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What is Caffeine Poisoning?

Caffeine is a crystalline compound found in the plants of tea and coffee. It is also an added ingredient in many food items and medications to act as a stimulant of the central nervous system. Many individuals consume caffeine in the form of coffee and tea, as well as in other substances; however, for dogs it is toxic. Caffeine is a common substance in coffee, tea, coffee grounds, tea bags, diet pills, and soda. A chemical that is related to caffeine, theobromine, is found in chocolate. All of these above substances are toxic to dogs. Stimulants to the cardiovascular system are used in ingested by people for a variety of conditions and recreational purposes.

Caffeine poisoning in dogs is the result of dogs ingesting caffeine, whether it be from coffee or other caffeinated substances, or chocolate. A stimulant to the central nervous system, a veterinary visit is essential if your pet consumes caffeine.

Caffeine Poisoning Average Cost

From 59 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

If you know your dog has eaten a food item with caffeine, it is important to get him medical attention. Symptoms of caffeine poisoning are:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Shaking
  • Panting
  • Agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Hypertension
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Hypothermia
  • Seizures

Types

It is important to know items that contain this poisonous drug. Types of substances that contain caffeine besides coffee and tea are:

  • Protein bars
  • Energy drinks
  • Chocolate bars
  • Sodas
  • Diet pills
  • Ice cream that contains chocolate
  • Yogurt that contains cocoa
  • Hot chocolate
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Causes of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

The cause of caffeine poisoning in dogs is due to the consumption of a food item or medication containing caffeine.  The ingestion of caffeine in small amounts may cause your pet to be mildly affected, but when a large portion is consumed (for example, if your pet eats the coffee filter and the contents) the effects could be more drastic. The effects can be:

  • Neurologic (for example seizures)
  • Metabolic
  • Gastrointestinal (vomiting)
  • Pulmonary
  • Cardiovascular (heart abnormalities)
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Diagnosis of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

Once you take your dog to visit the veterinarian for the ingestion of caffeine, the veterinarian will ask questions pertaining to the time frame of your dog consuming the food or drink item that contained the drug, the quantity you suspect he ingested, and any other questions to give the medical professional an idea of your dog’s condition. The veterinarian may take blood work and a urinalysis for testing to confirm the exposure to caffeine. The veterinarian may also test your dog’s plasma and the contents of the stomach fluid, which will allow the veterinarian to make a definitive diagnosis.

The veterinarian will need to rule out any other conditions, especially if you are not sure that he consumed an item with caffeine in it. Differential diagnoses may include the ingestion of chocolate, ephedrine, amphetamines, nicotine, lead, pesticides, and any other item that would present the same symptoms of toxicity.

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Treatment of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

Treatment methods for caffeine poisoning in dogs are quite effective; however, it depends on the amount of caffeine ingested in the time it took for you to have the dog diagnosed and treated. During the treatment method that the veterinarian feels is appropriate, he will be monitoring your dog’s vital signs, such as his blood pressure, his heart rate, and signs from his central nervous system. Treatment methods can include:

Gastrointestinal Decontamination

Gastrointestinal decontamination can be achieved via gastric lavage, which is a procedure accomplished using an endotracheal tube to flush out the stomach contents.

Inducing Vomiting

Your veterinarian may want to perform emesis on your dog, which is the induction of vomiting to relieve the contents of the stomach.

Activated Charcoal

If emesis has successfully occurred, it is recommended that activated charcoal be administered soon thereafter. This should be left inside the stomach after the cleansing, and will prevent any further absorption into the stomach and other parts of the body.

Controlling the Central Nervous System

The central nervous system may show signs of distress, such as in the form of seizures. There are different medications that may be given, if needed, which can include diazepam, phenothiazines and other tranquilizers, phenobarbital, and pentobarbital. These medications help control the central nervous system so the dog can be stabilized and effectively receive the treatment provided. A type of anesthetic drug via general inhalation may be given if the above medications do not stabilize the central nervous system. Isoflurane is one such anesthetic in the form of a gas.

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Recovery of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

Recovery depends on the amount of caffeine intake. Recovery also depends on the length of time it took to receive treatment. If untreated, caffeine poisoning that leads to central nervous system conditions, such as seizures or collapse, can be lethal to dogs; if treated the prognosis is good. Once your dog has been successfully treated, the veterinarian will have specific after-care instructions, including instructions on how to administer medications, side-effects to watch out for, and any other instructions for at-home care. The veterinarian will want to see your dog again to check on his recovery.

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Caffeine Poisoning Average Cost

From 59 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

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Caffeine Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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American Bully

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

My 120lb Bully licked up a few coffee grounds maybe 1/4 tsp and about 2 1/2 hours later when I took him to the restroom his poop was very runny. He hasn't pooped since then and he's drinking water and resting should I take him to the vet.

July 21, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, I'm sorry your pup is not feeling well. If he licked coffee grounds and developed diarrhea, I recommend that you take him to a veterinarian for an exam. The coffee grounds can be causing irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Good luck and hope he feels better soon.

