2. Caffeine – Coffee, Tea, and Sodas
While it would be rare for a pet to sip your coffee, there are other, more “pet-accessible” sources of caffeine.
- Caffeine is most commonly found in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, used tea bags, soda, energy drinks and diet pills. Theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine, is also found chocolate (see chocolate toxicity).
- Threat to pets: Pets are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people are.
- 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.
3. Chocolate and Cocoa
When it comes to chocolate, it’s imperative to remember this fact: Dark is most dangerous. The darker the chocolate, the larger the amount of theobromine, a cousin chemical to caffeine, that it contains. Thus, baker’s chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa powder and gourmet dark chocolates are more dangerous than milk chocolate.
- White chocolate has very little theobromine and will not cause chocolate poisoning in pets.
- It’s the dose that makes the poison! Pets that ingest a few chocolate chips or 1-2 bites of a chocolate chip cookie are unlikely to develop chocolate poisoning.
- Due to the large amount of fat in chocolate, some pets may develop pancreatitis after eating chocolate or baked goods containing chocolate.