My Dog Ate a Tea Bag: 9 Risks, Symptoms, Treatments

Everyone knows the old adage about how curiosity killed the cat, but it turns out that cats aren’t the only pets with an overactive curiosity. Dogs, like people, can be very curious, which often causes worry for their owners.

Your dog is likely to get into something they shouldn’t, potentially endangering their health, at some point in their lifetime.

So, what do you do if you realize that your morning tea bag has vanished? Worse yet, what if Fido has discovered your tea stash? Even though it can be extremely harmful, choking on a tea bag is usually not fatal. What you need to know is detailed below.

Are Teabags Bad For Dogs?

To answer your question, tea bags can be dangerous for dogs. Swallowing the teabag could cause severe digestive issues due to the potentially toxic contents. This could manifest as diarrhea or stomach upset.

Caffeine, theobromine, and theophylline are just some of the stimulants and toxins that are commonly found in tea. Herbal teas, on the other hand, are less risky because they contain no caffeine.

It’s also possible to get burned by a hot tea bag if you swallow it while it’s in your throat, mouth, or stomach. This could be very unpleasant and even dangerous because of the risk of infection.

As a corollary, the dog may also experience a blockage in its digestive system or intestines. It’s possible this will cause problems and will need surgical removal.

Yikes! My Dog Just Ate a Teabag! Are Teabags Toxic or Harmful To Dogs?

Risks Of Teabags to Dogs?

In spite of your dog’s apparent fascination with used tea bags, you should not give him any. Consumption of them may cause a variety of problems.


Those who can’t get through the day without their morning cup of tea are well aware of the fact that most teas contain caffeine. Caffeine, whether consumed by humans or canines, stimulates the central nervous system and increases alertness and activity.

Dogs do not share the same tolerance for stimulation that humans do. Caffeine can be extremely harmful to dogs because they are so much more susceptible to its effects than humans.

Caffeine also contains the chemical component known as theobromine, which is also found in chocolate and is responsible for the latter’s toxicity to dogs.

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The first thing you should do if you discover that your dog has ingested a tea bag is check to see if it contains caffeine. Caffeine is rarely found in herbal teas, making them safe for your dog to drink. These are a few examples:

  • Camomile
  • Peppermint
  • Rooibos
  • Decaf tea

Teas with caffeine, on the other hand, can be extremely dangerous. Such examples would be:

  • We recommend a cup of black tea (Earl Grey or English Breakfast)
  • White tea
  • Green tea

Bowel Obstruction

The risk of bowel obstruction is another concern when it comes to consuming a teabag. Ingestion of a whole teabag can result in a potentially fatal blockage in your dog’s digestive tract or stomach if not treated immediately.

Thermal Burns

The tea bag your dog stole from your saucer probably was sizzling. Burns to your dog’s mouth, throat, and stomach are possible if you give it a hot tea bag. Burns are not only excruciating, but they can also lead to infections if not treated properly.

Steps to Take if Your Dog Eats a Tea Bag

Do not freak out and immediately contact your local animal hospital. Prepare to tell them the following:

  • The size of your dog
  • When did they last drink from the teabag?
  • The type of tea bag they ingested
  • Any signs or symptoms you may notice

There are times when a trip to the vet is warranted. Allow the vet to decide whether or not to induce vomiting. Surgical or endoscopic intervention may be necessary in severe cases.

You have tried calling your vet multiple times and still haven’t gotten through. Your best bet is to call the Pet Poison Hotline.

Yikes! My Dog Just Ate a Teabag! Are Teabags Toxic or Harmful To Dogs?

Caffeine Poisoning: What Is It?

Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to caffeine poisoning.

Caffeine inhibits the activity of adenosine receptors in the brain and central nervous system. The effect is most pleasant when consumed in small doses, which provide a welcome burst of energy. When consumed in large quantities, however, caffeine can lead to jitteriness, anxiety, and even seizures.

Caffeine poisoning can affect both people and dogs.

Signs Your Dog Has Caffeine Poisoning

To calm the nerves of all the worried dog owners out there, let’s talk about how to spot the signs of caffeine poisoning in a dog.

Firstly, while canines are more sensitive to caffeine than humans, it still typically takes more than one teabag for them to experience any negative side effects. Larger dog breeds in particular would need to consume quite a few teabags for their dog to become caffeine poisoned.

Some of the more severe symptoms of caffeine intoxication don’t start to appear until an hour or two after the drug has been absorbed into the bloodstream. Meanwhile, you should contact a veterinarian.

Symptoms of Dog Mild Caffeine Overdose

The following signs may indicate that you’ve had a slight overdose of caffeine.

  • Agitation
  • Explicitly: a rapid heartbeat
  • Hyperactivity
  • Anxious actions
  • Hypertension

When a dog is already quite active, it can be difficult for some owners to notice these signs. But if you see them, or anything else out of the ordinary, consult your veterinarian. Caffeine poisoning can cause these symptoms, so keeping an eye on your dog is essential.

