Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Catnip for dogs?

A reader asked if there was an herb equivalent to catnip for dogs. In my search for the answer to that question, I came across many articles claiming that although some dogs will actually respond to catnip, aniseed is to dogs what catnip is to cats. Foxhounds will reportedly follow the scent of anise oil in drag hunting and the artificial rabbit that greyhound dogs chase during racing is laced with anise oil.

Although I could not find a peer-reviewed source of information on this topic, there are many anise-flavored doggy treat recipes and products online, which apparently freshen their breath. For that reason alone, I may consider giving our dog anise-flavored treats!


Kowalchik C, Hylton WH (Ed). Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 1998.

Categories: Intelligence and Neuroscience, Pets

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