Rooibos Tea Can Help Remedy Your Dog's Hay Fever Symptoms, Support Immune System Health, Help Prevent Cancer and More

rooibos tea for dogs
★ 8 min read
In this article:
  1. What is Rooibos?
  2. Nutritional Value of Rooibos Tea
  3. Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea for Your Dog
  4. How to Add Rooibos Tea To Your Dog's Daily Diet
  5. Rooibos Tea and Ceylon Cinnamon for Oral Health
  6. How to Use Rooibos to Treat Itching, Rashes and Hot Spot
  7. Rooibos Tea Paw Soak
  8. Rooibos Eye Drops
  9. Soothing Rooibos Compress
  10. Red Rooibos vs. Green Rooibos

1.0 What is Rooibos?

Aspalathus Linearis, common name Rooibos, also known as Red Bush or African Red Tea is an indigenous plant of South Africa. The rooibos bush is native to the Cedarburg region of north-west of Capetown. 

Rooibos is actually an herbal plant. The needle-like leaves and stems are harvested, crushed, fermented and dried. The plant has been used to make tea for hundreds of years. Rooibos became a commercially grown crop in the 1930’s.

When the dried leaves are steeped they result in a rich red-colour tea that has numerous, proven health benefits. 
The USDA (US Department of Agriculture) has confirmed that red rooibos tea can reduce cancer, heart disease, slow aging as well as possessing other health benefits. I will provide an extensive list of benefits further below.

Rooibos tea is just as beneficial for dogs as it is for humans. The tea is naturally caffeine free (caffeine is not good for dogs) and is low in tannin and free of oxalic acid - so unless your dog is suffering from iron deficiency (rooibos may slow down the absorption of iron) it is safe for your dog.
Below we will look at:
  1. The nutritional value of rooibos tea.
  2. The health benefits or rooibos for dogs.
  3. How to add rooibos to your dog's daily diet.
  4. How combining the tea with a little cinnamon can help with your dog's oral care.
  5. How to use the tea topically to treat skin disorders due to hay fever (environmental) allergies.

2.0 Nutritional Value of Rooibos Tea

Rooibos is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that support your dog's health and wellness.
2.1 Antioxidants in Rooibos Tea
Important bioavailable antioxidants in rooibos include:

  1. Rooibos is rich in the anti-inflammatory flavinoid quercetin. Quercetin is a powerful, natural antihistamine. 
  2. Quercetin helps moderate the adverse effects of inflammation-causing histamines.
    1. Important for treating:
      1. Hay fever (environmental allergy) symptoms.
      2. Mast cell activity.
Vitamin C
  • Vitamin C is important for overall body health and helps support the activity of quercetin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)
  • Alpha hydroxy acid is an important antioxidant compound for skin health.
Rooibos is a Better Source of Antioxidants than Green Tea 
  • Rooibos tea contains 37 types of antioxidants, and overall offers about 50% more antioxidants than green tea
2.2 Minerals in Rooibos Tea 
Health supporting essential minerals in rooibos tea include:

These minerals are essential to support your dog's blood health, bone and joint health, skin health, heart health, neurological health and more.

3.0 Health Benefits of Rooibos Tea for Your Dog

Rooibos offers your dog an impressive list of health benefits, including:
Allergy Fighting Properties - potent anti-inflammatory
  • Rooibos tea contains anti-allergy properties that alleviate allergies and related skin problems, asthma, etc.
  • If your dog suffers from aliments of the skin such as itchiness and hot spots due to allergies the tea can really help to alleviate both discomfort and the inflammation of the skin.
  • The abundant antioxidants in Rooibos tea can help slow down the aging process.
Anti-viral and Immune System Supporting
  • The vitamin C, quercetin and zinc in rooibos tea work together to provide immune system support.
Anti-anxiety and Calming
  • Rooibos tea is naturally calming and relaxing. Rooibos tea can help relieve anxiety and relax your dog.
  • Rooibos tea is rich in anti-spasmodic agents that help ease a sore stomach.
Bone Health Promoting 
  • Rooibos tea is rich in bone building minerals and vitamins. Vitamin C, calcium, manganese and fluoride work together to support bone health.
Cancer fighting, anti-mutagenic
Heart Health and Circulation Enhancing
  • Rooibos tea support heart health, promotes optimal blood circulation and helps prevent hemorrhaging.
Skin and Fur Health Supporting 
  • The vitamin C, Zinc and AHA in rooibos tea supports healthy growth and maintenance of skin.

