Green tea is chocked full of antioxidants and other health benefits for humans. Health crazes are in love with it and push millions of green tea-based products to market. If it has all of these incredible benefits for us, it’s no wonder many find themselves asking if green tea is just as good for their furry friends.
Green tea is technically safe for dogs and can be given in small doses in a variety of forms. However, since most green tea and green tea-based products contain caffeine, the amount given to the dog needs to be closely monitored.
In this article, you’ll learn all about the benefits of green tea for your dogs and how to give it to them in a safe way. In addition, you’ll learn what you can do and what to look out for if they happen to ingest a little too much. So, keep reading to learn how to keep your dog safe and healthy.
The Benefits of Green Tea for Dogs
Green tea is certainly good for dogs in a lot of ways. It has lots of antioxidants, which can help:
- Enhance joint and coat health
- Provide support to their immune system
- Strengthen their nails
So dog owners who give their dogs green tea products might even see some improvement in their attitude during trim-time.
In addition to antioxidant benefits, green tea also provides the following benefits for dogs:
- Aid in digestive health. Green tea can not only settle an upset stomach, but it can help things move along faster. Green tea is especially beneficial if you notice your dog experiencing constipation or other stomach issues.
- Reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. Just like us, dogs can be prone to issues with blood pressure and cholesterol. Some green tea in the diet can help lower these health challenges, which is a perfect asset for owners of overweight dogs. However, green tea is not to be used for weight loss.
- Freshens breath. No explanation is necessary. Fresher breath is good for everybody, and it can help make those awful, slobbery kisses a little more bearable.
The Best Way to Give Dogs Green Tea
There are a lot of products that have green tea in them, but they’re not all safe for dogs. Before you grab for your favorite green tea protein powder or pull out the kettle, there are some things to consider to ensure that your dog gets their fix in the safest way possible.
Treats obviously come prepackaged, so it’s easy to tell what the serving size is. In addition, the treats typically contain less green tea, and therefore less caffeine, than they might ingest if you’re just letting them lap it up.
Treats are probably your best and safest option when it comes to giving your dog green tea.
If you’re just getting into green tea for your dog, treats are the way to go. They aren’t as expensive as diving paws-first into a bag of expensive food, and they’re much easier for your furry friend to eat. By the time your dog finishes the treat, they probably won’t have time to decide they don’t like it.
The risk of rejection for treats is much lower than if they have to stand there and eat an entire bowl of green tea-infused dog food. In addition, a smaller dose of green tea will allow you to see how your dog reacts to it. Regular food may not be the best way to give a dog green tea, especially if it’s their staple. Green tea doses shouldn’t be too terribly frequent.
Shampoos – Green Tea for Dogs Skin
If you aren’t necessarily interested in the health benefits of green tea for your dog, but you’d like to strengthen their coat, green tea-based dog shampoos are a perfect fit. That way, the dog ingests none of the tea, but their fur is soaking in those benefits and shining brightly by the end of their bath.
Even if your own shampoo mentions green tea, don’t use that on your dog. Human hair and canine fur have separate needs and separate components. For example, human shampoo can help our scalps, but it can weaken the barrier on your dog’s skin and actually cause coat damage.
Green Tea Extract vs. Natural Green Tea
Green tea is controversial among dog owners; some say it’s not worth the risk of caffeine issues, while others rant and rave about the benefits.
This is where the debate starts: green tea extract sounds like a different thing; however, both iterations of the product contain caffeine and should be given cautiously. In some cases, green tea extracts and green tea concentrates contain even more caffeine than natural green tea.
Caffeine Free Options
Caffeine-free versions of both natural green tea and green tea extracts/concentrate are fine for dogs to consume on a regular basis. If you’re going to give your dog something like this, be mindful of what else it contains. Dogs also cannot have:
- Grapes/grape-based products
How Not to Give Dogs Green Tea
If you’re trying to be cautious, you might not want to give your dog green tea you’ve prepared at home unless you know for sure that it’s caffeine-free. Otherwise, it can be hard to get the dosage right, and too much caffeine is potentially fatal.
Objectively, the worst way to give your dog a healthy dose of green tea is to put some in a bowl and let them lap it up. Not only will this potentially create a mess, but you might overdo it and give them too much.
Green tea in any form is a laxative, so too much could be an issue even if the issue isn’t caffeine.
Never give dogs any kind of vitamin supplement containing green tea unless you’ve consulted a vet. Supplements often contain other additives or preservatives, which could be potentially harmful.
Signs to Watch for
If something with your dog’s green tea ingestion experience has gone awry, luckily, there are usually some signs that will point you straight toward the vet’s office. These symptoms include:
- Excessive panting
- Faster heart rate
- Vomiting/foaming at the mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, check with a vet right away. They may induce vomiting or even pump the stomach; never try to induce vomiting in your dog at home.
Green tea is fine for dogs if given in small amounts or given without caffeine. Dogs already have a faster heartbeat and breathing pattern than humans, so giving them a stimulant in excess could cause cardiac arrest.
If green tea is a must for your pup, give it to them carefully. And, if you’re concerned about whether they can handle it or need the extra antioxidants, you can always consult your vet about a healthy supplement routine, so your dog never misses out on those good benefits.
And you have a furry feline friend, check this out if you’re wondering is green tea safe for cats.