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Any dog owner can tell you how much our pets want to enjoy the human food we all like to eat. Sadly, some food can be dangerous for our dogs, making them extremely ill. Most of these foods happen to be common in most kitchens.
One of the most common is coffee, but can dogs drink coffee?
The caffeine content in coffee is dangerous for dogs, and in any amount, it is unsafe for them to consume. As pet owners, we all want to be protective and careful so that our dogs do not become sick by something preventable like caffeine ingestion.
If you’ve asked yourself, “Can dogs drink coffee?” or you’d like to learn more about dogs and caffeine and how to treat your dog if they have ingested it, keep reading.
Can I Give My Dog Coffee?
As most of us know, caffeine is a stimulant, affecting their nervous system as it does ours. Dogs, however, have a considerably low tolerance for caffeine compared to humans. This means that caffeine poisoning is likely to occur even if your dog has only ingested a small amount of coffee.
Your dog’s size is also a factor in how severely they might be affected. This does not mean that larger dogs will not be affected by caffeine intake, as even if they have a small amount, it can be toxic to their system.
Still, the dosage level can vary depending on a dog’s size. Smaller breeds only need to digest .1 ounce of coffee beans or 3 ounces of coffee to become seriously ill. Larger breeds can technically consume more; however, small amounts will still make them sick.
Large and small dogs should avoid coffee grounds at all costs, as they could have severe caffeine poisoning from ingesting them. This is important to take care of as serious caffeine poisoning can be deadly.
Signs and Symptoms of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs
The most common signs and symptoms of caffeine poisoning include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Loss of muscle control
- Difficulty breathing
These symptoms can start as early as 30 minutes to an hour of your dog’s caffeine ingestion, and, depending on severity, they can last from about 12 hours to several days.
Even if your dog appears to be more hyper than usual, which may be one of the first signs before the other symptoms set in, it could still be dangerous for their heart rate and blood pressure, both of which can elevate, possibly leading to arrhythmias in the heart.
How to Treat Dogs that Have Consumed Caffeine
You should take your dog to the vet and get treatment for them as soon as possible if you think they have ingested caffeine. Be it by drinking coffee, eating coffee grounds, or other types of caffeine in your home, bring them to the vet immediately.
The longer you wait to have your dog treated, the less likely it is that they will recover quickly. The vet will be able to check the severity of symptoms and provide treatment as needed.
This treatment for caffeine poisoning can include monitoring organ function, heart rate, and blood pressure monitoring, inducing vomiting, medication for seizures (if needed), and heart rhythm monitoring. IV fluid may also be necessary as a treatment.
If your vet’s office is not open or the vet themself is unavailable, you can still help your dog. Calling a poison control center as soon as you can will help, and you can bring your dog to the nearest emergency location.
Whether your dog needs to visit its regular vet or an emergency center, it is still important to follow up with your vet. At the follow-up appointment with your vet, they will check your dog’s condition to see if they are stable and that their health is no longer in danger.
Sources of Caffeine in Our Kitchens to Keep Away from Pets
Starting with coffee, what forms can it take? Well, coffee beans, grounds, and brewed coffee are all dangerous to dogs because of their dangerous caffeine level. Small dogs are especially affected and could lose their lives simply by consuming a moderate amount.
Make sure to be careful of where you store your coffee. The smell is appealing to pets, so whether you keep coffee on the counter or if you discard your used grounds in an easily accessible trash can, you will probably have to change how you store and dispose of your coffee.
You want to make sure that your dog cannot access your trash or take something that smells good to them off the counter.
There are also plenty of other caffeine sources in our kitchens that we should keep away from our dogs. People are most commonly aware of chocolate affecting dogs, but where else might there be a hidden danger in your cabinet?
Other caffeine sources you may have forgotten about include:
- Tea and tea bags
- Energy drinks
- Diet pills
- Caffeine pills
- Decaffeinated coffee and tea (yes, you read that right!)
So if you’re wondering, “can dogs drink decaf coffee?” the answer is still a big no.
While coffee is the biggest source of caffeine, you will still want to keep any other of these products you might have out of reach. Even your soda or energy drinks in the refrigerator should be kept in a place inaccessible to your dog.
Also, make sure that after you prepare any morning coffee, tea, or energy drink for yourself, that you throw away the coffee grounds, teabags, cans, and bottles where they absolutely cannot be found and consumed by your pets. Be careful to wash your cups as well, keeping them out of your dog’s reach just in case.
If you’re wondering what else is best to keep away from dogs, also look out for these kitchen items:
- Xylitol (a sweetener found in certain gum and candy)
- Dish detergent
- Oven cleaner
The bottom line for dog owners is that caffeine is extremely dangerous, and your dog should never ingest it. While you can share a few safe foods with your dog, you need to keep them away from caffeine in drinks or chocolate and other things that will negatively affect them, like grapes or onions. Can dogs drink coffee? The answer is never. Keep your dog safe and healthy while enjoying your morning brew.