It can work wonders for humans, but should it be in your dog's supplements?
If you have read some of my previous articles and blogs, you already know that I love to learn from real life experiences and get off the beaten path. After all, that is how we discover new ways of life and healing too.
I decided to write this article after posting on Facebook asking whether green tea is toxic or not. The results were surprising because there was a split. Half of the people believed that green tea is good for dogs, and the other half thought that it was not.
My Green Tea Story
If you have traveled around the world, especially in third world countries, indigestion and food poisoning comes with the territory. Most travelers have at least one experience with "third world indigestion," and I am no exception.
When I visited Myanmar (formerly Burma), I fell in love with this beautiful country and its people. The country just emerged from fifty years of almost complete isolation, and I loved the feeling of going back in time.
Unfortunately, I too ate the meal that didn't agree with my body and consequently went through a two-day unplanned "cleanse." Perhaps my indigestion would have lasted even longer had a local woman not advised me to drink green tea.
After a few cups, I was cured and could enjoy the rest of my trip without frantically looking for the closest washroom. The green tea medicine was amazing!
Dogs, Diarrhea, and Green Tea
If you share your life with a dog, you now how notoriously naughty they can be. My dog, Skai, is no exception. He knows very well how to sneak away around the picnic areas in parks and on beaches and find food remains that are far from fresh.
When the scavenger hunt is successful, the result is usually an unwanted "cleanse" in the middle of the night. The body knows how to get rid of food that didn't fit. The problem is that our dogs no longer live in the bush like their ancestors and no one wants to wake up at 2 am to clean up the mess.
Naturally, one would think that similar to humans, green tea could treat diarrhea or prevent diarrhea in dogs. However, this would be a mistake.
Research behind the tea toxicity
It is relatively common to see that dogs react to certain foods differently than humans. Good examples are grapes and chocolate, and also tea.
The topic of chronic toxicity of green tea in dogs was studied in 2011. This study revealed that green tea extracts can cause lethal liver, gastrointestinal, and renal toxicities in fasted dogs. The main findings were necrosis of the liver cells and gastrointestinal lining as well as kidney damage, degeneration of reproductive organs, and bone marrow disorders.*
While the damage was found only in dogs that were fasted, it is very clear that green tea carries a substantial risk to dogs, and in my opinion, there is no reason to take such risk.
Why is green tea added to many natural supplements?
This question points to one common phenomenon, people often wrongly assume that what is good for people is good for dogs.
I believe that it is better to be safe than sorry, and there are other safer ways of treating diarrhea and other medical conditions. After all, it is unlikely that dogs would consume significant amounts of green tea if they lived in the wild.
How to address diarrhea safely without drugs and chemicals
If you are interested in learning how to address diarrhea in dogs, click here.
Int J Toxicol. 2011 Feb;30(1):19-20. doi: 10.1177/1091581810387445. Epub 2010 Nov 22. Green tea extract-induced lethal toxicity in fasted but not in nonfasted dogs. Wu KM1, Yao J, Boring D.