When we wake up in the morning, it takes some time for us to get into the groove of the day. A good cup of coffee or tea is the perfect way to get the energy going. While humans can consume large amounts of coffee and tea without any adverse effects, it is not the same for dogs. Caffeine can be toxic to dogs, and it will cause poisoning that may put the dog’s life at stake.

If you find that your dog has swallowed a tea bag, there is cause for concern. It would be best if you took quick actions to prevent the dog from getting sick. Discover the steps you can take to ensure that your dog survives this incident below. You will also get to know preventative measures that you can undertake to prevent caffeine toxicity in the future.

Why caffeine is bad for dogs

Caffeine is a stimulant that helps us humans stay awake even when we are exhausted. For dogs, caffeine has the same effects, only heightened because they are sensitive to it. When your dog ingests caffeine, their heart paces, and they become hyperactive. This restless and jittery stage may last up to 12 hours if it remains unchecked.

Apart from being restless, they may vocalize excessively, barking unnecessarily even at a fly nearby. Caffeine also affects blood pressure, and in some cases, it will cause arrhythmias that can be fatal if left untreated. Some dogs may present adverse effects from ingesting caffeine, like having seizures or tremors.

You can expect the dog to vomit or diarrhea, which can be positive as the body gets rid of the caffeine. Some dogs may urinate more often, depending on how much caffeine they ingested. Be careful as some dogs develop a fever which might lead them to feel weak and collapse. 

Once you realize that your dog has ingested caffeine, watch them closely so that the situation does not escalate without you there. There are pet owners who have lost dogs simply because they believed that the symptoms would dissipate after a while.


Maybe you did not witness the dog ingest a tea bag, but there is evidence that it might have done so. What you do is look for other symptoms so that you can be sure before you go running to the vet. Symptoms associated with caffeine intake in dogs include:

  • Fast heartbeat.
  • Nausea.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Seizures.
  • Hyperthermia.
  • Stomach pains.
  • High blood pressure.

What to do

Like in all medical emergencies, call the vet at once for first aid options before the dog gets to the clinic. If your dog is not vomiting, do not try to induce vomiting as this may cause more harm than good. Remember that caffeine will have more severe effects on small dogs compared to larger breeds, so there is an urgency to get medical help.

Your doctor may conduct urine and blood tests to see if there are any more underlying issues apart from caffeine ingestion. The tests will reveal how much caffeine is in the system so that the doctor can adjust the treatment accordingly.

In most cases, the vet will induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal to absorb the toxins from the stomach. The doctor will also prescribe IV fluids to aid in the detoxification, sedatives for calmness, and other medication the doctor sees fit depending on the dog’s condition.

Poisonous teas for dogs

While regular black tea does not have adverse effects in small doses, other tea types may cause a problem, especially with prolonged exposure. Chamomile tea is relaxing for humans, but for dogs, it can be toxic. 

Chamomile is present in natural sedatives or de-wormers for dogs, but it contains tannic acid, anthemic acid, and bisabolol, among other toxic compounds for dogs. Avoid feeding your dog kibble that contains large doses of chamomile as the daily exposure will lead to toxicity.

Peppermint tea is another culprit that can cause caffeine toxicity in dogs. Peppermint itself does not pose harm to the dog, but peppermint tea contains Xylitol. Xylitol is a chemical compound that causes hypoglycemia in dogs which eventually develops into death if left untreated.

How to Prevent Dogs from Swallowing Tea Bags

Here are a few tips to keep your dog from getting into contact with your tea bags:

  • Secure The Trash

Sometimes dogs find it fun to go through the trash; therefore, it is crucial to secure the trash bag. You can put the trash in a secured bin or place the trash bag in an area where the dog cannot reach.

  • Put Away Utensils

Once you finish having tea, clear the table. This prevents the dog from getting access to the tea bags you were using. This is especially for those with large dogs that can access high surfaces easily. 

  • Training 

Training your dog can be expensive, but it is worthwhile. You can train your dog not to eat specific things such as food that could be poisonous. If you have a puppy in training, ask the trainer to include this in the training package. It will save you a lot of problems in the future.


Dogs are sensitive to things that we humans find normal, so it is vital to keep a close watch over them. By taking care of our pets, we feel better about ourselves and life in general. You can choose to ban tea or coffee in your house, but that is impractical because you will receive guests that like tea and coffee. Instead, take preventative measures to ensure that your dog doesn’t come into contact with tea bags.

If, by chance, the dog does swallow another tea bag, you will have a better idea of how to handle it instead of panicking. Have the vet’s number on speed dial to ensure that you are doing the right thing even if you don’t have money to go to the vet. Just by calling the vet, you can get information on reducing the adverse effects of caffeine without putting the dog’s life in danger.

Leave a comment