While taking your tea, you might have seen your pup edge closer and closer to your cup, hoping to get just a little bit of it. But is it safe to share this delicious drink with our beloved pets? Will it harm them?
Is Tea Safe for Dogs?
Dogs love anything sweet or sugary and will try drinking whatever is left in your cup, but should they? In truth, dogs can drink tea without problems, especially in small amounts. A few licks of the drink are not going to hurt them or produce any unwanted side effects.
However, giving your furry friend tea is not a good idea because caffeine threatens its life. Dogs need only a small amount of caffeine to show caffeine toxicity symptoms. Sugar in the tea can also be a potential cause of harm.
Health Benefits of Tea
Most tea contains antioxidants. Dogs can benefit from these antioxidants, which can help control their cholesterol levels. The antioxidants also help reduce harmful blood cholesterol in dogs suffering from it.
Moreover, tea acts as an anti-cancer agent, which can also be attributed to the antioxidants it contains. For example, green tea inhibits multiple cancers, such as gall bladder and lung cancer. It can also help prevent breast cancer in dogs by binding their estrogen receptors.
The catechin content in some teas helps protect your dog’s body organs. It gets absorbed by their tissues, mainly in the liver and digestive tract.
Nevertheless, because of the little research on its benefits to dogs, it is advisable to keep the drink away from your furry friend. The dangers in tea are more present and threatening to dogs than the possible health benefits.
Dangers of Tea to Dogs
Dogs are subject to the end effects of tea. Allowing your dog to drink what’s left in your cup or letting them gulp up a little tea exposes them to:
Multiple tea types and brands contain caffeine, a dangerous ingredient for dogs. Black tea especially has higher caffeine levels than most other teas. The caffeine in the tea produces the same effects in dogs as in humans, giving them an energy boost.
Hyperactive dogs become more active than usual, so get ready for endless zoomies, barking, howling, and general restless behavior. Most dogs will eventually return to normal once the caffeine levels lessen in the bloodstream, although the duration of the effects varies depending on the dog. It can, however, be stressful for the owner to keep up with an overexcited dog.
Caffeine also raises blood pressure in dogs, leading to an uneven heart rate called cardiac arrhythmia, which can be fatal in severe cases. The dangers of caffeine toxicity don’t just end there; it can also cause vomiting and muscle seizures.
To suffer from the side effects of caffeine toxicity, dogs need to drink around four or five cups of tea. While it is improbable that your dog can gulp down this amount at a go without you noticing, you still need to be on the lookout.
Most of us love a couple of teaspoons of sugar in our tea to sweeten it up. As unhealthy as sugar is for us, it is even more so for dogs.
One of the problems associated with sugar in dogs is tooth decay. Too much sugar can destroy your dog’s teeth and cause them a lot of physical pain.
Excess sugar can also contribute to weight gain. Because of the size of their bodies compared to humans, dogs are much more vulnerable to weight gain from sugar than we are. A few licks of sugary tea on numerous occasions can make your beloved pup overweight.
Can Dogs Drink Decaffeinated Tea?
Despite the name, decaffeinated tea still contains trace amounts of caffeine. It has undergone decaffeination, but this process doesn’t remove all the caffeine. As a result, decaffeinated tea is still harmful to dogs and should be avoided, just like ordinary tea.
How About Herbal Tea and Green Tea?
Green tea has the lowest caffeine content, but it still has caffeine. On top of that, it has a bitter taste that your dog will probably not like.
Herbal teas come in different varieties and contain different ingredients, some of which could be harmful to dogs. You must be careful when choosing herbal tea for your pup, ensuring the one you give them is dog friendly.
Some herbal teas, such as peppermint and rooibos tea, naturally don’t contain caffeine. Moreover, these teas don’t contain toxins and can even assist your dog’s digestion. Even so, ensure you research before giving your dog any tea to avoid exposing them to health risks.
Are There Alternatives to Tea for Dogs?
Dogs are simple creatures and don’t need much. You don’t have to worry about finding tea substitutes because, in truth, they don’t need it.
A dog’s diet is complete with just water. Encourage your pup to drink water regularly, and ensure its water bowl is never empty.
Unless your vet says so, don’t restrict your dog’s water intake. It is the best way to combat dehydration and not harm your furry friend.
Most tea types are unsafe for dogs, and you should keep your pup away from them. Although a small amount of tea will probably not cause any harm, there is no need to offer it to them.
There is not much you can do if they get a few licks here and there, but it is better to ensure it is not within their reach. Instead, give your pup regular water and let them get their hydration from there.