Can dogs drink tea? Should dogs drink tea? Are there other drinks that dogs can have. All of these questions and more have been asked about dogs and what they can or can’t drink. Many owners are concerned about their dogs and rightfully so. One of the main questions to come up involves keeping their dogs properly hydrated on a day to day basis.
Hi my name is Mike and I’ve been involved with dog training for over a decade now. This website came about because many owners have questions and I wanted to be able to answer more than just the small amount I see in a month. Today we will be discuss the question, “Can dogs drink tea?”. Here we go.
Can Dogs Drink Tea?
Tea is delicious and a refreshing drink to be sure. All over the world tea is consumed in copious amounts. Can dogs drink tea though? The answer is yes but only in it’s decaffeinated form. Should dogs drink tea though? I personally think it should be avoided. There are some benefits depending on the type of tea used but for the most part, the risk of giving your dog caffeine is too great. Even some of the so called decaf brands do have low levels of caffeine in them. Not worth the risk for you or your faithful dog.
Types of Teas
if you are dead set on giving your dog some tea, the first thing you should do is make sure there is no caffeine in it at all. Don’t just read labels. Check reviews and watch dog websites. Some decaf brands have been known to leave small amounts of caffeine in their decaf bands. Once you have found a good brand, its time to contact your vet. Tell them why you are planning to give your dog tea and ask them for their opinion. Some vets or dog nutritionists may actually prescribe tea for your dog in specific medical cases as it can help in certain scenarios. If this is the case, your vet will tell you what to buy and how to dose it out as well.
Here is a list of some of the more commonly prescribed teas:
- Chamomile: Digestive aid. Can be used to settle the stomach
- Peppermint: Also a digestive aid but better tolerated.
- Ginger: Digestive and anti-inflammatory aid for your dog.
- Green: This can be used as a great anti cancer drink.
Drinks Dogs Can Have
Lets take a look at some of the drinks that dogs can actually have. Keep in mind that all dogs are different. What may be fine for one dog won’t fly with another. Try each drink at your own risk and with a vet’s blessing.
This is the go to for all animals and humans alike. Water is the baseline building block which is necessary for our survival. Dog’s should be given plenty of this each day. Keep in mind that you never want to give a dog hot water or freezing cold water. Room temperature is best. If you do want to give them a frozen treat or something to cool them off, try throwing them a frozen apple or cucumber slice on a hot day. They will love you for it!
Bone broth can be a great addition to any dog’s meal. I will usually only give this to my dog a few times a month mixed in with their dinner. Bone broth contains a lot of the nutrition that your dog would normally get from their food to begin with. The major difference being that the nutritional content is usually much higher and easier to digest for them. Some dogs may not be able to tolerate it alone. If that is the case, I would mix it in with their evening meal once or twice a month.
If your dog can’t tolerate bone broth at all, skip it. This is just a way to provide extra nutritional content to your dog. You can get the same benefit by giving them a bit more food or working with your vet or dog nutritionist to find other alternatives.
The nice thing about bone broth is that you can make it relatively cheaply at home. This way you can control the ingredients going into it and you know your dog is getting a quality product.
Drinks Dogs Should Avoid
As you can see above, the list of things dogs can actually drink safely is very short. Water is the number one source of hydration for your dog at all times. Lets talk about some of the drinks you should avoid with your dog in the future as well.
Can Dogs Have Milk?
Dogs can have milk when they are puppies and drinking their mothers milk. After that period of time, dogs should no longer consume milk in any form. Your pup is lactose intolerant after he is weaned off as a baby. Trying to give them cow’s milk is not ideal. Your dog will not be able to process this anymore and will likely get severe stomach upset. Worst case scenario, we are talking the runs all over your house one night while you’re sleeping. Yikes!
Keep your dog on water after it’s weaned off of its mothers milk. Trust me on this one. The clean up is no fun at all!
Can Dogs Drink Alcohol?
We’ve all been at a party or BBQ with a dog at some point in our lives. The thought may have come into your head. Can I give this dog a sip of my beer? How will they react? When I was younger I saw the effects first hand, they aren’t good.
Dogs do not have the ability to process alcohol the same way we do. Things like alcohol poisoning or organ failure are very possible when you give a dog an alcoholic beverage. They can get seriously drunk off of a fraction of what it takes to give humans a slight buzz. What’s worse is that this intoxication can actually affect not only their liver but also their lung and heart function as well. Keep your dog away from alcoholic beverages of any kind. If they do happen to get a hold of one, contact your vet for next steps.
Can Dogs Have Coffee?
