What is the first picture that pops into your head when you hear the word ‘boba’? Is it the refreshing bubble tea? Or is it boba pudding, a sweet treat available in various flavors?
On a hot summer afternoon, sipping on the cool and sweet boba tea sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
Regardless of the recipe you favor, we can agree that dishes made from boba are delicious. And do you know who else agrees with this opinion? Yes, your furry friends, trying to sneak a sip of your drink.
But can dogs eat boba? Is it safe to feed them boba? Can you prepare boba at home? Or should you keep boba as far away as possible from your dog?
The article will explore these questions to understand if boba can be a part of your dog’s diet.
What is Boba?
Owing to its widespread popularity, boba is often confused with boba tea in its entirety. The tea is prepared with ingredients like milk, honey, and other rich toppings. On the other hand, boba is the chewy pearls in the tea that your dog will slurp with the thick straw.
A boba, also known as tapioca pearls, is a starch extracted from the cassava plant root. It is the starch that gives these pearls a chewy texture.
If you have boba on its own, you will notice they taste pretty bland. However, the neutral flavor of the pearls is what makes them good additions to sweet and savory dishes.
If we consider the nutritional value of tapioca, they majorly contain carbohydrates. Other nutrients like protein, fat, and fiber are in almost negligible quantities.
Tapioca is also grain and gluten-free. So, if you go through the ingredients of grain-free dog foods available in the market, you might find tapioca on the list. This is because they are used as a source of carbohydrates. But, due to the overall lack of nutrients, tapioca is considered a low-grade filler.
Can Dogs Eat Boba?
Dogs can eat boba or tapioca pearls in their natural form. Make sure there is no additional artificial flavoring involved. The flavors and sweeteners that you enjoy are not exactly good for your dog’s gut.
Boba might not provide dogs with a healthy dose of nutrients, but they are not toxic either. Dogs can safely consume these chewy pearls.
If you want to feed your dog boba, remember that, as it is with any other food item, moderation is the key. At the end of the day, they are a bunch of carbohydrates.
A growing or a highly-active dog requires their diet to contain 20% of carbohydrates. Thus, ensure you do not overdo the boba-feeding, as it can put pressure on your dog’s digestive system. However, this is a result that you can easily avoid with moderation.
Is it Safe to Feed Boba to Dogs?
One of the common questions most pet owners have is whether boba is safe or toxic for dog consumption. As you have seen above, tapioca is a product used in grain and gluten-free dog food. So, if you are feeding your dog any variety of grain-free dog feed, tapioca is already a part of their diet.
To answer the question, no, tapioca is not toxic for your dog.
Can dogs eat boba? Yes, but bear in mind a few safety feeding tips. First, stick to plain boba or tapioca pearls. Keep any artificial flavoring, syrups, and toppings away.
Boba has a chewy texture, and they are also big-sized. It is recommended you cut the boba into small pieces when giving them to your dog. You have the presence of mind to chew the boba before swallowing them. But the same does not go for your pet, and they might swallow the boba without chewing.
This is a problem because these pearls could be a choking hazard. Moreover, it can cause indigestion and, in extreme cases, intestinal obstruction. So remember to slice those tapioca pearls before feeding them to your dogs.
Stick to moderation. Giving your pup a whole cup of boba every day is not the way to go. Instead, a couple of times a week in a small quantity should be acceptable.
Can Dogs Eat Popping Boba?
Before we get into if dogs can eat popping boba, let us look at what type of boba they are.
Popping boba is similar to tapioca pearls. As it is made from seaweed extract, this boba has a thin outer layer. And inside, they are filled with refreshing fruit juices. So, instead of the chewy texture of the tapioca pearls, a popping boba has a slippery texture that ‘pops’ when you bite into one, releasing the juice inside.
They are available in various fruit juice flavors like mango, strawberry, kiwi, cherry, lychee, orange, green apple, and more.
Now, this may sound appetizing to you, but it should not be a part of your dog’s diet. This is because popping boba includes ingredients like sugar and artificial coloring. So as far as possible, stick to natural ingredients for dog food.
Why Boba Tea or Pudding Do Not Make for Good Dog Refreshments?
