Much hype can be found for the health benefits of tea. This makes dog owners wonder, is tea good for dogs? Sadly, the answer is no. Tea contains caffeine which dogs cannot easily digest and can get very sick from.
What is Tea?
What is commonly called “tea” are beverages made with the plant Camellia sinensis. They are usually sold as black tea, green tea, oolong tea and white tea. There are ready-made beverages like bottled iced tea or iced chai lattes and bags or leaves which need boiling hot water and time to brew.
No Hot Drinks!
Many people prefer to drink hot tea instead of iced tea. Hot drinks may delight people, but they should never be given to dogs. They can cause serious burns in the mouth and down the esophagus. Many dogs are smart enough to keep away from hot drinks, but not all of them will. Puppies and young dogs will try anything once.
Treat Caffeine in Tea Like Poison for Dogs
Dog digestive systems just cannot tolerate caffeine in the way human bodies tolerate large amounts of caffeine. One lick from a cup of tea should be okay. A whole bowlful is dangerous. At the least, a dog drinking caffeinated drinks will be hyperactive and have diarrhea. At the worst, the dog will die if the dog drinks a few cups of tea or eats a box of tea bags. Signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs include:
- Restlessness, as if the dog cannot find a comfortable place to sit or lie down
- Panting for no known reason
- Elevated heart rate
- Strange heart rhythms
- Sudden collapse.
Contact a vet immediately if a dog known to get into caffeinated drinks, foods or pills exhibits any of these symptoms. Time is of the essence to get treatment and save the dog’s life.
Dairy Products in Tea are Also Bad for Dogs
People usually add cream, half and half or milk to their tea, which is also not good for dogs. Once puppies are weaned, they lose their ability to easily digest milk. Dogs still like to drink milk or drinks with milk in them, even though it gets them sick. Dogs are a lot like people in that respect.
Other Foods and Drinks Dogs Should Stay Away From
Any food or drink containing caffeine should never be given to dogs or puppies. This includes not only tea, but:
- Sodas containing caffeine
- Anything containing chocolate
- Candy bars
- Energy drinks or shots
- Diet pills
- Any over the counter painkillers containing caffeine, like Excedrin.
The Least You Need to Know
Is tea good for dogs? No, because it contains caffeine, which is very bad for dogs. Even tea listed as decaffeinated still contains trace amounts of caffeine. Black tea, green tea, oolong tea and white tea is all bad for dogs. Keep in mind the old saying, “When in doubt, leave it out.” Just stick with water for dogs.