I think it’s fair to say that most people start the day with a cup of coffee or tea. With that being said that’s a lot of morning brews for your pets to get into and taking a sneaky slurp of your drink can be fatal to your pets. Often I refer pet parents to the Pet Poison Hotline when they need information and so I took to the site myself to gather information on the effects of caffeine on your pets and this is what I found.
Is caffeine poisonous to dogs?
What it’s in:
Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, used tea bags, soda, energy drinks and diet pills. Theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine is also found chocolate (see chocolate).
Threat to pets:
Pets are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people are. While 1-2 laps of coffee, tea or soda will not contain enough caffeine to cause poisoning in most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills can easily cause death in small dogs or cats.
Signs of caffeine poisoning:
Within 1-2 hours of exposure: mild to severe hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, tachycardia (elevated heart rate), hypertension (elevated blood pressure), abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, hyperthermia (elevated body temperature) seizures, and collapse.
Induce vomiting and give multiple doses activated charcoal to decontaminate. Aggressive IV fluids to help with excretion, sedatives to calm the pet, specific heart medications to reduce the heart rate and blood pressure, anti-convulsants for seizures, antacids (such as Pepcid) for stomach discomfort and diarrhea. Caffeine may be reabsorbed across the bladder wall so a urinary catheter or frequent walks are needed to keep the bladder empty.
Excellent in pets with mild signs of poisoning (such as slight restlessness or a minimally elevated heart rate). Poor in those with severe signs of poisoning such as collapse and seizures.
Prevention: Isn’t that a scary scenario? It’s so easy to walk away from your caffeinated beverage to answer the front door or go check on your laundry. Yet in that short period of time your pet could have easily lapped up your drink. It was while I was having my morning cup of tea that I realized that I was in a safer position that most tea drinkers. I’m fanatical about tea cups being British and all and it was this one cup that made me think how it could prevent a pet emergency. It’s simple…it’s a tea cup with a lid! I bought it because it would keep my tea warm but there’s a secondary use to it…a barrier to my dogs having a sneaky slurp. I would recommend you pick up a tea cup with a lid and always make a mental note to never leave your drinks where your pets can access it. Cheers everyone and remember your pinky finger is always down it’s a common faux pas to raise the pinky finger.