Can dogs eat boba? – Yes, plain boba in moderation is fine. But can they try other boba recipes? Let us find out.
Boba tea and pudding have become extremely popular these days. As a result, you can find cafes serving only boba-inspired food items on their menu. There is boba icecream, boba mochi, boba waffles, and even boba pizzas!
These classic and bizarre experimental dishes may be your cup of tea but not your dog’s.
Let us take the famous boba tea, for example. The main ingredients, apart from tapioca pearls, for this drink are:
Dairy products are one of the common food allergens in dogs. If your dog is allergic or lactose intolerant, boba tea does not have a place in their diet.
Puppies do drink milk. But they also contain an enzyme called lactase in abundance, which helps them break down the milk. Dogs, as they grow, produce less lactase, which makes digesting milk a difficult task.
And if you give your dog a cup of boba tea; you might see symptoms like skin irritation, diarrhea, and vomiting, depending on their level of intolerance.
Most teas contain caffeine in them. And caffeine is something that you should not be giving your dog. When it comes to hydration, water is the best source for animals. If your dog sneaks in a sip or two for your tea, it will not affect their health as such. But especially giving tea to your dogs should be avoided.
Too much caffeine can cause hyperactivity, restlessness, elevated heart rate, vomiting, and increased blood pressure in dogs.
Dogs do need sugar in their diet. They fulfill this requirement when their body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose. Therefore, there is no need for you to feed them sugar in the form of sweets or candy.
Too much sugar will cause an upset stomach in dogs. Artificial sweeteners are toxic for dogs. They cannot digest the compounds in these sweeteners as humans. You might notice symptoms like increased thirst, excessive urination, and muscle spasms.
If we consider boba pudding, it also contains ingredients like milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Again, not good for your dog’s health.
If you are looking for refreshing summer snacks for your canine friend, opt for a treat made from natural foods like watermelon, banana, apple, and strawberry. You can make popsicles and frozen treats from these fruits at home.
Can You Make Homemade Boba for Your Dog?
Yes, you can use tapioca starch to make boba at home. First, tapioca starch is mixed with hot water and sugar to get a dough-like consistency. Then, the dough is kneaded, cut into small squares, and rolled into spheres. That is how you get dry tapioca pearls.
Next, you can cook the pearls in water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once they float to the surface, you can remove the pearls and let them cool.
The next step typically involves seeping the cooked boba in sugar syrup. But you may skip this step for the sake of your dog’s health. Remember to cut the pearls in half to avoid any obstructions.
Should You Feed Your Dog Boba?
Can dogs eat boba – yes, but is that a good enough reason to feed them boba?
As mentioned above, boba is a ball of carbohydrates and sugar. Therefore, there are not many nutritional benefits attached to them.
If you want to feed them boba, stick to the plain version. And when we say plain, it means devoid of any added flavor. Do not scoop out boba from the store-brought drink to feed your dog. Those pearls have been seeping in syrup and artificial flavoring for a long time.
As with any new food, you need to monitor your pet’s behavior after consumption to understand if the food suits them. In general, avoid giving them these sweet drinks, especially if they are allergic or lactose intolerant.
If your dog has a sip of your delicious bubble tea, the small quantity is not problematic, but do not make it a habit. However, if somehow your dog ends up drinking a cup of bubble tea, keep an eye out for symptoms and consult a vet to be sure.
To answer the question, can dogs eat boba? Yes, they can. Plain boba or tapioca pearls are safe for dogs to consume. In fact, tapioca is a grain and gluten-free ingredient added to many dog foods.
If you are up to the task of making boba at home, feel free to include them in your dog’s diet with moderation.
You should not give your dogs boba tea, pudding, ice cream as they contain milk, high quantities of sugar, artificial flavor, and sweeteners.
If you are feeding your dog a rich diet of protein, there is no need to include boba in their diet. Instead, there are several fresh and natural food snacks and treats you can explore. In case of any concerns, you can talk to your vet before adding boba to your dog’s diet.
Heather Abraham is an owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, and a parrot (who her dad still cannot teach bad words to), and an avid blogger. From the time she was a young girl, she always felt a connection with pets. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between. Along with newly-on-board veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while offering other various fun tidbits along the way.