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Anise Seed is Catnip for Dogs


That sweet, herbal taste and fragrance make anise seed an excellent choice for tea concoctions, cooking, and holistically healthful essential oils. Dogs also love this herb, so much so that they can go a little nutty with just a slight whiff or taste of it. Here are some fun ways to use anise seed, and how to use it safely.

A bit of history

Extract from anise seeds has long been used to train and fire up hunting and racing dogs. Lures and other objects that dogs are supposed to track or chase are coated with anise seed extract to get them motivated. The effects can last for hours. Catnip for cats is like an energizing chill pill. Anise seed for dogs is like a pick-me-up that adds focus. 

Anise Seed Is Basically Catnip For Dogs | Vet Organics

Why use anise seed extract? 

Anise seed extract can make Fido hyper, or more hyper than usual. However, every dog will react to it differently. With most dogs who are already naturally energetic, we don't need to give them an extra energy boost. However, it can be useful for dogs who are training. It will add energy, so we'll need to exercise and play with them a lot more, but it also adds focus, which can make training just a little easier. 

Many dog products already contain anise seed, mostly doggy treats. Because it can instantly get Fido all fired up, we can use anise seed to give him more motivation during training. With a vet's recommendation, we can also use anise seed to treat our pal's nausea, gas, and other digestive problems, such as congestion, cough, and similar respiratory issues. It's sometimes even used to help ward off seizures. Again, consult a veterinarian before treating any health condition with anise seed, no matter how minor.


Anise Seed Is Basically Catnip For Dogs | Vet OrganicsWhen it comes to digestive problems, anise seed can sometimes help with some of the symptoms, however, for persistent digestive discomfort, it's a great idea to add a supplement to Fido's diet. Commercial pet food is not always easily digested, and many dogs lack the essential digestive enzymes that allow them to get the full nutritional benefit of their food. For any dog who suffers from loose stools, diarrhea, gas, constipation, poor skin or hair condition, or lack of energy, it’s likely he’s not properly digesting his food. EcoDigestive probiotic and enzyme support formula improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients. 

How to use anise seed

We can get doggy treats that are already infused with anise seed extract from our local pet store. We can also add a drop or two of the extract or a sprinkle of the herb in powder form into Fido's favorite toy or food. This option can be especially helpful if he refuses to eat. We can bake Fido's dog treats ourselves, and mix anise seed with the other ingredients. Just make sure that any treat containing anise seed is out Fido's reach and sealed properly. Too much of it can lead to serious health problems.

Anise Seed Is Basically Catnip For Dogs | Vet Organics

A bit of caution

Large amounts of anise seed can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhea, low heart rate, and even unconsciousness. Overdosing on this herb can also prove fatal for our puppers. So remember, only give anise seed to Fido, in any form, in moderation; and keep an eye out for any adverse reactions. Any sign that our furry buddy is not responding well to anise seed should require an immediate visit to the vet. 

For those who are considering anise seed for their dog's lethargy, consult a veterinarian. A medical professional should rule out other, potentially serious health conditions.

Another thing to bear in mind is that anise seed in the form of essential oils has not been studied enough to have reliable results. That means there are still questions about how safe it is for dogs. Right now, it's better to stick to anise seed extracts and powders. 

The verdict

Despite its exciting effects (pun intended), we should be careful about how much and how often we give our fur-baby anise seed as a treat. It's been traditionally and safely used to train hunting and racing dogs, but remember that these dogs need the extra stimulation for their intense physical training. For those of us who won't be taking Fido out to help him spend his energy, giving him anise seed wouldn't make sense.

Anise seed is a useful tool for play and training when used in moderation. It has it's risks, but can be a fun way to connect with our dogs and build a stronger bond.  


Further Reading: 

Michelle Lievense

Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.

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