Caffeine is Toxic to Your Pets

People often need the jolt or energy from a dose of caffeine to get going throughout the day. But it’s never a good idea to feed anything to your pet that contains caffeine. In fact, many products on the market contain large amounts of caffeine or caffeine-like stimulants that are toxic to a dog or cat. Since these products are commonly found in our homes, it’s important to be aware of the effect they can have on your pet, and to know the signs of caffeine toxicity.

Since caffeine acts like a stimulant in your pet, it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, increased thirst, restlessness and an increased heart rate. These signs can occur anywhere between 30 minutes to 12 hours after ingestion. Keep in mind that sugars and other ingredients in some caffeinated products can also cause vomiting, diarrhea and inflammation of the pancreas.

The severity of caffeine toxicity depends on how much caffeine your pet has ingested, the type of caffeine, the size of your pet and the amount of caffeine in the item itself.

Products include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Energy drinks and supplements
  • Caffeine pills
  • Soft drinks


Early treatment is important because your veterinarian will have time to induce vomiting and give your pet activated charcoal to help prevent the caffeine from absorbing into the body. In severe cases, too much caffeine can lead to agitation, tremors, seizures, increased urination, irregular heartbeat, loss of muscle control, collapse, coma and even death.

You can find more information on other household toxins in our Pet Health library.