Coffee is not recommended for dogs because of the caffeine content. Dogs are hyper sensitive to caffeine and a small amount could cause some serious issues. You also have to be careful with things like sodas and other caffeinated drinks as well. Dog’s have a real problem tolerating these beverages. The wrong amount could do a significant amount of damage and land your dog in the hospital or even cause death.
If your dog likes to root around in the trash, make sure that they can’t get easy access to your coffee grounds either. These contain concentrated amounts of caffeine and can cause some serious issues as well. Bottom line, anything with caffeine is out.
Can Dogs Drink Fruit Juice?
Surely fruit juices are ok for dogs to drink right? Wong! Juice can be one of the worse offenders on this list for multiple reasons. First and foremost is sugar content. Most store bought juices are loaded with sugars and other chemicals that can cause our dogs stomach problems and metabolic disease in the long term.
Some people ask me, “What if I fresh squeeze the juice at home?”. The problem with fresh squeezed juice is still the sugar content. When you squeeze the juice, you remove the fiber and distill the fruit into a liquid form. A dog’s body will quickly get overwhelmed by the amount of sugar in a fresh squeezed juice because it doesn’t have to process any of that slow release fiber to get at it. This can cause a toxic dose of sugar to be delivered to your dog in a very short period of time. Some dogs may only have an upset stomach and loose stools to contend with. Others may go into toxic shock or organ failure.
Bottom line, keep your dogs away from fruit juices of all kinds as well. If a little juice spills on the floor and your dog laps it up, I would keep an eye on them but don’t worry too much. Just don’t go filling their bowl with fruit juice and all will be well.
What About Sugar Free or Sugar Substitute Drinks?
Sugar free drinks don’t have any sugar added so they should be fine for my dog to have right? Wrong again. Most of the time, these drinks have chemicals in them that are even worse for your dogs. Lets take Xylitol for example. This is a common sugar substitute that is used in loads of foods and beverages across the board. It’s also highly toxic to dogs. Even a small amount can cause organ failure or even death. Sugar free drinks may be borderline ok for us as humans but our furry friends lack the detoxification processes needed to be able to imbibe these drinks.
Once again, stick to plain water. This is the best option by far.
Are Sports Drinks Good For Dogs?
I’ve included this last category in here because marketing can be very misleading. When we see something like a sports drink, we think health and activity. That’s what we have been trained to believe. In reality, we should really be seeing a large pitcher of salt and sugar water. The number 1 ingredient in most sports drinks is sugar followed by salt. Both of these substances have to be monitored tightly in dogs. Ideally, your dog should have zero sugar in their diet. Naturally occurring sugars from healthy fruits at times is fine. Things like cookies and candy bars aren’t. The same can be said for salt. You have to be careful how much salt your dog gets. They don’t need a lot and an excess can cause some serious kidney damage.
Once again, these drinks are not ideal for dogs at all. They may be held up as healthy alternatives to water but that’s just plain false. This goes double for our pets. Stick to water and win!
Dehydration In Dogs
Dehydration in dogs is a real thing and it can occur much easier than you think. Most dogs only drink a dozen ounces or so of water a day. They don’t have a ton of reserves on their body waiting to be utilized if something goes wrong or they can’t find a drink. This is why a dog getting food poisoning or any kind of organ failure can be so serious. They don’t have the water reserves to keep them hydrated in this type of an event and they won’t be able to keep any new water down either. A recipe for disaster.
If you notice that your dog hasn’t been drinking all day or they are looking a bit sluggish or dehydrated, make sure they have fresh clean water. Does your do go and lap it up right away? Problem solved. If not, there may be something else going on here and it’s time to get your vet involved. You may not have to take them into the office right away but you do have to monitor them closely and see if the situation worsens. The longest I would let a dog go without water is about 24 hours. At that point, something is definitely wrong and needs to be addressed.
Can Dogs Drink Tea Summarized
so there we have it. Can dogs drink tea? Yes, but only the decaffeinated kind. Should they drink tea? In my opinion no. Dogs should drink water only. There may be many drink options out there but almost all of them will have some kind of negative effect on your dog. The best way to deal with this is to avoid them completely.
If you want to give your dog some home made bone broth with their food on occasion, go for it. This will actually provide some good quality nutrition and electrolytes to your dog in a meaningful way. I wouldn’t do this more than a few times a month though. Use it as a treat.
If you do want to give your dog some juice, slice up the fruit instead and toss them a few slices of that. They will still get the nutrition but in a more palatable format. Dog’s need that fiber to control the release of sugar. Too much sugar at once can cause real issues.
Bottom line, water is king. Give your dog water and plenty of it and all will be well!
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