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Symptoms of Dog Caffeine Poisoning

Symptoms of caffeine poisoning in dogs include:

  • Fever
  • Panting
  • Seizures
  • Shaking

Your dog needs to go to the vet immediately if you see any of these symptoms. They need emergency medical care because their life could be in danger.

Will My Dog Be Okay?

It’s never easy to worry about your dog’s health. Most dogs who accidentally ingest a teabag will be fine as long as you get them to a vet quickly.

However, in extremely unusual circumstances (such as when the dog eats a large number of teabags), dogs can die from caffeine poisoning. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think your dog has ingested a large number of teabags.

Some pain relievers may be necessary if your dog sustained thermal burns. While the mouth is healing, your veterinarian may suggest inserting a stomach tube, but the outlook is generally positive.

Surgeries are frequently necessary to save the lives of dogs suffering from bowel obstructions. Most canines will recover normally once the tea bag is removed.

How much tea is toxic to dogs?

A dog’s sensitivity to caffeine is greater than that of a human’s, but it would take a significant amount of tea or tea bags for a dog to be poisoned.

To alleviate symptoms, experts recommend giving your dog about 140mg of caffeine.

But the age and breed of the dog also play a role. It’s possible that some canines will exhibit symptoms right away, while others may take longer, and in rare instances, no symptoms may appear at all.

For this reason, if your dog has consumed multiple tea bags at once, it is crucial that you keep a close eye on it and administer treatment right away.

Yikes! My Dog Just Ate a Teabag! Are Teabags Toxic or Harmful To Dogs?

What are the symptoms upon eating a teabag?

When it comes to teabags, as was previously mentioned, not all dogs will experience the same symptoms. The risks of serious illness or death, however, are significantly higher if untreated for small dogs. The most typical signs include:diarrheavomitinghigher frequency of urination, thirst, etc.

Your dog may also exhibit tremors, shaking, or trembling in his or her muscles. One of the first signs is that your dog is having trouble walking or standing up. Even worse, a dog’s seizures could cause them to lose consciousness. It’s possible that this will go on for several seconds.

You shouldn’t get too close to your dog if it’s having a seizure because it might bite. When afflicted by a seizure, a dog has no ability to control his or her actions. To help them relax, turn out the lights and give them some space. Even non-life-threatening symptoms should prompt a trip to the vet.

What should I do if my dog eats a teabag?

The most important thing to remember if your dog accidentally ingests a teabag is to stay calm. If your dog appears to have swallowed the teabag, you should open its mouth and look inside.

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It’s possible that your pet has it wedged between its cheeks. You should carefully remove it if that’s the case.

Afterward, you should give your dog some cold water to drink if the tea bag it ingested was hot. If the dog has swallowed the teabag, check its mouth for burns once you’ve taken it out.

They will feel more at ease and the burns will not be as severe if you provide them with a cool drink.

The next step is to read the box’s ingredient list to see what’s actually inside the teabags. Inform your vet of the situation so that they can best assist your dog.

Remember that a teabag, if swallowed, could be harmful. You should still go to the vet even if there are no obvious symptoms.

Your dog may need emergency surgery to remove the teabags, depending on what’s inside them.

How to treat caffeine poisoning in dogs?

Your dog may need emergency veterinary care if it has ingested caffeine.

Your veterinarian may give your dog an injection to make it vomit if it has consumed too much caffeine.

Keep in mind that if you throw up the teabags, you might only get rid of half or most of them. Therefore, you might not be able to fully remove the teabag unless it remains intact.


Can dogs have herbal tea?

While most herbal teas are safe for canine consumption, a small number may contain substances that are harmful to dogs.

There is no caffeine in peppermint or rooibos tea, but it is still a good idea to check the ingredients list.

Yikes! My Dog Just Ate a Teabag! Are Teabags Toxic or Harmful To Dogs?

What teas can dogs have?

Teas like peppermint and chamomile can help a dog’s digestion. Black or green tea, without caffeine, is also acceptable. Make sure the tea is served in moderation and only on rare occasions.

Can dogs drink tea with milk and sugar?

On occasion, you can give your dog some unsweetened tea. Dogs are extremely sensitive to caffeine, so be sure to get decaffeinated versions. The longer you put off getting your dog treatment, the more severe his health problems could become.

Final Thoughts

As dogs are naturally inquisitive, their owners need to be on the move at all times. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are, there will be times when your dog gets into trouble.

If you suspect your dog has ingested a tea bag, they should be taken to the vet immediately.

The obvious solution to any problem is to stop it from happening in the first place. The tea bag should be discarded immediately after use, and the tea pot should be stored in a secure location out of reach of children.

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