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Note for Pet Owners

This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Caffeine poisoning is not as common as chocolate poisoning but it is still seen occasionally

Caffeine is present in * :

  • coffee 
    • instant 65mg/cup
    • percolated 100mg/cup
  • tea - 15-75mg/cup
  • cocoa - 10-17 mg/cup#
  • chocolate - 60-70mg/bar#
  • some cola drinks - 40-65 mg/12oz can
  • Lucozade 18mg/100g
  • Some cold treatments
  • Some pain killers
  • Caffeine stimulant tablets
  • Caffeine stimulant drinks (eg Red Bull)

# The main stimulant and potential toxin in chocolate and cocoa is theobromine.

If enough is eaten it can be fatal for both dogs and cats. The lethal dose of caffeine for dogs and cats is 150mg/kg body weight, and regular instant coffee contains over 60mg caffeine per teaspoon - so for a 3 kg cat 8 teaspoons of coffee would be potentially fatal, and there is NO ANTIDOTE.  

Signs of poisoning that may be noticed by owners include :

  • Excitement
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle tremors
  • Fits
  • Bleeding

Veterinarians may also detect :

  • Abnormal heart rhythm (called arrhythmias)
  • Generalised congestion

(* Reference source for some of the content Manual of Dietetic Practice by Briony Thomas 1994 Blackwell Science)

Updated October 2013