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Can Dogs Drink Green Tea? Benefits & Risks Explained

Last updated on April 3rd, 2024 at 12:41 pm

Fun fact: Tea is the second most consumed drink in the world, right after water. And guess what, green tea steals the show when it comes to the tea preferences of many.

Do you love sipping on a warm cup of green tea and snuggling up with your furry friend? As a pet owner, you may wonder if it’s okay to share this beverage with your dog.

Can dogs drink green tea? Well, the answer is yes, but hold on a second! Before you start pouring green tea into their bowl, there are some things you should know. Let’s dive into the risks associated with dogs drinking green tea and how it can affect their overall health and well-being.

Can Dogs Drink Green Tea?

can dogs drink green tea

Green tea is a type of tea that is dried rapidly after being picked in order to minimize oxidation. As a result, it retains the natural green color of the tea plant and has a lower concentration of caffeine compared to other types.

Dogs can drink green tea, but the biggest concern is the caffeine content. An 8-ounce cup of green tea packs between 30 and 50 milligrams of caffeine. This might not seem like much, but dogs are much smaller than us and metabolize caffeine differently. In fact, for them, a dose as low as 140 milligrams per kilogram (or 63 milligrams per pound) can be toxic.

How Do You Know if Your Dog Has Caffeine Poisoning?

The warning signs of caffeine poisoning from green tea are similar to those from coffee, though coffee does pack a higher caffeine punch. Keep an eye out for these symptoms in your dog: 

  • Vomiting 
  • Elevated blood pressure 
  • Increased heart rate 
  • Hyperactivity 
  • Hyperthermia 
  • Seizures 
  • Tremors 
  • Abnormal heart rhythm

The culprit behind caffeine toxicity is usually a curious dog who stumbles upon tempting foods or household products. These items, if consumed in large quantities at once, can easily exceed safe limits and lead to poisoning. Thankfully, it’s unusual for owners to intentionally give caffeinated drinks to their dogs due to the awareness of the risks above.

Does Green Tea Have Any Benefits for Dogs?

Yes, green tea might offer some benefits for our dogs! It contains special substances called catechins, which act like tiny shields in the plant world, protecting it from toxins. When consumed, these catechins act as antioxidants in both humans and animals.

Imagine free radicals as tiny troublemakers bouncing around inside our cells, causing damage. Antioxidants, including the catechins in green tea, help slow down this damage.

Exposure to the sun, pollution, and cigarette smoke all create free radicals. It can even affect our cells’ DNA, potentially leading to cancer. These catechins may help prevent cancers like liver, stomach, and intestinal cancer in animals!

But that’s not all! Antioxidants offer other benefits, too. They can help reduce inflammation, which could be helpful for dogs suffering from conditions like allergies, arthritis, and even liver or gut problems. They might even strengthen their immune system, making them better equipped to fight off illnesses.

There’s also some talk about antioxidants helping with diabetes by managing blood sugar and insulin. They might even improve heart health by relaxing blood vessels, boosting circulation, and potentially lowering blood pressure.

Green tea has another interesting component: L-theanine, an amino acid. This L-theanine is said to promote calmness, regulate mood, and improve focus. While not a replacement for medication, it could be a natural option for easing anxiety in dogs.

Is Green Tea Worth the Risk?

can dogs drink green tea

So, is green tea worth the risk for your dog? Let’s weigh the pros and cons.

Green tea contains caffeine, a stimulant that keeps us humans feeling awake. In plants, caffeine acts as a defense mechanism, overstimulating and deterring insects. While that morning cup of tea might perk us up, it’s not recommended for dogs.

Beyond caffeine, green tea has tannins. These plant protectors bind to nutrients, making them less available for digestion. In humans, tannins can interfere with iron absorption. For dogs, large amounts of tannins can irritate the gut, causing vomiting, diarrhea, and even damage to the liver.

Therefore, moderation is key. If you do decide to offer green tea to your dog, stick to a very small amount. Decaf green tea is an option, but remember it may still contain trace amounts of caffeine.

Here’s the takeaway: Green tea might have some potential benefits, but the risks outweigh them for most dogs. It’s best to stick with fresh water, the safest and healthiest drink for your canine companion.

The Best Alternatives to Green Tea

Herbal teas are a great alternative to green tea. They are brews of various flowers, herbs, roots, fruits, and spices. They have similar properties to tea, including being rich in antioxidants, and offer many health benefits. The best part is they are free from caffeine.

Below is a list of four herbal teas and their benefits for dogs:

1. Ginger tea: Ginger is not only spicy but also a great remedy for nausea. It can even help lower your blood pressure and blood sugar levels, as well as boost your immune system. Plus, it’s full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.

2. Rooibos tea: This tea is red, low in tannins, and rich in antioxidants. It is particularly good for preventing diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and it can also help with skin problems and relieve itchiness.

3. Peppermint tea: Peppermint is a widely used herb that freshens your dog’s breath. It is a muscle relaxant that can relieve digestive issues and improve breathing by relaxing the nasal cavity.

4. Chamomile tea: This tea is dried from flowers and has a mellow apple and honey scent. It is a natural sedative and muscle relaxant, making it a potential way to calm an anxious or aggressive dog. It is also believed to aid digestive issues and boost the immune system.

How to Make Caffeine-Free Dog Tea at Home

Pre-made tea bags are convenient, but brewing your herbal tea is fun and allows you to control the ingredients! This way, you can create a custom blend for your dog’s needs.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 teaspoon dry or 3 teaspoons fresh herb
  • 250mls of water
  • ½ teaspoon of honey

Let’s get brewing!

1. Pick your herbs: Decide which herbs you want to use. Both dried and fresh work, but you’ll need more fresh herbs for a strong flavor.

2. Fill your tea bag: Add 1 teaspoon of dried herb mix (or 3 teaspoons fresh) to a tea bag.

3. Steep it: Pour 250ml of boiling water over a tea bag and let it steep. If you prefer iced tea, steep the tea bag in cold water and add ice cubes.

4. Sweeten it up (optional): If you want to add extra flavor, you can use honey. However, if your dog has diabetes, it’s best to skip the honey.

5. Cool it down: To avoid burning your dog’s tongue, let hot tea cool down completely first, or add cold water/ice cubes.

6. Take out the tea bag.

7. Voila! Your homemade doggy tea is ready for your furry friend to enjoy!

Conclusion

can dogs drink green tea

It’s always important to be mindful of what your dog is consuming. While green tea in moderation won’t hurt them, it’s not a necessary beverage for their consumption. If you’re looking to treat your beloved furry friend a cup of tea, it’s best to stick to decaf versions or herbal teas. For example, chamomile and lavender are great for anxious pups, while ginger root can help alleviate nausea. 

Last But Not Least…

Many readers have loved learning how to train their dogs based on scientific methods from a free workshop conducted by Dr. Alexa Diaz (one of the top service dog trainers in the U.S.) and Eric Presnall (host of the hit Animal Planet TV show “Who Let the Dogs Out”) at the K9 Training Institute. In the free online dog training workshop, you’ll discover:

    1. How to train your dog using body language rather than verbal cues
    2. The 3 key techniques that service dog trainers use to train dogs and how you can use them too
    3. The most important step that “normal” dog owners have been missing (this is very important to get your dog’s attention, and it works 100% of the time)
    4. How to stop bad behaviors like excessive barking, pulling on the leash, jumping, etc.
    5. Why a lot of dog owners are unable to establish the amazing bond that service dog trainers have with their dogs

Etc.

Whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, this pre-recorded workshop will help you train them successfully. You may not want to miss the chance to learn these groundbreaking techniques. Here’s the free workshop.

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