Most tea lovers have likely heard of the miracle green tea from Japan called matcha. Its high concentration of antioxidants can help you boost your immune system, bring clarity to your meditation practice, and even burn fat. We love our dogs and want to share all the good stuff with them, but can dogs have matcha?
The truth is that dogs can have Matcha in very small amounts unless the variety that you have is caffeine-free. Although it is a healthy drink for us humans, caffeine has a different effect on a dog’s body and when consumed in large amounts, it could make them pretty sick.
While a few slurps of coffee or matcha is unlikely to seriously harm your dog, chewing and ingesting a tea bag or drinking a whole cup could result in severe illnesses like caffeine toxicity, especially if your dog is a small one like a Yorkie or Bichon Frise.
Matcha Tea For Dogs – The Cons
Generally speaking, matcha is a healthy tea with numerous health benefits but you’ll need to watch how much you give your dog.
Certain types of tea contain tannin, a naturally occurring compound with laxative-like properties that can cause an upset stomach if consumed in large quantities.
To minimize the risk of your dog having uncomfortable bowel-related symptoms from matcha green tea, stick with decaffeinated varieties whenever possible, or at least brew these teas with less loose-leaf powder than you would use for other types of higher-grade tea.
In addition, excessive amounts of matcha or any other drink with caffeine could make dogs very sick and cause a condition called caffeine toxicity.
What Is Caffeine Toxicity?
Caffeine toxicity in dogs occurs when they consume excessive amounts of caffeine. Symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Signs of anxiety
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
In severe cases, it can lead to death. It is important to keep substances containing caffeine such as coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate away from dogs.
Matcha Tea – The Pros
However, matcha tea is one of the world’s healthiest teas with numerous benefits.
Enjoyed in Japan for centuries, matcha is a true superfood due to the way it is cultivated, harvested, and produced with traditional stone-ground methods.
Many studies show that this tea enhances energy without the dramatic crash associated with other caffeinated beverages like coffee and energy drinks.
Health Benefits Of Matcha Tea For Dogs
1. Boosts Your Dog’s Immune System
Matcha tea contains antioxidants and nutrients like catechins, vitamins C & E, and selenium which may help to support the immune system by fighting off harmful pathogens and reducing oxidative stress.
Drinking matcha tea regularly may also promote a balanced immune response.
2. Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Cancer
Matcha tea contains antioxidants like catechins, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties.
These catechins have been shown to help neutralize free radicals and inhibit the growth of cancer cells in studies.
Additionally, matcha tea has high levels of the antioxidant EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), which has been specifically linked to reducing the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.
3. Improves Bone Health
Matcha tea is an excellent source of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are important for maintaining strong bones.
Additionally, matcha contains polyphenols which have been shown to help slow down the loss of bone density, a common problem in older dogs.
The catechins in matcha tea also have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
4. Help With Weight Management
Research has shown that the high levels of caffeine in matcha can help to boost metabolism and burn calories more efficiently throughout the day.
Furthermore, multiple studies have demonstrated the potential for certain types of teas – such as matcha – to increase satiety and reduce overall caloric consumption by suppressing appetite.
5. Better Digestive Health
Matcha contains a high concentration of chlorophyll, which acts like an anti-inflammatory agent, helping to reduce any irritation in the gastrointestinal tract.
Researchers have also found that drinking matcha can stimulate the production of the enzymes pepsin, which aids in the processing and absorbing of nutrients from food.
In addition, studies have shown that matcha increases bile production and improves gut motility– making it easier for food to move through your digestive system and preventing constipation.
6. Better Coat and Skin
Matcha contains powerful antioxidants that help to protect skin from deep-seated cellular damage, which can help dogs with itchy or sensitive skin.
Additionally, drinking matcha can reduce oxidative stress induced by environmental pollutants which can damage the coat and skin.
Matcha is also high in vital minerals including potassium, magnesium, and zinc all of which are essential for healthy hair growth and strength.
When done right, matcha can significantly improve your pooch’s health, but if you intend to feed your dog matcha tea, you should check with your veterinarian on the appropriate dosage and follow the guidelines religiously.
How Much Matcha Can You Give Your Dog?
Generally, matcha contains about 19 to 44 mg of caffeine per gram. Since a single cup contains about 2 to 4 grams of matcha, that drink could contain about 38 to 176 mg of caffeine.
Dogs can have a strict maximum of 63 mg per pound of body weight before caffeine becomes toxic, which means a dog weighing 60 lbs can have almost 4 grams.
However, to be safe and extremely cautious, it is recommended that a dog consumes no more than one gram of matcha for dogs over 20 lbs.
Keep in mind that this is a general guideline and no substitute for medical knowledge, so always check with your doctor before starting to give your dog matcha tea.
How To Feed Matcha To Your Dog
Matcha tea typically comes in powdered form, although it is possible to get tea leaves from specialty shops.
Feeding matcha to your pup isn’t as hard as it may seem at first glance. It just requires a bit of knowledge and care, and you have to watch the dosage with an eagle eye.
The most important thing to remember when providing matcha to your dog is to use organic, high-quality powder and water.
Start by mixing very small amounts into their favorite treats or food. If you’re just introducing matcha, start small with a fraction of a teaspoon mixed in wet food.
Over time you can slowly add more until you reach the recommended dose that you got from your veterinarian.
You can also brew matcha tea for yourself and save a little for your pooch, adding it to the water bowl or wetting the kibble with it.
Be sure not to make the tea too concentrated or you might cause your dog to feel sick.
Matcha Ice Cream
Ice cream has a high sugar content and is not suitable for dogs. It is best to avoid feeding ice cream to your dog as a general rule but if you are enjoying one yourself, you can give your dog a tiny bite without too much guilt or risky side effects.
Safety Tips With Matcha Tea
Checking the proper dosage is crucial to keeping your dog safe. Too much matcha could have your dog feeling sick and in severe cases, develop serious conditions that could be life-threatening.
In addition, always keep the tea bags in a secured place well out of reach of your cheeky dog’s curious jaws.
Dogs love to chew, and the strong smell and taste of matcha might fascinate your dog enough to go into thief mode and break into your pantry.
If your dog ingests a decent amount of matcha powder or leaves, this could end in serious consequences and an emergency trip to the vet.
As a dog owner, there are many ways to use matcha correctly to help your dog improve its health, but everything must be done in moderation. It is extremely important to check with your vet before adding any foods to your dog’s diet as many things like tea are toxic to dogs, especially in large amounts.