Coffee is a famous beverage prepared from roasted coffee beans. Experts estimate that people around the world consume 2.25 billion cups of coffee per day. It has been found that coffee has various health benefits other than keeping you active. If you’re fond of dogs and love coffee, we understand the desire to share your favorite drink with your pup. This brings us to our question, “Can Dogs Drink Coffee?”
Unfortunately, No. Coffee is harmful to your dog as it contains caffeine, and all forms of caffeine are highly toxic to most pets. Dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than people are. While small sips won’t do much harm, ingesting moderate or large amounts of coffee grounds or tea bags can easily cause death in small dogs. Here’s everything you need to know about feeding coffee to your pup.
How Does Caffeine Affect Dogs?
Caffeine is an alkaloid made by plants to kill off any creatures trying to eat the plants. Humans and other plant-eating animals have developed defenses to common alkaloids over the years, but dogs haven’t. It directly affects the nervous system and the heart, both in humans and pets. But when it comes to caffeine’s effect, dogs have a lower tolerance, meaning it can dangerously increase their heart rate. Ultimately, caffeine raises blood pressure, which can cause severe health problems in dogs. Dogs may also lose muscle control and may experience seizures. One helpful side effect of caffeine is that it affects the Gastrointestinal tract, which induces vomiting that helps remove some toxins from the body.
Symptoms of Caffeine Poisoning
Severe symptoms of caffeine poisoning can appear within 1 or 2 hours of your dog ingesting caffeine. If you notice your dog ingesting a relatively small coffee dose, you don’t have to be much worried, but if they have swallowed a moderate amount, you should look out for the following symptoms:
- Elevated Heart Rate
- High Blood Pressure
- Higher body temperature
- Abnormal health rhythms
- Death (in the worst case)
How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?
The lethal dose for coffee depends on your dog’s weight. Your dog’s size and the amount of caffeine they ingested play a significant role in determining the severity. Small breeds such as Chihuahuas can get severely ill just from consuming 0.1 oz of coffee beans or 3 ounces of regular brewed coffee. Larger breeds like the Great Dane would get sick after ingesting a little more than that. In simpler words, just a sip of coffee won’t do any irreparable harm to your pup, but they might get a little ill. But if they were to eat some coffee grounds directly, it could lead to serious health problems.
My Dog Ingested Some Caffeine Infused Drink/Food? What Should I Do?
Firstly, you should try to find out how much caffeine did your dog ingest. If they had a small amount, you don’t have much to worry about, but if it was a moderate or high amount, rush to get veterinary care as soon as possible. The quicker you get your dog to the vet, the greater the chances of having a positive outcome. The vet can assess the situation and administer the proper treatment.
Since it is unlikely that you’d be prepared if your dog consumes a large coffee dose, you have to know how to use First Aid. In this case, follow these steps:
- Make sure the dog is not in pain and does not apply any pressure or force on the abdomen area.
- Gently roll the dog onto its side to relieve vomiting if needed. If the dog is unconscious, do not roll them over as this can cause other problems and damage other organs.
- Look for a label that identifies the coffee’s ingredients. If there is no label on the coffee or it does not say “dog-safe,” bring your dog to the vet without delay. Do not give your dog anything to drink, but give them plenty of fresh air and keep them warm until you can get them to the vet.
Once you get your dog to the vet, treatment includes inducing vomiting, monitoring organ function, heart rate, blood pressure, and administering medications for tremors and seizures, and IV fluid therapy. Your dog might even need to be hospitalized for several days, based on the severity of the case. Schedule follow-up appointments with your vet even after your dog has shown promising signs of recovery.
But the most important thing is to keep caffeine away from your dog. Keep your coffee beans, tea bags, and diet pills far away from your dog’s reach, and make sure to restrict their access to the trash.
Sources of Caffeine to Be Wary of:
Coffee is a major source of caffeine kept in many households, but it isn’t the only caffeine source that you may have at your house. The below-mentioned sources of caffeine are just as dangerous as coffee if not fed in moderation:
- Diet Pills
- Energy Drinks
- Chocolate Cake
So, Can I Give Coffee to My Dog?
It’s best to keep any caffeine-infused drinks away from your canine companion. There is always a possibility of health problems when your dog ingests caffeine, even if fed in small amounts. No matter how much you might want to share some coffee with your four-legged buddy or how much they work their puppy-dog eyes, you should refrain from giving them any caffeine-induced drinks. Your canine bud may accidentally get their paws on your coffee someday; you’ll need to be watchful then. You can check varying cases of caffeine poisoning in this article by NCBI.
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Are Only Dogs Susceptible to Caffeine Poisoning?
Not only dogs, but even cats are prone to caffeine poisoning. Just like with dogs, caffeine can cause organ damage in cats. Small doses won’t give many health problems, but every time you provide them with any caffeine-induced drink/food, the caffeine will damage their heart and nervous system.
In summary, No, dogs shouldn’t be given coffee or any caffeine-induced food/drinks. Keep coffee, tea, diet pills, and energy drinks away from your dog, and if your dog does ingest some caffeine, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
For more information on potentially harmful drinks your dog should avoid drinking, check out similar articles here.