Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun… and the English love their tea. But what about dogs? Is tea something your pooch should drink? Does it offer any benefits or is it harmful? Can dogs drink tea or is it something they should avoid?
In all of my articles about food and drink dogs can or can’t consume, I provide an answer up front before explaining why.
So let’s deal with the clear answer here and now: no, dogs can’t drink tea.
Now… I know I’ll attract some heat for advising against allowing your dog to drink tea as some people say that a cup or two once in a while isn’t harmful.
I also understand there are caveats where tea is concerned: there are many different varieties of tea and not all of them are harmful to dogs.
Principally in this article I’m focussing on the type you’d normally associate as tea in the western world, which is derived from the camellia sinensis plant. This plant produces varieties such as English breakfast, black and green tea.
For the purposes of this post, when I refer to tea I mean tea coming from camellia sinensis to which you add milk…
… and tea with milk is never something I’d let my dog drink.
I’ll explain why in this post.
Table of Contents
- Can Dogs Drink Tea?
- Is Tea Harmful for Dogs?
- Summary: Can Dogs Drink Tea?
- Related Posts
Can Dogs Drink Tea?
To reiterate, no… dogs can’t drink tea. Tea contains caffeine, which is a stimulant and it can be dangerous for dogs.
While a single cup of tea probably won’t poison your dog, the caffeine it contains will probably increase its heart rate, make it hyperactive and perhaps affect its sleep.
The upshot is, you should never knowingly give your dog any drink containing caffeine, as in sufficiently large amounts it can be harmful.
Is Tea Harmful for Dogs?
Yes, tea can be harmful to dogs. In sufficient quantities the caffeine in tea can cause:
- Increased urination
- High blood pressure
Of course the toxic effects of the caffeine in your cuppa depend on numerous factors, such as age, size and the amount consumed. So for example, a young and healthy Wolfhound may be less likely affected by drinking a small cup of tea than an old pug with heart problems would.
Regardless, caffeine is known to be the cause of damage to important organs in dogs like the heart, lungs, kidneys and nervous system… so why would you ever risk letting your dog drink tea containing caffeine?
Furthermore, milk is often added to tea and this is another foodstuff that dogs shouldn’t drink. Although its not poisonous, most dogs struggle to digest it. The result of this is often stomach cramps, diarrhoea and / or vomiting.
Finally, tea is often flavoured with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Most people know that canine obesity and diabetes are growing problems, so giving your dog refined sugar should be a no-no.
Equally bad are some sweeteners like xylitol, which are actually dangerous for dogs even in small quantities.
My advice would be not to let your dog drink caffeinated tea at all.
Find out more about foods dangerous to dogs.
I’ve designed this section to give you a very quick yes / no answer to whether dogs can drink certain tea varieties. I’ll explain what the teas are and any health issues they might cause or benefits they might deliver to dogs.
As a general rule, do not allow your dog to drink anything containing caffeine… and always check the labels on any drink to make sure.
What Should You Do if Your Dog Eats a Tea Bag?
Regardless of what variety of tea you prefer, if you use teabags to make your tipple these can also pose a risk to dogs.
Firstly of course, the leaves in the teabag may be caffeinated. Secondly, a dog could easily choke on a teabag, especially if it’s unused and dry. Finally, if a dog manages to swallow a teabag whole, it may block the digestive system.
Keep teabags out of reach and always dispose of used teabags where your dog can’t get them. If your dog ever gets a hold of a teabag accidentally, my advice would be to call a veterinary professional and seek advice.
Can Dogs Drink Tea?
No, dogs can’t drink tea… or rather they really shouldn’t drink tea derived from the camellia sinensis plant.
Tea from this plant often contains caffeine, milk and possibly sugar or sweeteners, all of which can cause stomach upsets or more dangerous effects (see above).
Can Dogs Drink Black Tea?
No, dogs shouldn’t drink black tea. It’s derived from the camellia sinensis plant so black tea contains caffeine, which is bad for dogs.
