Can Dogs Drink Coffee? The Harsh Truth You Need To Hear

This is something we can all agree on:

Coffee is probably one of those drinks humans can’t live without. It’s energizing, uplifting, and highly addictive.

For your dogs, however, it’s a totally different story. Coffee can poison and even kill your dog.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to make sure none of those things happen.

And today, we are going to show you exactly why coffee is bad for dogs and what you should do in case your dog drank coffee.

Caffeine and Dogs

Coffee is rich in caffeine and it is what makes the drink dangerous for your dog. Caffeine, containing high concentrations of methylxanthine, is a stimulant that can affect your dog’s brain, heart, and digestive tract.

After 30 minutes to 2 hours of ingesting coffee, your dog can start showing signs of toxicity.

This includes:

  • Fever
  • Tremor
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Panting
  • Irritability
  • Increased salivation

If your dog has ingested high doses of caffeine, he can also suffer from seizures and difficulty breathing. It may also kill him, just like the case of this male, German shepherd.

Now, here’s the thing:

Most of those symptoms can appear when your dog has ingested too much coffee. There are dog owners who give small amounts of coffee to their dogs without triggering any sign of toxicity.

This brings up another question…

How Much Coffee Is Dangerous to Dogs?

How Much Coffee Is Dangerous to Dogs

A few licks of coffee might not be enough to produce any symptoms. However, if your dog was able to consume more than 1/3rd of a cup, it can be enough to put him in a life-threatening situation.

Consider this:

  • Consuming 9 mg/pound of caffeine is enough to trigger symptoms. 20 mg/ pound can lead to serious illness while 75 to 100 mg/lb can cause seizures and even death.
  • To put that into perspective, a cup of espresso can contain as much as 100 mg of caffeine per 2 ounce cup.
  • Apart from the amount, the size of your dog matters, too. Generally speaking, smaller dogs are more at risk of caffeine toxicity than larger dogs.

My Dog Drank Coffee. Now, what?

Act quickly.

If you suspect your dog drank coffee or ate coffee beans and you know he’s ingested a lot, don’t wait for symptoms to appear. Take your dog to the vet as fast as possible.

At the clinic, expect the veterinarian to ask questions. He will likely inquire about the following:

  • Quantity you think your dog ingested
  • Time frame of your dog ingesting coffee or other caffeinated drinks
  • Any existing medical condition your dog has

For diagnosis, your dog may need to undergo some blood tests and urine tests to determine his exposure to caffeine. The veterinarian may also need to test your dog’s plasma as well as the content of his stomach.

The results of those tests can help him make a definitive diagnosis.

For treatment, it will depend on the degree of toxicity.

If the symptoms are mild, proper hydration should be enough to reverse the symptoms. Inducing vomiting may also be necessary to take out as much coffee as possible from his stomach. A procedure called gastric lavage can also be done to flush out everything inside your dog’s tummy.

If your dog has already vomited, the next step is to administer activated charcoal. It’s typically left inside the dog’s stomach right after cleansing to prevent further absorption of caffeine.

However, for more severe symptoms, the vet may likely initiate an intravenous line and administer fluids.

If your dog suffers from abnormal heart rate or experiences seizure, his doctor will administer medications to control those symptoms. Some of the most common medications for controlling the nervous system include phenobarbital, tranquilizers, phenothiazines, diazepam, and pentobarbital.

In case those medicines weren’t able to control and stabilize your dog’s central nervous system, an anesthetic drug may be administered through inhalation. One good example is Isoflurane.

Caffeine can also increase your dog’s blood pressure and this can cause cardiac arrhythmias which can be dangerous. To prevent complications, the vet may give him medications to lower his blood pressure.

can dogs have coffee

Since caffeinated drinks can include ingredients like sugar, your dog’s pancreas can also be at risk. The vet needs to be sure that it doesn’t suffer from inflammation which can be really fatal.

In such cases, your dog may need to be admitted for a few days for close monitoring and to ensure all the caffeine gets flushed out.


A perfectly healthy dog will have a better outcome than a dog who has existing health issues, like kidney or liver problems. If you know your dog is extra vulnerable, be extra careful not to expose him to caffeinated substances.

The Recovery Period

The amount of caffeine your dog ingested and the length of time it took to receive proper treatment will determine his recovery.

If treatment isn’t administered early and caffeine poisoning reached the brain and nervous system, it can be lethal for your dog. If treated early, prognosis can actually be good.

Once discharged, the veterinarian will focus on after-care instructions. You’ll be taught how to administer medications as well as the side effects you need to keep an eye out for.

You’ll also receive at-home care instructions to make sure your dog doesn’t go through another episode of caffeine poisoning. Remember to bring your dog back to the vet to assess his recovery.

The Thing About Caffeine

Can Dogs Drink Coffee

If you think coffee is the only thing you have to keep away from your dog- think again. Coffee isn’t the only thing that has caffeine and methylxanthine.

Here’s a list of foods and drinks that contain caffeine:

  • Hot chocolate
  • Protein bars
  • Chocolate bars
  • Diet pills
  • Sodas
  • Chocolate ice cream
  • Yogurt with cocoa
  • Energy drinks

In summary

Is caffeine bad for dogs?

  • check
    Yes, absolutely.

Is coffee bad for dogs?

  • check
    In large doses, yes.

However, since the effects of caffeine poisoning are too lethal, don’t put your dog at risk by letting him take a few licks of your coffee. You should avoid giving him any kind of treat that contains cocoa or chocolate, too.

Never entice him and resist the urge to share your favorite cup of coffee with your favorite pet in the world. Trust us, he’s better off without it.
Gregory Tumlin

Gregory Tumlin editor of has worked in the coffee industry for 5 years now. He used to work at Coffee and Espresso Bar in Princeton, NJ and have done some side coffee consulting and training through Barista School. He is also a husband and father of a young boy as well as a masters student. In whatever spare time he has left, Gregory enjoys running, cycling and reads just the right amount of trashy romance novels.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: