Zaria Rule heard that rooibos had great benefits for people with diabetes and decided to see if it would do the same for her diabetic dog… It worked!

Zaria Rule is a Grade-7 pupil in Centurion. In 2015 her dog Jesse was diagnosed with diabetes and lost most of her energy. Zaria hated seeing how lethargic Jesse was and wanted to help.

She had heard on the radio that rooibos tea is beneficial to people with diabetes. She became curious about whether it could help Jesse in the same way. With her Grade-7 science project on the horizon, she decided to test the idea and see if it would benefit dogs too.

Zaria identified Jesse and three other diabetic dogs and started giving them green rooibos tea daily

Zaria ran the test for four weeks and made sure the dogs continued to take their medication. The dogs loved drinking the tea and sometimes had it twice a day.

According to a report on the Rooibos Council’s website, “during the research period, Jesse and the other dogs continued with their diabetic medication as prescribed by the vet in order to assess the impact that the one variable factor – being rooibos – would have on the dogs. After about four weeks of rooibos supplementation, Jesse responded so well that we were able to reduce her dose of insulin treatment down to 10 units twice a day, which was the lowest dose we’ve ever given her since being diagnosed a year earlier.

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“Prior to adding rooibos to Jesse’s diet, her blood sugar levels were very low – almost to the point where she was hypoglycaemic. When we first started supplementing with rooibos her blood sugar levels were all over the place, but much to my delight, by the end of the four weeks they were more stable than ever. She was her old self again and had an abundance of energy. The other dogs responded in a similar way, which was such positive news.”

“The other dogs responded in a similar way, which was such positive news.”

Saving money on insulin

According to the Rooibos Council, Jesse loves the rooibos so much that even now, she tries to steal it from Zaria’s cup. Zaria’s mother Caroline has said that the experiment led to a finding that has also saved the family money because Jesse doesn’t need as much insulin as before.

“If supplementing with green rooibos could reduce the amount of insulin that a diabetic dog would require, it would not only save dog-owners high medicine costs, but their dogs would experience fewer side-effects too. Rooibos is a natural, healthy and much more affordable product to give pets,” said Caroline Rule.

Zaria has not only found an effective treatment for her dog but also created awareness around canine diabetes. Most people don’t know about it.

These are some of the symptoms a diabetic dog may have:

A change in appetite, increased thirst and urination, weight-loss, lethargy, vomiting, a change in dog odour, ongoing urinary tract infections, cataract formation and chronic skin infections, among others.

All you need to do is brew the rooibos tea for three to five minutes, let it cool and then either put it next to your pet’s water bowl or stir it into your pet’s meals. A rooibos bath could help to soothe common skin ailments that affect dogs, such as eczema. It is great for itchy and irritated paws, and can be used to treat eye infections as well. The teabags themselves can be placed on topical wounds to speed up the healing process.

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