Can Dogs Take Human L-theanine (amino acid)?
Have you heard about or even used the amino acid L-theanine, and now wonder if its benefits might be useful for dogs?
This amino acid has become popular of late with people who are interested in natural health.
There are two main food sources of L-theanine, and neither are something we give to dogs. These are:
- Black and green tea
L-theanine is sold as a supplement for humans, usually as a tablet.
You might see both L-theanine and D-theanine (or just plain Theanine) and wonder what the difference is.
It’s L-theanine which has the health benefits for people. This is the form found in mushrooms and some teas.
D-theanine can actually stop L-theanine from being absorbed.
In humans, L-theanine supplements are usually taken for the purpose of improving mental and cognitive health. This includes to improve the ability to think clearly, and to enhance memory.
Whether this amino acid has the ability to improve mental function has not been proven by science.
So why would some people wonder whether dogs can be given L-theanine?
If the main purpose for some humans taking this amino acid is to benefit their thinking and memory skills, these are not ordinarily areas where we would consider dogs needing a boost.
But one of the other areas some people believe L-theanine can be beneifical is to reduce anxiety. And it’s here that we start to see the appeal for some dog owners in considering L-theanine. Anxiety reduction and calming methods for dogs often revolve around strategies like calming collars and pheremones, anti-anxiety chews and calming wraps like Thundershirts. These items work very well for many dogs.
Other types of supplementation to reduce anxiety in dogs has become extremely popular. We have a lot choices, with products containing different ingredients that are thought to have calming qualities.
Is L-theanine one of the effective anti-anxiety ingredients that can work for dogs in stressful situations?
Firstly: is L-theanine safe for dogs?
L-theanine is not known to be dangerous for dogs.
L-theanine has shown promise in promoting a more relaxed state in dogs.
Studies have shown that when some dogs are supplemented with the amino acid L-theanine their anxious behavior in stressful situations such as during storms is reduced.(1)
The key is that the dog needs to be supplemented consistently everyday for at least one to two months for these benefits to be seen.
If you need an immediate anxiety reduction strategy then you’d need to turn to something like an Adaptil product or a calming wrap like the Thunderjacket.
L-theanine can be considered a more longer term, general anxiety reduction option for dogs that are regularly highly strung or require ongoing relaxation assistance.
As always: consult with your veterinarian before providing your dog with any supplements including L-theanine.