Can Dogs Drink Green Tea? Is Green Tea Safe For Dogs?

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A cup of freshly brewed green tea from a traditional tea brewing set plated on a woven fabric

A cup of freshly brewed green tea from a traditional tea brewing set plated on a woven fabric

Can dogs drink green tea?   Hmm.. 

Green tea is a popular food for its soothing and various health benefits to us humans. However, there is some contradicting information about whether it can be safely fed to pets. Caffeine, which is present in green tea, is known to be a toxic component to pets. Therefore, some people believe that feeding green tea to pets could be dangerous. This can be misleading especially if you have noticed green tea extract marketed in dog food and treats.

The fact of the matter is, the topic of feeding green tea to pets is still controversial. Some believe that it should not be fed to pets due to the potential dangers of caffeine. Others argue that green tea can be beneficial due to its antioxidant properties. Despite the conflicting reports, we would still recommend avoiding feeding green tea to pets, as there are alternative options such as chamomile and peppermint that can be served instead.

Why some experts believe it is NOT safe to feed your dog green tea

From left to right, an overflowing metal spoonful of matcha powder next to some freshly brewed matcha tea and a matcha brush

Green tea contains caffeine, which can pose a health risk to dogs and cats as they are more sensitive to it than humans. The responses to caffeine toxicity may vary depending on the amount consumed, the size of the pet, its health condition, and individual characteristics. While small amounts of caffeine usually don't cause significant health problems, consuming more than a certain amount can increase a pet's blood pressure and cause abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). It can also be dangerous enough to damage vital organs such as the liver, heart, lungs, and central nervous system if fed a considerable amount.

A study on toxicity according to caffeine dose

There have been various studies on the toxic response of pets to caffeine consumption, but the conclusions slightly vary. In general, symptoms such as anxiety and agitation may occur when pets consume 20-30mg/kg (9-14mg/lb) of caffeine, while more severe toxicity reactions occur at 45-55mg/kg (20-25mg/lb) or more. The lethal dose of caffeine can vary from pet to pet, but it is generally considered to be between 110-200mg/kg (50-90mg/lb), with an average fatal dose sitting at 140mg/kg (64mg/lb).

Symptoms of caffeine poisoning when feeding green tea to dogs

Foods that contain caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soda, and certain teas like green tea.

If your dog consumes caffeine, the following symptoms of caffeine poisoning may appear:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate or abnormal heart rhythms
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Tremors
  • Increased body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

How to deal with caffeine poisoning at home?

Caffeine is a fast-acting and easily absorbed component, with approximately 99% of it being absorbed within 45 minutes of ingestion. Symptoms of poisoning are typically observed within 2 hours of ingestion. If you suspect your pet has ingested caffeine, induce vomiting immediately and seek veterinary assistance over the phone. Providing your veterinarian with information about the product, dosage, and timing of ingestion can aid in your pet’s treatment process. If an emergency visit to the veterinary hospital is possible, veterinarians may use intravenous medications to stabilize symptoms, control heart rate, and manage tremors or seizures.

Why some experts believe it IS safe to feed your dog green tea

A cup of brewing green tea in a clay tea pot set on a wooden tray

Green tea contains caffeine, but at lower levels than black tea or coffee. Some experts believe that is not enough to be harmful to a pet’s health as long as you do not feed in an excessive amount. Additionally, green tea contains the antioxidant catechin, which can help prevent DNA cell damage and reduce the risk of cancer cell formation.

Caffeine content of green tea

The caffeine content can vary depending on the type of green tea. Generally, tea leaves, tea bags, and matcha have the highest caffeine content in that order, and the older the leaves, the higher the caffeine content. A typical cup of green tea contains about 10mg of caffeine per 100 ml. If you look at the tea bags sold by Lipton, the manufacturer's information indicates that green tea and matcha tea bags contain approximately 28 to 38mg of caffeine per 8 oz (236ml) cup. These experts believe that this amount may be acceptable to offer to pets given the health benefits provided by green tea at doses that do not negatively affect their health.

Powerful antioxidant found in green tea

Green tea contains a compound called catechin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant. Catechin helps to protect the liver and digestive system of animals and humans alike and can help boost immunity. Therefore, it is argued that the intake of green tea in moderate doses can be beneficial for the health of pets.

Health benefits of green tea include:

  • Prevents cell damage
  • Strengthens the immune system
  • Improves joint and coat health
  • Helps with gastrointestinal issues like constipation and diarrhea
  • Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol levels
  • Fresh breath

Precautions in brewing green tea for dogs

When the topic of green tea's caffeine toxicity was first studied, it was known that if a pet that is not eating well due to a lack of appetite or is fasting, drinking green tea can cause fatal problems such as damage to the liver and gastrointestinal tract, due to its toxicity. Despite our recommendation, if you do choose to try green tea for your dog’s health. Simply ensure that your dog is in good health and is eating well before letting your pet try some green tea.

A glass cup of hot water steeping a green tea bag on a stone coaster

So, can dogs have green tea? Our recommendation

It is not yet known exactly how green tea affects our pet’s health. Due to the controversial risk factors, we would not recommend green tea for our precious pets. There are several alternatives to green tea that your pet can enjoy such as chamomile, rooibos, peppermint, and ginger tea. We believe that it is better to choose one of these safer alternatives when it comes to adding tea to your pet’s diet.

Is green tea extract found in dog food or snack products okay to feed my dog?

Many commercial foods and treats contain green tea extract and promote the benefits of catechins for our dogs. The green tea extract used in these products undergoes a decaffeination process and is therefore considered perfectly safe for pets!

My dog ate a whole green tea bag. What should I do?

It happens. They get under our supervision when we least expect it and get into things they shouldn’t. If your dog has consumed a whole tea bag without brewing the green tea, you should expect symptoms of caffeine poisoning. You will want to immediately seek medical attention or visit an emergency veterinarian hospital. Inducing vomiting as soon as possible is the best treatment before the caffeine in the green tea absorbs into your pet’s stomach. Additionally, if your dog has swallowed an indigestible tea bag, your dog may experience issues such as suffocation and intestinal obstruction. Be extra vigilant with caffeinated products in the house!

Curious if you can give your dog other foods besides green tea?

What other foods can dogs eat safely buddydoc pet food dictionary infographic

Does your dog also look up at you with those puppy dog eyes whenever you are snacking on something? You know foods like chocolates should not be shared with them but do you search the Internet every time if it’s okay to share a bite of whatever you are eating? The Buddydoc Food Dictionary provides information on hundreds of foods that we consume and informs you whether it is safe for them to consume and the nutritional benefits for your pet. If you're curious about other foods, try searching on Buddydoc!

Scan or click the image below to download the Buddydoc app now and begin giving your pet the best care possible!