effects on your French Bulldog including rolling around, salivating, making odd “Frenchie noises” and even kneading like they do when they are cozying up for a nap on the couch. Dognip can certainly make your Frenchie act quite strange.  As I mentioned earlier, Dognip is an herb that is a member of the mint family.  It is the essential oil known as Anise and it is not considered toxic to dogs.  

Some experts have noticed that there is a great deal of variation in the response to dognip.  Not all dogs react the same way, some don’t even respond at all.  Whether they respond or not is very much a genetic trait so if you get some and don’t notice any effect that explains why.  The majority of dogs will have some response to the dognip.  Other factors that play a role include the age of your dog.  A young French bulldog that is 2 months of age will not likely respond.  A French bulldog that is 6 months of age or older is more likely to experience a response from dognip. 

The exact sensation that your Frenchie experiences is not entirely clear but some think that dogs detect dognip through special cells in their nose and for your Frenchie it likely creates visual and auditory hallucinations.  It is not a long lasting effect by any means.  It typically only lasts a few minutes.  

Anise Exposure and Your French Bulldog

There are many herbs and plants that are unsafe for your Frenchie but is anise (aka Dognip) one of them?  Just like most answers, it depends.  

In limited amounts, anise for your French bulldog is relatively safe. Just don’t overdo it.  If your Frenchie is exposed to too large an amounts of anise they may get diarrhea and upset stomach. Definitely don’t do that.  When exposed to too much anise your French bulldog may actually “come down” from the high and seem like they are depressed. If your dog overdoses on anise they may experience lowered heart rate, slowed breathing, unconsciousness, coma or even death in the most severe cases.  A small amount should be ok but don’t leave the bag laying around for them to get into.  

So How Much Anise is Too Much For Your French Bulldog?

Every dog is different and their reaction will vary depending on your Frenchie’s genetics, age, size, and health.  With that said, it is difficult to say how much anise is too much for your French bulldog.  I would recommend consulting your dog’s Vet. If you talk with your Veterinarian and you still have concerns about giving anise to your French bulldog, you might just want to avoid trying anise altogether.  Further in this article I share the decision I came to with my French Bulldog regarding trying Anise (dognip).

Using Anise with Your French Bulldog

Let’s start with the different options of Dognip you might see on the market.  Typically Dog nip is either sold fresh or dried.  If you purchase the dried dognip just know that it has the highest concentration that your French bulldog might respond to.

Anise for your French bulldog can be used safely and while allowing them to enjoy the benefits. When you first try using anise with your Frenchie, I’d recommend that you start slowly with just a small pinch of the anise seeds or even use a small diluted amount of essential oil for scent. Once again, your veterinarian will be a valued resource on how much anise is okay to start with your French bulldog. Another thing to note is that there are also several different ways in which to give anise for Frenchie.

Can Your French Bulldog Eat Anise Essential Oil Directly?

No way, hard no, do not even consider it. 

Essential oil is a very concentrated substance and you should never allow your Frenchie to ingest anise essential oil.  Further, you should never put anise essential oil directly on your Frenchie’s coat.  It is far too concentrated and you should never do this.   

How About Anise Seeds?  Can You Give Your Dog Anise Seeds To Eat? 

Now anise seeds are a different matter entirely.  This is a better option to try anise with your Frenchie.  Putting a couple of whole anise seeds can be put on your French bulldog’s food and it’s perfectly safe for your dog to eat them.  Just don’t overdo it once again.  Anise seeds can also be ground and included in a treat recipe for your French bulldog or added to a recipe whole.

Is The Risk Worth It?  

Just like you do, I love my Frenchie like he is a member of my family.  While there is evidence that Anise seeds in small doses can be safe for your Frenchie I ultimately made the decision I didn’t want to try it for my dog.  The risk of one of our kids leaving a cabinet door open and my dog getting into the bag of Anise just wasn’t worth the potential of seeing my dog acting even more silly than usual.  I decided I didn’t want to try Anise with my French Bulldog.  That was my decision but by all means make your own well-informed decision.  Just because small doses may be ok doesn’t mean you should do it in my opinion.  I would just highly recommend that you discuss this with your Vet first before trying it with your beloved dog.  

Conclusion – Dognip For Your French Bulldog

There is in fact a Dognip for dogs and it is Aniseed.  Anise for your French bulldog is not the same thing as catnip for dogs but it is close.  Just understand that Aniseed can in too great a dose can be fatal to your dog.   IF you choose try it with your Frenchie you will absolutely want to try it keep locked up where your Frenchie cannot get at it.  If you choose to use it please do so sparingly.  After doing my research I chose NOT to try it with my Frenchie Augie.  The risk-reward just didn’t seem worth it to me.  I highly recommend speaking to your veterinarian before exposing your French bulldog to anise.

PS – Before you go, I highly recommend pet insurance for your French Bulldog.  Check out this article to learn more.  

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