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Can Dogs Eat Boba? Vet Reviewed Facts & FAQ

Rachel Giordano

By Rachel Giordano

Vet approved

Dr. Lauren Demos  Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos

DVM (Veterinarian)

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

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Boba may be a term some have never heard of. Before we get started, let’s explain what boba is.1 Boba is a tea-based drink that originated in Taiwan in the 1980s and is essentially black tapioca balls used in beverages for added flavor. “Bubble tea, “tapioca pearls,” or “boba tea drink” is often said when referring to boba beverages, but what’s in boba? Can dogs eat boba? In short, no, boba should not be given to your dog.

Don’t worry—we’re not going to leave you hanging. In this article, we’ll explain why you shouldn’t give your dog boba, along with tips for a healthy diet for your doggie. Divider 5

Can Dogs Eat Boba?

Boba is not something you should share with your dog due to its potentially unsafe ingredients. Boba is loaded with sugar, fats, calories, and carbohydrates your dog simply does not need.

Boba pearls come from tapioca starch that comes from the cassava root,2 which is toxic if not prepared properly. Conflicting information regarding whether dogs can eat cassava root is abundant, and since the cassava root contains cyanogenic glycosides that can result in cyanide poisoning if not properly prepared,3 we say skip giving it to your dog—the risks are simply not worth trying.

Boba Tapiocal ball
Image Credit: ellenshou, Shutterstock

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What Are the Dangers of Boba for Dogs?

Boba can also be a choking hazard for your dog, as some dogs gobble up anything you give them without chewing first. Boba balls are soft and chewy and usually contain milk or half-in-half, which can cause an upset tummy for lactose-intolerant dogs. Not to mention, the balls are loaded with sugar from some type of syrup or artificial sweeteners, which is unhealthy for your dog.

With this information alone, dogs with diabetes should definitely not consume boba, as boba can cause a dangerous spike in your dog’s sugar levels.

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Is Tapioca Safe for Dogs?

Since we know that boba is made from tapioca starch, is tapioca itself safe for dogs? As it turns out, tapioca can be found in some dog foods that serve as an alternative to grain-based starches for dogs with grain allergies. It’s also gluten-free. But does this mean this ingredient is safe? Tapioca is not toxic to dogs, but again, conflicting information slathers this topic.

In a nutshell, tapioca in small amounts may provide health benefits for your dog, such as increased energy levels, improved cardiovascular health, and enhanced bone density. However, tapioca given in large amounts also has health hazards, such as potentially causing obesity or allergic reactions.

Another consideration is avoiding tapioca prepared with xylitol, an extremely toxic ingredient for dogs that can be fatal. Xylitol is an ingredient often found in tapioca pudding.

Vet specialist examination sick dog
Image Credit: didesign021, Shutterstock

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Tips For a Healthy Diet

We all want to give our dogs the occasional human snack, especially when they stare at us while we enjoy whatever looks and smells scrumptious to our canine kiddos. However, we should always proceed with caution when giving our doggies human food.

Always feed your dog high-quality dog food that is nutritious, complete, and balanced, as well as approved by the Associates of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).  Avoid foods with additives or preservatives, and only allow treats and table snacks to account for 10% of your dog’s daily food intake. If you decide to give your dog a human snack, ensure the ingredients are safe.

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Boba is an interesting approach to beverages that adds flavor; it’s even a staple in some countries. However, we cannot confidently say that boba is not something you should give your dog.

Boba contains high amounts of sugar, fats, and carbs, and is overall not beneficial for canines. Boba that contains milk or half-in-half is also harmful to dogs with lactose intolerance. In the end, avoiding giving your dog boba is best to prevent harmful effects.


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Rachel Giordano

Authored by

Rachel Giordano is a writer and musician out of Pensacola, Florida, living there with her partner and their two dogs, Aero, a Border Collie/Sheltie mix, and Sophie, a Boston Terrier. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and enjoys writing about all types of animals. When Rachel’s not dedicating her time to writing about animals, she enjoys writing thriller/suspense novels. A writer by day and a musician...Read more

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