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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?
Can cats and dogs drink tea?

Who doesn’t love a cuppa? But just because we’re tea enthusiasts, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should share this with our pets. Even if they’re curious about tea, it’s best to steer clear. Here’s why.

Pssst… Perhaps a better way to benefit your pet’s health is to invest in cat insurance or dog insurance.

Caffeine in tea

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. This is an unnecessary side effect in our pets, as they rarely awaken unrefreshed from their many sleeps.

Plus they aren’t able to process caffeine like we can. This can be toxic to them, leading to symptoms like vomiting, restlessness and elevated heart rate. In more severe cases, it could even lead to coma and death.

What about decaffeinated tea?

So, what about giving them decaffeinated tea? Well… no. Decaf tea also contains tannins, which are also toxic to cats and dogs, and can lead to liver and kidney failure.

And herbal tea?

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

Plus certain types of tea - such as black and green tea - contain theobromine, which is also found in chocolate. This is toxic to dogs and cats, and can cause similar symptoms to caffeine poisoning.

More generally, plants often contain chemical defence mechanisms which may affect some animal species more severely or adversely than others. And what’s a low dose of caffeine (or other plant chemical) for one species - or even breed - may be too high for another. Plus you also need to consider variance in size, age and liver or kidney function.

The verdict: Do NOT give your cat or dog tea

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

Keeping your pet hydrated

It’s obviously important to keep your pet hydrated. If they’re not drinking their water, there’s probably a reason for this. Make sure you give them fresh water and clean their bowls regularly.

Cats in particular aren’t fond of stagnant water, so you could look into getting them a cat water fountain. They may be more inclined to drink flowing water, and most fountains will also filter the water for them.

Also, check out the following guides if:

Check out the Agria app

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 app for free 24/7 video calls. Our vets are happy to give you expert advice to help keep your pet happy and healthy.

Download the Agria app free from your app store here.

Or you can find out more about the Agria app here

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