At some point in time, when laying out yet another bowl of drab tap water for your dog, you may have thought, “I wonder if they can drink tea?” Tea looks, smells, and tastes mild enough. It’s known to be healthy. What could go wrong?
The relationship between dogs and tea is a tricky one, as each expert will have you believing different things. Some will say there’s nothing too wrong with it, others will strongly advise against it. The truth is, dogs are fine to drink small, cool, non-dairy, decaf versions of tea. Don’t try serving a milky, sugary, regular cup of tea to your furry companion.
Turns out the best bet for dogs tea-wise are herbal options such as chamomile, lavender, ginger, and rooibos. Anything that is decaffeinated, plain, and boasting antioxidants should be fine, in moderation… that’s the keyword here. Dogs can’t throw back brews like humans. If they did, they would end up in a coma, or worse.
Below is a fuller overview of the relationship between dogs and the world’s most beloved drink, if you really can’t stand that drab tap water any longer…
Can dogs drink tea?
Technically, dogs can drink tea. But there are a lot of specifications that you need to consider. The main thing to note is that dogs do not need tea. Plain fresh water is the only kind of hydration they need. Anything else is either fancy or potentially unsafe.
Decaffeinated tea is the only tea your dog should ever get a taste of. So if you absolutely have to offer your mutt a few sips, opt for a herbal tea. Do not add any other ingredients. Tea sweetened with xylitol, or with a milk substitute that contains xylitol can harm your dog. And make sure the tea is cold. A scolding hot cup will burn its mouth.
Can dogs drink herbal tea?
There’s conventional tea, grown from the Camellia sinensis plant, and then there’s the hipper younger sibling which is herbal tea. Well, your dog may well be able to drink herbal tea in the right circumstances. For some, little servings of herbal tea will be fine if not possibly beneficial. Speak to your veterinarian to find out.
The type of herbal tea you pick is an important factor here. The likes of rooibos, echinacea, and peppermint tea might improve digestion in dogs. Others could have the opposite effect. Olive Leaf tea is also meant to be good for our canine friends but it ultimately differs from pooch to pooch.
Why is tea bad for dogs?
Traditional tea is bad for dogs because it contains caffeine. We may be tolerant of the stuff but dogs are highly sensitive to the stimulant’s effects and you should always keep that in mind whenever you’re giving them any non-doggie treat.
If given too much caffeine, a dog’s heart rate can spike as they grow more and more agitated. Other symptoms can include vomiting, higher body temperature, irregular heart rhythms, panting, and higher blood pressure. In rare, severe cases, a dog may even slip into a coma or die. Artificial sweeteners can also be toxic to dogs.
What teas are the best for dogs?
Rooibos tea is one of the best teas for dogs. A red tea low in tannins and rich in antioxidants, it’s especially good for preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In humans, it’s also good for treating skin problems and has been known to relieve itchiness.
Second is chamomile, made from dried flowers to make a mellow, honey, and apple-scented tea. Famous for its natural sedative properties, it also serves as a muscle relaxant, which is ideal for an anxious or aggressive dog. It can also aid digestion and boost the immune system.
Third is peppermint, a popular herb that is used as an essential oil in aromatherapy as well as flavouring chewing gum. If you’re looking for nothing more than something to freshen up your dog’s breath then look no further than a cup of peppermint tea.
Fourth is ginger tea, a widely used spicy root used in tons of foreign cuisines. Ginger has also treated nausea for centuries, as well as high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Rich in antioxidants, ginger works to strengthen the immune system. If your dog is feeling under the weather, this might be just the thing to perk them up.
What should I do if my dog drinks tea?
If your dog has slurped up a tiny bit of your tea, they’ll probably be okay, especially if your dog is fairly big. Make sure to monitor their behaviour to see if they show any symptoms of agitation or distress. Consuming nine milligrams of caffeine per pound of a dog’s weight is the level at which they might experience symptoms.
If your dog starts to act agitated or restless or begins to vomit, you’ll want to ring up an emergency veterinarian or a pet poison hotline. If you do seek the help of an emergency veterinarian, be prepared for some pretty daunting drills. There’s a chance they’ll activated charcoal to absorb any toxins, induce vomiting, or use an intravenous drip.
How do I serve tea to a dog?
Serve tea to your dog the same way you’d serve it to another human, only without the milk or sweeteners. Dogs are lactose intolerant, so they’ll either fart the house down or put themselves at risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. You could add a dash of cinnamon due to its health benefits and the fact dogs have been known to respond well to the taste.
Serve the tea at room temperature too. It should go without saying that a piping hot cup of tea will definitely burn your dog’s mouth. Brew the tea, let it sit and cool, or even add a dash of cold water before serving if you’re really concerned. Only give your dog a decaffeinated version of tea or herbal tea. Chamomile, rooibos, and ginger are some of the best dog-friendly teas as they have calming powers that could set your crazed pooch straight. Teas like ginger can also alleviate nausea.