Can dogs drink tea?
Tea is a classic beverage most people enjoy several times a day. It is more beneficial to some than coffee as it contains less caffeine and more attendant benefits.
Don't get tempted to let your pup taste your tea, though. Caffeine in tea could be very dangerous to dogs, depending on their size and how much they take at once. Read on to learn more about tea and its interactions with your dog.
Is tea safe for my dog?
Before you offer your pet any human-grade beverage, you should check with your vet or other professionals to decide whether it is safe for it or not. Regular tea is unsafe for your dogs mainly because of its caffeine content. Consistent intake will cause a build of caffeine, leading to caffeine toxicity. On the other hand, decaffeinated and herbal tea are pretty safe for dogs.
Harmful effects of tea on dogs
Giving your dogs tea poses several dangers to their health. While it could prove beneficial, tea often does more harm than good, especially if you give it frequently, because animals are more sensitive to some of the ingredients than humans.
Caffeine is a principal constituent in most tea products. Among others, black and green tea contain high amounts of caffeine. Although it isn't as much as coffee, the caffeine levels in three cups could cause discomfort in dogs.
Caffeine has similar effects on dogs as on humans. In little quantities, it could make dogs quite more active than usual. However, they could experience severe discomfort when they take larger amounts of tea. Some of such symptoms of caffeine toxicity include:
- Irregular heart rates because of the increased stimulation by caffeine.
- Higher blood pressure.
- Increased resting body temperature.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Increased panting because of the elevated temperature.
In severe conditions, your dog could experience seizures and muscle tremors due to overstimulation by caffeine.
Moreover, caffeine is not the only ingredient in tea that endangers dogs' health. Several tea brands come with artificial sweeteners, especially those modified for people with diabetes. A common sweetener is Xylitol, which is toxic to dogs generally. It accumulates in the liver, causing hepatic failure.
If your tea also has milk, it is all the more harmful for your furry friend. Dogs are lactose-intolerant, so milk often causes discomfort in their digestive tract.
Is tea vital for my dog's health? Health benefits of giving your dog tea
As stated earlier, tea has similar effects on dogs and humans. Some of such products are listed below.
Tea is a proven antioxidant in humans, helping to clear up harmful metabolic products from body tissues. These metabolic products are often free radicals that cause increased cell damage and accelerate aging.
Most varieties of tea are excellent antioxidants. However, there isn't enough evidence in dogs to prove the antioxidant activity of tea. Most of it is based on initial findings and surveys.
Tea, especially green tea, contains a high amount of catechins. They are instrumental in reducing the risk of developing cancer in dogs, as they bind to carcinogens, predispose your dog to cancer, and facilitate their clearance from the body.
Consuming tea could be beneficial for your dogs as it helps reduce inflammations throughout the body. It complements the immune system, giving your dog a significant boost and helping reduce the intensity of inflammations in the body.
Since other dog-friendly supplements could perform these functions, it is better to exclude tea from your dog's regular diet. While tea might have its usefulness, the harm often outweighs the benefits.
What do I do if my dog loves tea already?
If you have been feeding your dog tea for a while, it is likely it's used to having it. You might be in a fix as to how to resolve that problem.
Regarding tea brands, not all types of tea are harmful to dogs. Herbal teas, for instance, don't contain caffeine or sweeteners, so they are better suited for dogs. Such teas are herb extracts with a flavoring that provide nutrients for your pup without adverse effects.
Some of the popularly used herbal teas include:
- Peppermint tea could help keep your dog's breath fresh.
- Chamomile tea alleviates anxiety and calms your dog's mood.
- Ginger tea for preventing nausea.
- Rooibos tea for antioxidant activity.
Apart from herbal teas, you could also opt for decaffeinated tea. However, decaffeinated tea also has demerits of artificial sweeteners and milk additives. Hence, the best alternative to tea for your dog remains herbal teas.
Several brands produce herbal teas. While preparing them, it is best not to add additives; only brew them and serve them warm.
Do-It-Yourself–Homemade tea for your dog
With all the risks involved in buying tea from stores, it is understandable if you want to make your dog's tea at home. That way, you are sure of its composition, and your dog is safe from toxicity.
For your dog's tea, you would get your desired herb. You can use a single plant or decide to mix it up. You would also need a natural flavoring agent, like cinnamon or honey. Lastly, you should get some clean water and tea bags for brewing. Then, follow the process below.
- Arrange your herbs in a teabag. You will need more fresh leaves for the same quantity of tea. If you have dried herbs, you only need about a teaspoon to make a cup of tea.
- Bring the water–about 250ml– to boil.
- Then add the teabag and allow it to simmer.
Add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten it and allow the mixture to cool before serving your dog. You can add ice cubes, so it cools faster.
Dogs need only water for hydration. Many other supplements, like tea, might have accompanying demerits even if they benefit the dog. In conclusion, regular tea is not safe for your furry friend. However, there are several alternatives, as highlighted in this article. It is also not out of place to prepare your dog's tea on your own, as this further ensures your dog's safety.