Canine Catnip: How to Make an Anise Dog Toy

Although we humans use anise to flavour candy, tea, and absinthe, man’s best friend also finds the anise herb appealing. In fact, some dogs are attracted to anise in the same way that many cats are drawn to catnip – they enjoy pouncing, chasing, and romping with it until they tire out. If you’re looking to rile up your pup, try this canine catnip and see how the pooch responds to an anise dog toy.

You can make an anise dog toy using anise seeds or anise extract, both of which will result in a fragrant plaything. Should your loyal friend show an unusual interest in the anise dog toy, you can use this canine catnip to entertain your dog on a regular basis. Similar to cats with catnip, dogs who are affected by the herb will typically play with it happily, lose interest after some romping, and then regain interest as soon as a few hours later.

But just as not all cats respond to catnip, not at dogs respond to anise. It is likely that canine heredity determines which dogs are most excited by anise, yet research into the phenomenon is very limited. Some dog foods do contain trace amounts of anise, though manufacturers claim this is not for anise’s attractant qualities but for its role in doggy digestion: it supposedly reduces Fido flatulence!

To make an appealing anise dog toy for your companion, there are several options:

1. Purchase a bottle of anise extract from your local grocery store, take one of your dog’s current fabric toys, and dab it with the anise extract. A fabric toy, like a stuffed animal, is ideal because the anise extract will soak in nicely and the material will retain the scent better than plastic. I like this method because, even if your dog does not show interest in the canine catnip, the anise extract is still useful in cooking. In other words, this is a good way to test your dog’s attraction to anise, and you may even have the ingredient on hand! The down side to this method is that you’ll probably need to reapply the anise fragrance often to get the frisky behavior.

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2. Find a plastic dog toy that somehow allows you to stuff anise seeds inside of it. Because some dog toys do have rattling mechanisms or hollow corridors, you may be able to access the interior of the toy and insert a handful of anise seeds, which are cheaply procured in the spice section of most grocery stores. The problem is finding a suitable dog toy that won’t pop open and spill seeds everywhere.

3. To make a “true” anise dog toy, you can sew one yourself! Simply gather the following materials: fabric, stuffing/cotton balls, anise seeds, and a sewing kit (or machine, preferably). Because you won’t want the toy to come apart from romping puppy play, it’s important to choose a sturdy fabric that does not tear easily. Select a simple pattern – maybe a bone shape? – and sew around the pattern line, leaving a hole for you to stuff the toy. Trim off the excess fabric so that you are left with the shape you desire, and then turn the fabric inside out. Inspect your seams to make sure they have some structural integrity, and you’re ready to begin filling the toy with stuffing and anise seeds. One it’s puffed out tightly, hand-sew the opening to complete the anise dog toy.