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.
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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:
- Rapid heartbeat
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
- Diet pills
- Ice cream that contains chocolate
- Yogurt that contains cocoa
- Hot chocolate
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)
- Gastrointestinal (vomiting)
- Cardiovascular (heart abnormalities)
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.
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 can be achieved via gastric lavage, which is a procedure accomplished using an endotracheal tube to flush out the stomach contents.
Your veterinarian may want to perform emesis on your dog, which is the induction of vomiting to relieve the contents of the stomach.
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.
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.
Caffeine Poisoning Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
Hello, my dog ate capsules called thrive. he had maybe a capsule and a half if that it does have caffeine. we weighs 40 pounds. he hasnt shown any symptoms. no throwing up and panting shaking sezuires. i did give him food and water he kept it down and didn't throw up
I couldn’t find any information of exactly how much caffeine is in Thrive, but it contains extracts from green tea, green coffee bean and white tea as well as other ingredients which may have traces of caffeine. I would recommend going to your Veterinarian for activated charcoal (too much time has passed for induced vomiting) and supportive care as I am unsure about the quantity of caffeine consumed. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
Thank you so much, I stayed home for a go amount of time taking him out to the bathroom, I gave him food little by little to coat the Caffeine he is doing great.
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