The health benefits of green tea are well known but that doesn’t mean dogs should be drinking it. You can, however, find lots of information online about why it’s good for pets. But is there a downside and could this beverage possibly be harmful?
One reason against allowing your dog to lap up a serving of green tea is the caffeine factor. That’s why you won’t hear about vets recommending it. This is despite the fact that this tea can eliminate free radicals and help prevent diseases, including cancer.
This interesting topic is controversial but the truth is that green tea can, in fact, be dangerous for dogs. We’ll explain why and weigh both the pros and cons here.
Can I Give My Dog Green Tea? Answer: Small amounts & only occasionally
Be conservative, especially when your dog has an empty stomach, and careful with caffeinated beverages.
Under normal circumstances, dogs don’t need to drink green tea in order to maintain a strong immune system and good health. If you do sometimes give your dog a bit of herbal green tea, provide it in decaffeinated form. If you are trying to improve your dog’s overall health then consider a highly regarded all-natural canine-formulated health supplement instead. Otherwise, a suspected medical problem should be properly diagnosed by a veterinarian. Green tea is very likely not the solution!
Tempting Health Benefits
Green tea, the dried leaves of Camelia sinensis, does contain powerful antioxidants. People point out it’s ability to prevent certain cancers. There are actually many other potential benefits such as the prevention of coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, diabetes as well as antiviral, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. It’s also known to help with weight loss and strengthen the immune system.
One unproven claim, which very much applies to dogs, is that this herbal drink helps to reduce urine and feces odors. Add that to all the potential positives and it’s no wonder owners are asking about green teas for their dogs.
An Alarming Study
Know that even the ASPCA is cautious regarding green tea for dogs. It may be because of a study carried out on 32 Beagles which ended prematurely due to 16 unexpected deaths. To be fair, these poor dogs were actually given Green Tea polyphenolic catechins (PPE) which is a very concentrated extract. They were given very high doses, on empty stomachs, causing most of them to die within the first 13 weeks.
Don’t panic! The nature of this study probably isn’t very relevant to how you’d be giving some green tea to your dog. We just want you to be aware of all aspects.
Caffeine for Canines
Quite simply, dogs shouldn’t be given caffeine. That’s why it’s probably best to avoid serving just any green tea to your pup. Don’t complicate your dog’s life! They certainly don’t need extra stimulants like caffeine. Quite the contrary, it can be very dangerous for them.
Some Better Alternatives
If you’re determined to keep your dog as healthy as you can, consider specially formulated treats that contain extra nutrients and minerals. This strategy has a better chance of giving them a shinier coat and improved health compared to green tea. As an added bonus, these products are usually great for the teeth.
Don’t get into the habit of supplementing your dog’s diet too much. Under normal circumstances they really just need a good amount of exercise, some fresh air and a quality dog food with fresh water. Often times the best investment is a more premium, higher-end dog food.
Conclusion on Green Tea
Green tea can be given to your dog on occasion but it isn’t a very practical. Understand that most green tea products contain caffeine, so it shouldn’t be consumed by canines on a regular basis. The potential for toxicity is higher for dogs compared to us humans. There are better ways to fortify your pet dog’s health and immune system. Using green tea to treat medical conditions is unlikely to help. Instead, set up a veterinary consultation for your dog’s sake.
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Dr. Stephanie Flansburg Cruz, a practicing vet, has reviewed and endorsed this article. She has 3 dogs of her own and cares very much about the welfare of all animals.
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