No, dogs can’t drink coffee – it is quite toxic for them. Of course, if you want to keep your pooch safe from caffeine poisoning, there are a few things you need to know. This is your ultimate guide to going about it:
Why is Coffee Bad for Dogs?
It’s not necessarily coffee that is harmful for dogs, but the caffeine content. Caffeine is highly toxic to dogs. In addition to coffee – tea, chocolate, sodas, and energy drinks are also off the table for canines.
Bear in mind that decaf coffee and tea still contain small amounts of caffeine. While these may seem negligible to you, it is not the case for dogs. So, these are a few more drinks that you should keep your dog away from at all costs.
As with humans, caffeine causes increased heart rate in dogs. However, since pups are far more sensitive to the effects of caffeine, their heart rate can rise to a dangerous rate. There may also be an increase in their blood pressure levels which can lead to heart arrhythmias.
In addition to this, caffeine could also negatively impact the dog’s muscles, causing them to lose control. The dogs’ gastrointestinal tract and even bladder may be affected.
Even a fairly small amount of caffeine in a dog’s system can cause damage to major organs including the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, and central nervous system. A high enough dose may prove to be fatal.
Caffeine Poisoning Symptoms
Here are the caffeine poisoning symptoms you need to know about:
- Hyperactivity (constant pacing, inability to lie still)
- Excessive barking or vocalizing
- Muscle tremors
What Should You Do If Your Dog Drinks Coffee?
When it comes to treating caffeine toxicity, a quick response is best. The less time the caffeine has to take effect, the better the outcome for your dog.
This is why you should take your dog to the vet if you notice them drinking coffee or anything other caffeinated food or beverage. Don’t wait for the symptoms to appear.
You can also call the Pet Poison Hotline if you want assistance on what to do in the meantime. However, it’s important that you take your dog to the vet as soon as possible – don’t wait for an appointment. Simply take them in as an emergency.
Do you know exactly what your dog consumed? If so, make sure to take the label or the wrapper along with you. This may provide the vet with a more accurate idea of just how much your dog may have ingested. In turn, they will be able to treat the pooch with greater efficiency.
If you notice any of the symptoms above, check for any signs that your dog may have consumed any amount of caffeine. Check for half-empty drinks or wrappers strewn around. Even if you don’t see any evidence, you should still rush your dog to the vet.
How is Caffeine Poisoning Treated?
One of the first things your vet will do is induce vomiting. This will help your dog get rid of any undigested caffeine, preventing any more of it from entering their system.
The vet may also give your dog multiple doses of activated charcoal. This will cause the caffeine to bind to the charcoal instead, and allow your dog to pass it out of their system without absorbing any more.
Your dog may also be given IV fluids. This will help them to urinate more, flushing out the caffeine from their system before it can do much harm.
The vet will also monitor any symptoms they have and give them medications accordingly.
How Much Coffee is Toxic to Dogs?
You may wonder what could happen if a dog drinks small doses of coffee. Can even a small quantity impact their health? Well, most experts will tell you that around 63mg per pound of your dog’s body weight can be considered toxic.
This means that the level of toxicity can often depend on the dog’s size. The smaller the dog, the more quickly they will feel the effects of the caffeine. Not to mention, the faster the symptoms can progress and worsen.
There is also the fact that some forms of coffee have a higher caffeine content. For instance, ingesting coffee grounds is far more dangerous than brewed coffee as these contain more caffeine. The same goes for espresso versus regular coffee.
Another factor to consider is health. A healthier dog may be able to withstand the effects of caffeine for longer. However, an older or frail dog may succumb to complications faster.
How Long Will It Take for Your Dog to Recover?
Well, this does depend on a number of different things.
To begin with, you have to take into account how much caffeine your dog has ingested in comparison to their size. The less caffeine consumed, the safer.
You also have to take into consideration how quickly your dog was treated. Were they rushed to the vet the moment they consumed the caffeine? Were they only treated after symptoms began to show? Was it a few hours after this? The quicker the response time, the better the prognosis.
As mentioned, you also have to consider how healthy your dog is. A fit dog may be able to recover more quickly, while an older or impaired pup may take longer.
At the end of the day, your vet will be the best person to speak to regarding your dog’s recovery time. Once the treatment has been administered, the vet will be able to determine how well your dog has responded. In turn, they may be able to give you a rough answer.
Why Does My Dog Like Coffee?
You may be scratching your head trying to figure out what the appeal of coffee is for your dog. Well, this all depends on their own personal taste preferences.
Have you ever sloshed black coffee on the floor and watched as your dog slurped it up? You would have noticed that they don’t like the taste. Well, this is because coffee is bitter. Of course, if your pooch is used to eating bitter foods or even likes them, they will probably enjoy the taste of coffee as well.
What they are probably going to be interested in is sweetened coffee, particularly if it is topped off with milk. This makes the coffee far more palatable to your dog, especially if they already have a tendency to steal sweet food or drinks.
How to Stop Your Dog From Drinking Coffee
When it comes to coffee and dogs, the best treatment is prevention. Due to this, it is important to work on ensuring that your dog never comes into contact with caffeine.
If your pooch is young enough, training them not to eat any kind of human food or rummaging in the garbage is a good first step. You should also train them to stay off counters or anywhere else that coffee or caffeinated food or beverages may be placed.
Even if your dog is a little older, there is still a chance that they may pick up some new tricks. You can check out training videos, manuals, or even enroll your pup in a few classes.
Of course, there are some pooches that are canine hoovers and will eat or drink anything they can get their paws on. With dogs like this, you have to be extra careful.
The first thing you should do is to make sure that your coffee grounds, coffee, and any other caffeinated items are well out of the reach of your pup. This means that you shouldn’t leave your coffee cup lying around, even if it is nearly empty.
Instead, make a habit of carrying the mug with you and keeping an eye on it to make sure that your dog can’t get it to it. The moment you are done, rinse the cup to avoid any accidents. You should do the same if you are drinking hot chocolate or a similarly caffeinated beverage.
Always store chocolate in the higher levels of your pantry cupboard. Never leave it lying around on the kitchen counter, table, or anywhere else that your dog can get to it. Once you are done eating the chocolate, check for any crumbs and wash the dish you may have been using.
When it comes to discarding counters that contained anything caffeinated, rinse them out thoroughly. This is true of even bags. This way, you are getting rid of any of the caffeine sources. If your dog has a tendency to get into the garbage, consider getting one with a more secure lid. Or, wrap up the coffee grounds in another bag to make it harder to get to.
Coffee can have a frightening effect on your furry companion. As a result, it is important that you keep them away from anything that contains caffeine. Luckily, you are now more informed about caffeine toxicity in dogs as well as how to react to and even prevent it.