Can Dogs Drink Tea?
Generally speaking, allowing your dog to drink tea now and again won’t cause any long term issues. However, there is a small risk for dogs that consume tea containing caffeine – even then, a small dog for instance, would have to drink about five cups per day to reach toxic level.
The best tea to give dogs is green or black tea and these are readily available in any supermarket. Green tea is made from the leaves of the plant camellia Sinensis and is far less processed than black tea which contains much higher levels of antioxidants.
Not only is it good for people – being rich in antioxidants, which are reputed to reduce the risk of cancer cell formation, for example – green and black tea is good for dog’s too. Not only does the antioxidant process work in dogs it can also work by reducing inflammation of the liver and of the intestinal tract, so it is an excellent supplement for dogs suffering from enteritis or hepatitis.
Although few trials of the effects of green tea on animals have been carried out, research in humans has suggested that drinking green tea on a regular basis reduces the likelihood of certain cancers including breast cancer, stomach and colon cancer – there is therefore every reason to suggest that the same benefits can be gleaned by our pets. Some owners believe that giving their dogs green tea promotes fresher breath and reduces odour from stools, although this is not a proven fact.
If you decide to give your dog green tea make sure it is the decaffeinated type. While people can cope with higher levels of caffeine in their diet, dogs are far less able to tolerate it, so the basic rule of thumb is never to give your anything which contains caffeine, including tea.
Recommendation for the amount you should give your dog varies – but broadly speaking occasionally giving your dog a cup of green tea will not do your dog any harm – you can safely mix a small teacup of green tea into your dogs meal on a weekly basis for example.
While there are many studies which show that green tea carries many health benefits there are a few experiments which show that it can be harmful to dogs in very large quantities; and especially when combined with consuming it on an empty stomach, so this is something to bear in mind. Even things that are good for people and dogs should still only be consumed in relative moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
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