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Can cats and dogs drink tea?

We are a nation of tea drinkers, and the health benefits of drinking some teas are well documented, from boosting our immune system to fighting inflammation. It may be tempting to share our love of tea with our cats and dogs, but should we...?

One of the reasons we like to drink tea is because of the caffeine it contains. Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the nervous system so when we’re feeling a bit weary, or our alarm’s just gone off, a cuppa can make us feel more alert and perky again.  In our overloaded lives this is a very useful benefit to a pleasant drink. 

However, caffeine also affects the nervous systems of cats and dogs, an unnecessary side effect in our pets as they rarely awaken unrefreshed from their many sleeps.  They aren’t able to process caffeine like we can and this can be toxic to them leading to symptoms like vomiting, restlessness and elevated heart rate, in more severe cases even leading to coma and death.

So, what about giving them decaffeinated tea?  Good idea, except, tea also contains tannins, which are also toxic to cats and dogs, and can lead to liver and kidney failure.

Herbal tea?  Mostly caffeine-free, but some of the ingredients for infusions can also contain tannins, and there is such a variety of types you need to make sure the herbs you are using are not on the toxic list for cats and dogs.

Plants often contain chemical defence mechanisms which may affect some animal species more severely or adversely than others. And what is a low dose of caffeine (or other plant chemical) for one species, or even breed, may be too high for another, aside from taking into account variance in size, age and liver or kidney function.

Our pets just don’t need that cuppa like we do, and the safest, simplest, and cheapest way to hydrate our animals is simply fresh, clean water.

As an Agria Pet Insurance customer, you can speak to a vet completely free whenever you have a question or concern about your pet’s health. Simply download the Agria Vet Guide app for free 24/7 video calls; giving you expert advice to help keep your pet happy and healthy.

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