The Fundamentals of Catnip

Is your feline friend familiar with catnip? It’s our cats’ favorite plant! Here, your veterinarian North Phoenix, AZ tells you all about the basics of catnip.

What Exactly is Catnip?

Catnip is an herb categorized in the same plant “family” as mint. It occurs naturally, having originated on the continent of Europe before being spread all over the world.

In the wild, catnip is a leafy green plant with white flowers. The catnip you’ll buy in a pet store is a processed and dried version of the natural plant, and catnip can also be infused into sprays or included in pet toys.

What Makes Cats Respond to Catnip?

The oils of the catnip plant contain a chemical substance known as nepetalactone. It’s this substance that causes a reaction in your cat’s brain, leading to feelings of euphoria and excitement.

Why Doesn’t My Cat Respond to Catnip?

Cats require a certain gene, inherited from the parents, to respond to nepetalactone. If they don’t possess this gene, catnip won’t cause much of a reaction whatsoever! If your cat doesn’t respond to catnip, don’t worry—they’re perfectly healthy.

Want to know more about Fluffy’s favorite herb? Contact your animal hospital North Phoenix, AZ.

Your Pet and Chocolate

You probably know that chocolate isn’t good for pets. In fact, it’s one of the most dangerous and common pet toxins out there! Here, your North Phoenix, AZ veterinarian tells you more.

What Makes Chocolate Dangerous?

Chocolate contains theobromine and caffeine, two chemicals that pets shouldn’t have. These chemicals can cause your pet’s heart to race, and can also lead to symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness, excessive panting, excessive urination, and even seizures. Without treatment, a pet may slip into a coma and die.

Is All Chocolate Dangerous?

Yes. No form of chocolate is truly safe for pets—everything from white, milk, and dark chocolate to baking chocolate, powdered chocolate, and semi-sweet varieties may harm a pet who ingests too much.

How Do I Prevent Poisoning?

Fortunately, preventing poisoning from chocolate isn’t hard. It’s as simple as restricting your pet’s access to all chocolate treats and any foods containing chocolate. Never leave harmful substances out on the kitchen counter or tabletops, where crafty pets may be able to reach them. Instead, store chocolate and foods containing chocolate inside the refrigerator or a closed cabinet.

Would you like more information on chocolate toxicity? Call your veterinarians North Phoenix, AZ.