Is caffeine bad for pets?
Written by Jeff Lund @alaskalund
My mom’s cat is a throw rug of an animals. It’s fluffy and that’s not a euphemism for fat, it’s mostly just fluff. It used to be fat and fluff but it’s really old now, so when one pets it one discovers it’s actually pretty fit since it’s an outdoor cat and spends at least part of its day avoiding eagles, bears, mink etc.
As is commonly observed by cat owners, it’s lazy. It’s rugged and tough because it’s an Alaskan outdoor cat, but it mostly just lays around. One morning this summer it was poking around my coffee cup that was sitting on the rail of the deck. A little PR blend seemed like the perfect solution to its lethargy.
I decided to take the cup away and research the impact coffee has on pets.
My first discovery was that there is a pet poison helpline, so that’s good. It says that caffeine can be poisonous to dogs and cats, which, duh. The level of toxicity was interesting because it said “Generally moderate to severe/life-threatening.” So, it’s usually somewhat bad unless it’s really, really, bad. Got it.
The common signs section was not all that helpful because the cat pukes almost daily either thanks to its insane amount of calico hair, or the mouse it had for desert after its Meow Mix didn’t sit well. Other symptoms would be tough to tell. How often do you check your dog or cat for “abnormal heart rhythms” or hypertension? When I was a kid and we had both a dog and a cat, I never did. Our dog was so crazy it seemed like it was always on the caffeine. It would race around the couch, then jump up on whoever rang the doorbell and mark their pants and shoes as his. Which was maybe more strategic than insane, because by pissing on the shoes of a human, you can really extend your claimed range.
Anyway, as far as amounts, the article was helpful:
“While 1-2 laps of coffee, tea or soda will not contain enough caffeine to cause poisoning in most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills can easily cause death in small dogs or cats.”
Treating a pet may have ingested more than a few laps of caffeine of course begins with a call to the vet and hopefully ends in the care of a professional.
So, while you look yourself some high-octane pre-workout coffee, it’s probably not a good idea to see how Spot or Max will respond.
For what it’s worth:
C&K Marketing Associate Dante Pasquini’s grandfather gave his dog coffee every morning and it lived for 17 years.