Alternate names

methylxanthine, xanthine, tea, coffee, coffee beans, weight loss supplements, dietary supplements, energy drinks, guarana

Toxicity to pets

Many common products contain caffeine including coffee, tea, soda, energy drinks, and some supplements (e.g. pre-workout and weight-loss supplements). Both caffeine and theobromine, a chemical related to caffeine, are also found in chocolate. Dogs and cats appear to be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people. One or two licks of coffee, tea or soda is unlikely to cause poisoning in most pets. However, ingestion of unused coffee grounds or beans, tea bags, or supplements could cause serious toxicity in dogs or cats.  Depending on the amount ingested, signs of hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, elevated heart rate, high blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, tremors, and elevated body temperature may be seen. In severe cases, seizures, collapse and death are possible.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Elevated body temperature (hypothermia)
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

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The content of this page is not veterinary advice. A number of factors (amount of substance ingested, size of the animal, allergies, etc.) determine what is toxic to a particular pet. If you think your pet has eaten something potentially toxic, call Pet Poison Helpline or seek immediate veterinary treatment.