Did you just watch a video on YouTube showing a dog drinking coffee? Or maybe you came across an Instagram photo of a dog sneaking sips of their parent’s coffee? There are so many videos and photos out on the Internet showing how much dogs love coffee!
Most of us think that it’s cute but not all of us are aware of the coffee’s potential danger to our buddies. When you are tempted to share your favorite Frappuccino with your pet, read this first so you’ll be conscious of the effects of coffee on your pup.
Is Coffee Bad for Dogs?
Yes, it is considered toxic to our furry little friends. You should not share your daily cup of Joe with your dog, because you are putting him at the risk of caffeine poisoning. Some people think it is okay to share their coffee with their fur babies. But once your dog starts to like it, he might be expecting you to give him some more in the future.
After all, dogs don’t really need coffee! Observe how he wakes up in the morning and you will see that he is already wiggling his tail. Unlike us, our furry little friends don’t need a daily dose of coffee to wake up and seize the day.
As with humans, caffeine can affect a dog’s heart and nervous system. Their heart could beat at an abnormally fast rate. But unlike us, our pets cannot tolerate caffeine very well. They have a small tolerance for coffee as well as other foods that contain caffeine, like dark chocolate and black tea.
Don’t be confused by dog-friendly coffee shops. Their place is only welcoming to dogs, which means they have outdoor sittings where your pet can stay as you dine and sip your cup of Joe. That does not mean their coffee will be suitable for your fur baby too.
Aside from beverages, coffee, and pills, also be aware that there are other possible sources of caffeine. Your energy drink is loaded with caffeine, so never ever give it to your dog. Soda is a big no-no too, due to its high amounts of caffeine. A can of regular coda has around 29.4 milligrams of caffeine.
Caffeine Poisoning in Canines
Coffee and other caffeine-based products are deemed as moderately poisonous to dogs. However, it can be life-threatening when the dose is too high. The lethal dose of coffee is around 150 milligrams for every kilogram of body weight. A regular cup of coffee only has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, which means you should not panic too much when Fido accidentally takes a sip.
Can dogs die after ingesting coffee? It’s rare but yes, it is still possible. Most of the caffeine-related deaths in dogs happened after they ate coffee beans and tea bags. Even your diet pills contain caffeine so never let Fido get into them. The amount of caffeine in a single diet pill is already equivalent to 3 cups of coffee.
My Dog Drank Coffee: What Will I Do?
Out of curiosity, our pets often get into stuff they shouldn’t taste or shouldn’t touch. If you suspect he just ingested coffee, keep an eye for following symptoms first:
- Increased Heart Rate
- Elevated Body Temperature
- Abnormally fast heart rhythm
- Unintentional muscle movement
These symptoms usually surface after an hour or two since your dog ingested coffee. If all these symptoms are present, call the animal poison control center or a veterinarian. There is no special antidote for caffeine poisoning but the usual first aid is induced vomiting.
The problem with caffeine is that it is both water-soluble and fat-soluble. It has the tendency to travel from the blood stream all the way to the brain. Apparently, coffee does not just have an adverse effect on Fido’s body. It could also have an effect on the brain, which explains why dogs tend to be hyperactive after accidentally consuming coffee grounds.
Induced vomiting can be performed safely when the ingestion only took place an hour or a couple of hours before. It is done by administering a three-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. The recommended dosage is a teaspoon for every 10 lbs. of body weight.
If the ingestion happened more than five hours ago, your vet might advise giving your pet activated charcoal. It is administrated orally and works by mopping up any toxin in your pet’s body. The typical dose for activated charcoal in canines is 5 grams for every 10 lbs. of weight. Do note that not all activated charcoal is the same. Better contact your vet first to be sure that you are administering the right dosage.
At the emergency room, a doctor would likely inject apomorphine to force the dog to vomit and eliminate the toxin from his body. In humans, the purpose of apomorphine is to alleviate pain but in dogs, it is primarily used to induce vomiting. A beta-blocker is usually prescribed to treat the abnormal heart rate.
Depending on the amount your dog has ingested, there is a high chance that he will have loose stools. Caffeine has a mild diuretic effect that is why coffee makes us poop and our pets are not an exception. It is a natural laxative so expect your pup to suffer from diarrhea after ingesting it.
Your veterinarian might recommend you to administer an anti-seizure medication or a pill formulated for reducing blood pressure in dogs. Be cautious about giving any medication to your pet. You cannot just give any medication to your pet without your vet’s consent. Follow the instructions of your vet to prevent any problem associated with administering these medications.
Is There A Dog-Friendly Coffee?
You might have stumbled upon“Rooffee.” This beverage for dogs is not really made of coffee but of dandelion roots, burdock roots, chicory roots, hawthorn seed, and carrot seed. These roots and seeds are safe for dogs and also have many health benefits.
The roots of dandelion are somewhat like coffee in terms of the diuretic effect. If there is an increase in the amount of acid in your pet’s body, dandelion can help. It is safe for dogs but should be used with caution because it can cause a dog’s blood sugar level to drop.
The same thing applies to other roots often used in making alternatives for coffee. Chicory and burdock are often used in holistic treatments of various types of diseases. While they may be effective and safe, you have to be knowledgeable in the proper usage of them for your pet.
“Rooffee”is a Kickstarter project of Shoo, which is started by AgotaJakutyte. The project has not received sufficient funding so it’s not yet commercially available. Besides, they are still thinking of a new name since they received tons of suggestions to change it for a better one.
Dogs seem to enjoy sipping coffee. A small sip would not cause poisoning but still don’t let your pet do it every now and then. It could become a habit that can eventually turn into an obsession, and that’s when the problem starts.
Dispose of coffee grounds and beans properly. Some pets have a bad habit of raiding the trash and that is the reason why many dogs get into coffee. Also, don’t leave your mug of coffee with the dog around. Dogs actually find the smell of coffee quite inviting! But be strict in resisting the urge to share it with him.