Ever noticed your furry friend looking at you with those big, puppy eyes and drooling when you enjoy a cup of tea? You might have been tempted to offer them a sip, but is it safe to do so?
Drinking tea can be ok for dogs, but there are things to consider before your do. Most types of tea contain caffeine, and this can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s health. But when it comes to caffeine-free teas, such as herbal teas, they are generally considered safe for dogs to drink in small amounts.
Read on to find the answer to; whether is it safe for dogs to drink tea, and learn more about tea and dogs, the effects of caffeine on canines, and which types of tea are safe for your pup to drink.
What is the Main Deal With Tea and Dogs?
The problem with the dangers of allowing your dog to drink tea stems from the high amounts of tannins in tea, which are found in many plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables.
The tannins give plants their color and flavor, but they’re also very bitter tasting for humans, so we don’t usually eat them. For dogs who drink too much tea, these tannins can cause gastrointestinal upset — including vomiting and diarrhea.
Why Isn’t Tea Suitable For Dogs?
Tea has been a popular drink for many people since the 16th century. It’s also been used in many cultures around the world. But, as you may have already guessed, one thing where tea doesn’t function well is inside your dog’s system.
Here are 4 reasons why tea isn’t suitable for dogs:
Most tea contains caffeine, which can be dangerous for dogs. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and increases heart rate, which can lead to serious health issues in dogs. It can also lead to hyperactivity or anxiety-like symptoms in dogs.
Caffeine also has diuretic properties, so dogs who drink tea can end up peeing more than normal and potentially dehydrating themselves.
In fact, dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than humans — so it’s best to avoid giving them tea altogether.
- Sugar and Sweeteners
Tea can also contain added sugar and sweeteners, which are unneeded and unhealthy for your pup. Excessive amounts of these ingredients can lead to dental problems, obesity, or even diabetes in dogs.
Tannins give tea its flavor, but they’re also very bitter-tasting and can be hard on your dog’s digestive system. Too much tannin in their tummy can lead to vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s best to avoid tea altogether.
If you add dairy, such as milk or cream, to your tea, it can be even more dangerous for your pup. Dairy products can cause digestive upset in dogs, and they lack the enzymes needed to break down the lactose found in cow’s milk.
Milk contains lactose — a sugar that can be hard for dogs to digest. Lactose also causes intestinal distress in dogs, leading to diarrhea or other digestive issues. Milk also contains proteins that can cause allergic reactions in some dogs (though this is rarely the case).
What Should I Do If My Dog Drinks Tea?
If your pup accidentally gets into some tea, there’s nothing to worry about — as long as they don’t have too much. Caffeine or other tea ingredients won’t cause serious health issues in small quantities.
But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Hence, keep an eye on them for any signs of upset stomach or other health issues, and give them plenty of fresh water to drink. If your pup starts displaying unusual behavior or symptoms that seem to be related to the tea, it’s best to get in touch with your veterinarian right away.
Your vet can determine if your pup should receive further care or treatment.
Which Types of Tea are Safe For Dogs?
If you still want to share some of your tea with your pup, the best option is to choose caffeine-free herbal teas. These teas contain little or no tannins and are generally considered safe in small amounts.
But remember that just because a type of tea is caffeine-free doesn’t mean it’s healthy for your pup. Many herbal teas contain ingredients, such as licorice root, that can be toxic to dogs. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizin, a compound that can cause electrolyte imbalances in dogs if ingested in large quantities.
Some herbal teas may even have added vitamins and minerals that benefit your pet’s health. You can safely use the following:
(Please note that the following options shouldn’t be part of your dog’s regular diet — they’re just alternatives to regular tea.)
- Chamomile Tea
Chamomile has calming properties that help reduce anxiety, stress, and sleeplessness in dogs. It can also help improve the immune system and aid in digestion.
- Rooibos Tea
Rooibos tea is a caffeine-free herbal tea made from the African red bush plant leaves. It’s high in antioxidants and low in tannins. It’s also known to help fight inflammation and prevent inflammation. The topical application of rooibos tea may even help with skin problems and relieve itchiness.
- Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is a good source of antioxidants and is known to help with digestion. It can also help reduce inflammation and soothe the digestive system.
- Peppermint Tea
Peppermint tea has anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce digestive issues and improve blood circulation. It’s also known to have calming and soothing effects on dogs.
Final Words on Is It Safe for Dogs to Drink Tea
Tea isn’t the best thing you can give your pup, but it won’t necessarily harm them in small amounts — provided they don’t have any underlying medical issues or allergies. If your pup has gotten into some tea and you’re worried, the best thing to do is give them enough water to hydrate and call your veterinarian immediately.
Otherwise, stick with caffeine-free herbal teas that are safe for dogs. In any case, you should always give tea to dogs in moderation without adding sugar, honey, or dairy products. This way, you can be sure that the tea is safe for your pup and that it won’t cause any issues or reactions.
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