A small cup of black tea probably won’t poison your dog, but the caffeine it contains may make it hyperactive and restless (see the main section of this article about tea with milk for more details).
Can Dogs Drink Chamomile Tea?
Chamomile is a plant from the daisy family and it’s long been used by people as a calmative aid. It’s made from the flowers of the Chamomile plant to make a sweet and mildly apple tasting hot drink.
Chamomile tea shouldn’t contain caffeine so it doesn’t pose the same risk to dogs as traditional tea.
However, there have been few scientific studies to clearly state one way or another that dogs can drink chamomile tea safely. That said, there are many personal accounts advising that chamomile tea helps to alleviate symptoms of inflammation, digestive upset, anxiety and aggression.
Of course, dogs can be sensitive to some plants (and some are allergic to the daisy family specifically).
In dogs that are sensitive to chamomile tea, drinking it may result in itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhoea and other allergic reactions.
Can Dogs Drink Green Tea?
Green tea comes from the same plant as regular tea (to which we add milk). As a consequence it contains caffeine.
Although green tea offers multiple healthy benefits for humans, the caffeine it contains your dog shouldn’t drink it.
Although a small amount probably won’t poison your dog, it’s best to avoid giving your dog anything that contains caffeine.
Can Dogs Drink Ginger Tea?
Ginger tea is another drink that has not undergone much scientific research in terms of dogs. However, there is much anecdotal evidence suggesting that dogs can drink ginger tea and that it in fact may deliver the same medicinal benefits as it does to people.
Ginger contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties and it helps digestion by can limiting gas and bloating.
However, as with other herbal teas your dog may be sensitive to it or be allergic to it. As with any new food, you should only introduce it in small amounts initially to ensure your dog isn’t sensitive to it.
Can Dogs Drink Peppermint Tea?
Peppermint tea should be safe for dogs in small doses, but be careful not to let your dog drink too much, especially if they’ve never tried it before.
Some herbal teas may trigger allergies in dogs that are sensitive to them.
To be completely honest, dogs don’t need to drink tea unless your vet recommends something that may be beneficial for your dog.
Dogs really only ever need to drink water and so I’d never let my dog drink tea, especially if it wasn’t decaffeinated or flavoured with milk, sugar or sweeteners.
It’s just not worth the risk.
If your dog ever drinks a small amount of any tea by accident, it would be unlikely to suffer any ill effects. However, tea that contains caffeine will always pose some sort of health risk, even if it’s small.
My recommendation would be not to let your dog drink tea of any description, but if it does by accident when your back’s turned, monitor it closely and seek veterinary advice at the earliest opportunity if you’re at all concerned it’s unwell as a consequence.
Do you let your dog drink tea? Or perhaps you’ve had a bad experience when your dog drank tea? Please let me know your thoughts and experiences in the comment section at the bottom of this page.
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- Why Is My Dog’s Nose Dry?
I have a vintage book about caring for wire haired fox terriers and the recommended breakfast for them is toast and tea. Mine doesn’t get that, he has stolen a few cuppas over the years though.
Jacqueline Land says
This just feels like utter insanity to me, human beings should really only drink water if they want to be totally healthy. Fresh water and plenty of it is all they need. Even with food if it’s intended for humans then I wouldn’t feed it to my dogs. Only exception is a bit of raw carrot.
Walter Riley says
My grandad used to breed Whippets and said cold tea was the best thing out for them. My border collie has just drank a cuppa now, decaff of course!
This is a huge surprise to me. All my dogs have drank tea l thought it good for their nerves! My White GSD is addicted and is always stealing my tea. I will be taking a different view and making sure she won’t have it. Carole.
My dog Chockey had a bowl of tea every morning for 16 years. She had a shiny coat and full of life. Of course with no sugar.
Charles Gaston says
Hi I’ve got a Cocker Spanial and I all ways give her a small cup of tea in the morning. Didn’t know it was doing any harm. And I haven’t had a problem. Thanks