4.0 How To Add Rooibos Tea to Your Dog’s Daily Diet

rooibos tea and lemon to upport overall health and wellbeing
Brew the tea fresh on a daily basis or brew it and store in the refrigerator for several days. 
It's best to use organic rooibos tea. You can add the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon to the rooibos tea. Lemon is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, immune-system boosting, a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain bioflavonoids, calcium, citric acid, limonene, magnesium and vitamin C as well as other health promoting substances. 
The combination of rooibos tea and lemon further increases the health benefits of rooibos tea. Lemon offers an amazing array of health benefits for your dog. 
Learn more about lemon health benefits for your dog:
Fill a bowl with fresh rooibos tea and leave it next to your dog’s water bowl.

rooibos tea helps your dog stay hydrated

Your dog can self-select when she wants to have a sip. Leave the tea plain, or add some cinnamon (instructions and benefits noted below) or add fresh squeezed lemon and/or a drop or two of Manuka Honey, or other organic honey.

Make sure that your dog always has a bowl of fresh, plain water beside the bowl of rooibos tea. Never force your dog to drink rooibos tea, always provide the choice of fresh plain water.

Daily Dosage Based On Dog’s Weight

  • 1-10 lbs - less than 1/4 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 10-20 lbs - 1/4 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 20-50 lbs - 1/4-1/2 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • 50-100 lbs - 1/2-1 cup, 1-3 times per day
  • Over 100 lbs - up to 1 cup 3 times per day

5.0 Ceylon Cinnamon and Rooibos Tea for Your Dog's Oral Health

Ceylon Cinnamon has an extensive list of beneficial properties for oral care that include the following medicinal properties:
  • Anti-inflammatory.
  • Anti-microbial (fights bacteria, fungi, etc.).
  • Anti-septic.
  • Mild anesthetic.
  • Helps dissolve food particles and aids in the digestion of food. 
Your dog receives the health benefit of rooibos plus an oral rinse.
For the:
  1. Health benefits of cinnamon.
  2. How to select cinnamon.
  3. Dosage guidelines.
  4. Cautions and contradictions.
Go to this article.

6.0 How to Use Rooibos to Treat Itching, Rashes and Hot Spots due to Allergies

As Rooibos tea contains anti-allergen properties. Rooibos tea is excellent for topical use to treat skin problems due to allergies. As well, the antioxidants in rooibos tea supports skin health and healing. Below you will find a recipe for:
  1. A soothing rinse
  2. A paw soak for itchy and or irritated paws
  3. A simple salve for irritated skin

Soothing Rinse

You'll need:
  • 2 tea bags of Rooibos Tea (also known as Red Bush Tea)
  • Optional ingredient, 1 fresh lemon

Preparation and Use:
  • Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  • Remove the tea bags
  • Allow the tea to cool to slightly warm or room temperature as your dog prefers 
  • Squeeze the lemon, add the lemon juice to the tea
  •  The tea is now ready to use as a conditioning, soothing rinse or dip.
  • You don't need to rinse the tea off of your dog after application.

7.0 Rooibos Paw Soak for Sore, Irritated Paws

If your dog or cat is suffering from allergies and/or resulting yeast infections of the paw (i.e. candida), or has come into contact with poisonous and/or toxic substances - giving your dog or cat a paw soak is very important to reduce discomfort, help treat the symptoms, remove harmful residue and stop your dog’s or cat’s need to lick and chew his/her paws. Toxins left on the paws can migrate into the dogs blood stream, and over time increase your dog's toxic load, compromise his/her immune system and trigger the development of cancer.

