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Can Dogs Drink Tea? Risks, Facts & Safety Guide

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By Nicole Cosgrove

It is not uncommon for dogs to want to try the potentially delicious nectar in your cup. If you’ve ever left your cup of sugary, sweet tea on the floor, or your dog has found his way onto the table, there’s a good chance he will have already tried it. While a small amount of tea is unlikely to cause any unwanted or lasting side effects, it is not advised to give tea to your dog.

Most tea contains caffeine, and caffeine toxicity is potentially dangerous for dogs. Considering the size of the average dog, it doesn’t take much of this drink to give them the jitters and other symptoms. If you like your tea sweet, then the sugar could also cause harm to your dog.

What’s more, as much as your dog may want to try the cup of tea that you so lovingly drink every day, there is very little health benefit to doing so. Water is the only drink that your dog needs to stay properly hydrated.

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Dogs And Tea

Dogs may not be as inquisitive as cats, but they are still interested in everything you put in your mouth, whether it’s solid or liquid. They see the enjoyment you gain from it, and they can usually smell any sweet treat from the other side of the house. Tea is no exception. Your dog has almost certainly tried smelling your cup of tea, and there is a very good chance that he has at least tried licking the bottom of your empty cup to see what he can get from it.

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Caffeine Toxicity

Most tea contains caffeine — which is dangerous for dogs. Black tea has high caffeine levels, although nowhere near the same levels as are found in coffee. Caffeine has similar effects on your dog as it does on you, so it will give them an energy boost. This may not be a problem in some dogs, but in others, it could cause a real headache for the owner.

A Boxer that is wired on caffeine doesn’t bear thinking about.

What’s more, caffeine toxicity is very real. The drug raises blood pressure and it can lead to cardiac arrhythmia, which means an uneven heart rate. Toxicity can also lead to muscle seizures and cause vomiting.

In people, it can take dozens of cups of tea to cause caffeine toxicity, and it is unlikely that the average person can’t consume enough of the liquid in a short enough space of time. It takes a lot less caffeine to cause toxicity in dogs, but, in most cases, it will still take a minimum of four or five cups. Unless you prepare a large pot of tea and your dog gulps it all down, caffeine toxicity shouldn’t be a serious concern. However, dogs should not be given any caffeine.


Many people enjoy a teaspoon or two of sugar in their tea, and this causes the same problems for dogs as it does for people. It can lead to oral hygiene problems including tooth decay. And because a dog’s body is so much smaller than a person’s, it doesn’t take much sugar for your dog to start putting on weight. Regularly letting your dog lap up a cup of sugary tea could cause him to become overweight.

Are There Any Health Benefits?

No scientific studies have been conducted on the health benefits of tea for dogs. Dogs likely enjoy the same antioxidant benefits as humans do, but the risk of caffeine toxicity outweighs any potential benefits.

Can Dogs Drink Decaffeinated Tea?

Decaffeinated tea is not caffeine-free. It has been through the decaffeination process, but this still leaves traces of the drug in the tea. As such, and because caffeine is considered unsafe for dogs, it still should not be given to your dog.

Can Dogs Drink Green Tea?

A lot of people prefer green tea to black because it has lower caffeine content. Again, though, there is still some caffeine in this drink and it should not be given to your dog. Most dogs will turn their noses up at the bitter taste of green tea, anyway.

Can Dogs Drink Herbal Tea?

Different herbal teas contain different ingredients. Some may contain ingredients that are toxic to dogs, even in small quantities. With that said, teas like rooibos and peppermint tea, which are naturally caffeine-free, could aid in your dog’s digestion, and they should be safe and free of any toxins.

dog sick
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Alternatives To Tea

Generally speaking, it is better to avoid giving your dog tea. It could contain caffeine, while caffeine-free alternatives like herbal teas could contain ingredients that are toxic to your dog. While a small amount of any tea is unlikely to cause any real harm, it is better to avoid intentionally offering it to your pup.

Water is the only liquid that your dog needs. This will provide them with hydration and dogs love the taste and benefit that water gives them. Always ensure that your dog has access to a bowl of fresh water and do not limit their intake unless you have been instructed to do so by a vet.

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Can Dogs Drink Tea?

Tea contains caffeine, and many people add sugar to sweeten the taste of their cup of tea. Both of these ingredients are potentially harmful to your dog, although if he has stolen the last mouthful from your cup, it should be relatively safe. If you add milk to your tea, your dog may experience some diarrhea as a result of drinking too much. Rather than offer tea, ensure that your dog has access to fresh water whenever he wants it.

Related Read: My Dog Ate Coffee Grounds! – Here’s What to Do (Our Vet Answers)

Featured Image Credit: dungthuyvunguyen, Pixabay

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