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Can Dogs Drink Tea? Vet-Reviewed Risks, Facts, & Safety Guide

Jessica Kim

By Jessica Kim

peppermint tea

Vet approved

Dr. Amanda Charles Photo

Written by

Dr. Amanda Charles

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Many people drink tea for both their taste and nutritional benefits. While most people can drink tea without any significant issues, it’s a little more complicated for dogs. In general, it’s not recommended for dogs to drink tea because of safety issues. Many teas contain caffeine,1 which isn’t safe for them to consume. Non-caffeinated teas and herbal teas can also be dangerous depending on their ingredients and if they’ve been sweetened with sugar or artificial sweetener.

Tea isn’t a necessary part of your dog’s diet. So, if you plan to give your dog some tea, make sure that it only contains ingredients that are safe for dogs to ingest.


Giving Tea to Dogs

Like there are many breeds of dogs, there’s a wide assortment of different kinds of tea. Not all tea is bad for dogs, but you do come across many types of teas that can be harmful to them. Here’s a general overview of what types of teas are unsafe and safe for dogs.

Chamomile Tea
Photo Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

Types of Teas That Are Unsafe for Dogs

Caffeinated Tea

In general, it’s best to avoid giving your dog any caffeinated tea, such as black tea, green tea, and matcha. Dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine than humans and can experience caffeine toxicity more quickly with smaller doses of caffeine. While larger dogs may take a couple of sips of caffeinated tea and show no signs of sickness, smaller dogs and puppies can start to show signs of clinical toxicity rather quickly.

Signs of caffeine toxicity include an elevated heart rate, vomiting, restlessness, hyperactivity, and panting. You can also place your hand on your dog’s chest to feel for a rapid heartbeat. When left untreated, caffeine toxicity can progress to tremors and seizures.

Sweetened Tea

Sweetened teas can also be unsafe for dogs. While sugar isn’t toxic to dogs, it doesn’t benefit their health. Consistently feeding your dog excess sugar can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of other health conditions such as diabetes and joint disease. The artificial sweetener xylitol is highly toxic to dogs even in small amounts. It can cause a dog’s blood sugar to drop quickly and cause hypoglycemia.

Teas Containing Milk

It’s also important to remember that milk teas and tea lattes can cause upset stomachs for dogs because of how much dairy they contain. Many dogs have trouble digesting lactose and can either have a dairy allergy or be lactose intolerant.

Pouring milk in tea on table
Photo Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Other Ingredients

Lastly, some common ingredients in herbal teas can be dangerous to dogs, especially when consumed in large quantities. Examples of unsafe herbs and common tea ingredients include cloves, cocoa powder, marjoram, and nutmeg.

If your dog drinks tea containing unsafe ingredients, call your veterinarian or an animal poison control hotline right away. In mild cases, your dog may just have an upset stomach, but more severe cases of caffeine toxicity and food poisoning will require intensive treatment. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and consult a professional.

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Types of Teas That Can Be Safe for Dogs

Some teas are safe for dogs to drink, but they should only be given occasionally and in small amounts. This is because while some herbs and spices are safe for dogs to eat, consuming too much can upset their stomachs or lead to other health issues. Anise, mint, and cinnamon are all ingredients that dogs can eat in small quantities, but going overboard can lead to health complications.

In general, look for caffeine-free herbal teas that contain just one or two ingredients. Some teas that dogs can eat safely in moderation include ginger tea, chamomile tea, and turmeric tea. However, if your dog isn’t really in need of the nutritional benefits found in these types of teas, it’s best to avoid giving them the tea and have them drink safer alternatives instead.

Safer Alternatives to Tea

Dogs aren’t really known to enjoy drinking tea, so it’s unlikely that you’ll have a problem with your dog sneaking in sips of tea when you’re not looking. Most dogs will probably prefer drinking a hearty bone broth or lapping up a liquid meal topper. Meal toppers and bone broths manufactured by pet food brands are often formulated to contain essential nutrients for dogs. So, your dog is more likely to enjoy their taste more than herbal tea, and they’re also consuming something nutritious.

If you suspect your dog’s not feeling well due to a nutrient deficiency, consult your veterinarian rather than testing out different herbal teas on your own. Your veterinarian will be able to properly diagnose your dog’s health issue and provide a safe treatment plan.

It’s also important to never feed your dog tea if he’s on medication or has been diagnosed with a health condition. Certain herbal teas can interfere with medication and worsen your dog’s health.

Bone Broth
Photo Credit: Alp Aksoy, Shutterstock



Dogs won’t be able to drink most teas, but there are some non-caffeinated herbal teas that they may be able to drink. However, if you’re interested in giving your dog tea due to health issues, have a conversation with your veterinarian first. Your veterinarian can confirm what types of ingredients are safe for your dog to consume and if there are more effective natural options available for your dog.

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Featured Image Credit: congerdesign, Pixabay

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