The most effective way to remove toxins (road salt, herbicides, fertilizers or pesticides) from your dog’s paws is to provide your dog with a 30 second paw soak. Depending on the size of your dog, you can do a paw soak in the bowl or basin, sink, bathtub, shower or in a small children’s pool. 

You'll need the following:
  1. Rooibos Tea  - one or more bags of tea depending on the size of the tub.
  2. Optional ingredient, 1 to 2 fresh lemons.
Place the tea bags in hot water and allow to steep for 15 minutes
  1. Remove the tea bags and allow the resulting ‘tea’ to cool then add to the water in the soaking tub, or you can use the tea to warm the water in the tub - just always make sure that the resulting liquid for the soak is only warm or room temperature - never hot.
  2. Depending on the size of the tub - take 1 to 2 fresh lemons, squeeze for the juice and then add the juice to the cooled tea.
  3. Now you can soak your dog's or cat's paws.
  4. It is important to note that dunking/placing your dog’s or cat’s paws in the soaking solution is not as effective as soaking the paw for 30 seconds. After the soak just pat your dog’s or cat’s paws dry - do not rub them dry as rubbing can cause irritation.

8.0 Rooibos Tea Eye Drops

Rooibos eye drops can be very helpful for providing relief to hay fever eye symptoms.
  1. Brew the tea and allow to cool so that the liquid is just slightly warm.
  2. Use the liquid from the rooibos tea - drop 2 to 3 drops in the eye two to three times a day as needed.
  3. You can also use the cooled tea bag for additional relief of symptoms:
    1. Place a cooled tea bad against the eye several times a day until symptoms are alleviated.

9.0 Soothing Rooibos Compress

You can apply the dry rooibos tea powder to the spots directly using one of these options:
  1. Open the tea bag and remove the tea powder, mix with a little 100% aloe vera juice or gel, apply.
  2. Soak the tea bag in hot water, allow to cool and place the cooled tea bag against the irritated skin.
  3. Soak the tea bag in hot water, allow to cool, open the tea bag and place the damp tea powder directly on the irritated skin.

10.0 Red Rooibos vs. Green Rooibos

Red rooibos and green rooibos come from the same plant. 
The difference between red rooibos and green rooibos is how the leaves are handled after the leaves are picked.

How Green Rooibos Tea Leaves are Made

The natural enzymes in the plant leaves react with the ambient air and sunshine to naturally turn the leaves red. To prevent the natural process of leaf color-change:
  1. After harvesting the green leaves are steamed and dried as quickly as possible.
  2. Steaming the leaves halts the natural process that would normally occur once leaves are removed from the plant.

How Red Rooibos Tea Leaves are Made

Red rooibos tea leaves are not steamed after they've been picked. 
  1. The green leaves are harvested, shredded and allowed to dry naturally in the sun.
  2. The leaves naturally turn red as they air dry in the sun as the enzymes naturally present in the leaves react to oxygen in the air.

Which is Better? Red Rooibos or Green Rooibos Tea

Green rooibos and red rooibos are rich in antioxidants which provide the health promoting properties of rooibos tea. Both green and red rooibos provide the health benefits outlined in the sections above.
However, a study conducted in South Africa has shown that red rooibos is more effective than green rooibos in fighting cancer.
As well, red rooibos and green rooibos have a different taste.
So how to choose? 
Select based on the issue you want to prevent or treat. You can also allow your dog or cat to self-select which they prefer, green or red.  Learn more about self-selection here.

10.0 Cautions

None unless your dog is hypersensitive (intolerant or allergic) to rooibos, in which case do not use.

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Article and graphics by Karen Rosenfeld. 

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