July 21, 2020

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Tucker & jax

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Australian Shepherd

dog-age-icon

6 Months

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symtoms

My two miniature Australian shepherds got into acouple caffeinated English breakfast tea bags when they were left home along for 4 hours. When i got home there was 3spots of vomit, with 2 poops that were firm, not dierria. The spots of vommit were 95% tea leaves and they are acting totally fine now and displaying no symptoms of restlessness, nervousness, high heart rate or anxiety. They have both eaten and drank and are currently resting. I am curious as when to seek vet attention.

Aug. 9, 2018

Tucker & jax's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It is likely that the tea bags caused vomiting before any real harm was done, however without examining Tucker and Jax I cannot say for certain; you should keep a close eye out for any symptoms listed on this page. If symptoms present you should visit your Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 9, 2018

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Piper

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Papillon

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

Hi I have a 2 y/o 15 lb papillion dauchsaund mix, when I was outside and had my cup of ice coffee that had about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of coffee left in it. It was a k cup of reg roast coffee I used creamer and lots of ice cubes the cup was knocked over and her lapping it up when I walked back in, she may have drank maybe like 1/4 of cup if that. I gave her food and fat free yogurt and ice cube all which she ate, she ingested it about an hour and a half ago. She is currently sleeping/ laying beside me. Should I be worried? Sounds like from previous posts I need to watch her but does this sound like a minor incident I’m super anxious!

July 29, 2018

Piper's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

You should keep a close eye on Piper for any symptoms listed on the page, we cannot be sure how much was consumed but given her small size of 15lbs (7kg) we need to be on the safe side. Ensure that Piper is kept hydrated (coffee is a diuretic) and visit your Veterinarian if you have any concerns or symptoms present. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 30, 2018

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Nitro

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American bully

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6 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Restlesness

My dog ingested about 9-11 Diurex pills from a blister pack. I induced vomiting as soon as I found the pills which would maybe have been 2 hours after. He did vomit but I didn't see many pills and found quite a few crushed all over the floor. Help please

July 18, 2018

Nitro's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Not all Diurex products contain caffeine, around half of their products are caffeine free and contain active ingredients like pamabrom; it is good that you induced vomiting and that there were some whole tablets in the vomit. You should keep a close eye on Nitro for the time being but visit your Veterinarian if any symptoms present or you have concerns. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 18, 2018

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Harley Quinn

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German Shepherd

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4 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Peed Without Noticing.

I spilled my coffee this morning and before I could get a paper towel my 75 lb German Shepherd started licking the table and the carpet. She did not get much so I was not worried but about 20 minutes later she was laying next to me and peed without even noticing. She is four years old and the only time she has ever done this before is when she ate something strange and was throwing up all day and just too tired to get up. Other then peeing herself she seems perfectly normal. Should I take her to the vet?

June 4, 2018

Harley Quinn's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

it is unlikely that Harley had enough coffee to harm her. I'm not sure what the cause of her urinating abnormally may have been, but if that continues, it would be best to have her seen.

June 5, 2018

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Zero

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Pit Bull German Shepherd Rottweiler boxer mix

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea
Fever
Vomiting

This morning at about 6 in the morning my fiance made a pot of coffee. When he did he spilled I would say a tablespoon on the floor. At about 8 this morning,i was woke up because my dog zero threw up right next to me. I clean that up went to take him outside and before I could he had diarrhea on the floor. Then when I took him outside he had some more diarrhea. I felt his ears they were hot nose was dry and warm. But I got his fever down by putting water around has ears and on his paws. His fever is broke and he's just laying down. He doesn't want to eat but he's still drinking water. He weighs 40 lb. Should I take him to the vet?

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elvis

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Goldendoodle

dog-age-icon

3 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Restlessness, Hyperactivity

we left our 3 months old puppy unantented in the car this evening and he open my cup of cappuccino and drink it all!!! passed 5 hours since then ,only things I noticed was restlessness, hyperactivity, and I'm not sure about the heart I think h was more than normal but he was jumping for hours up and down as well so the heart beats was fast.now he is sleeping. What you suggest ,is better to be seen by a vet in the morning or only if I see more sumptoms?

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Louise

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Mixed

dog-age-icon

11 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Symptoms Yet She Is Sleeping.

My 28lb pupy just drank my cup of black tea, 6 ounces with honey and milk, when I left the room. Do I need to seek medical attention? No symptoms yet. She is asleep but is under treatment for large intestine infection. Does she need immediate medical attention?

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Azzy

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Catahoula Leopard Dog

dog-age-icon

8 Weeks

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Nothing Yet

My 8 week old puppy just got into my unattended coffee cup and lapped up some coffee with creamer. I'm unsure how much exactly, maybe a 1/4 cup. Just happened about 5 mins ago.

Caffeine Poisoning Average Cost

From 59 quotes ranging from $250 - $3,000

Average Cost

$500

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