Canine tea time

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Tea polyphenols can have a positive effect on the health of our canine friends, according to scientists in China.

Owners are prepared to invest increasing amounts in their pet’s diet, making pet food an active research field. Tea polyphenols display antioxidant and antimicrobial properties in humans. Now, a team at Jiangnan University has created tea polyphenol containing dog food and have found similar effects in dogs.

Fang Zhong and colleagues first investigated the food’s palatability. When offered a choice of food over a five-day period, a test group of beagles consumed over double the amount of food containing tea polyphenols than food without. The dogs’ diet was then restricted to either tea polyphenol containing-food, or the control food, for 12 days. Subsequent blood tests revealed higher levels of antioxidants in the dogs on the tea polyphenol diet. They exhibited increased activity of oxidising enzymes and a 15% reduction in malondialdehyde, a lipid oxidation byproduct. These dogs also had less faecal bacteria in their stools, indicating a reduced number of pathogens in their food. It seems that not only would dogs rather eat tea polyphenol-containing food, but it also has potential health benefits.


M Chen et al, RSC Adv., 2016, 6, 16802 (DOI: 10.1039/c5ra22790a)

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