Most of us love a good cup of coffee in the morning. It tastes great, and gives us that added energy we need to get up and moving. However, we all know that coffee is acidic and contains caffeine, so you might be wondering whether coffee is bad for dogs. The answer is a definitive yes! Dogs should not have coffee, ever! Coffee and caffeine, a chemical that is highly toxic to many pets, are both bad for dogs. Some owners may try to argue that you can give your dog decaffeinated coffee, but really, why would you want to? Canines get all the hydration they need from drinking water. And as general advice, it’s always best to err on the side of caution when dealing with matters that may affect your dog’s health, so never let your dog drink coffee!
Dogs and Coffee – Risk of Caffeine Poisoning
Coffee is a major source of caffeine, which can be very harmful and poisonous to dogs. Factors such as your dog’s body weight and any preexisting health conditions affect how much coffee can be dangerous for them. In addition, this depends on whether they ate any coffee grounds, the type of coffee beans that were used (many of which contain higher concentrations of caffeine), and the method in which the coffee was brewed. For example, one cup of percolated coffee can contain 100mg of caffeine.
Typically, 150mg of caffeine per 2.2 pounds of body weight is considered a lethal dose for dogs. Using this equation, a single cup of coffee may not be fatal for larger dogs, but it can be devastating for small breeds.
Signs of Caffeine Poisoning
If your dog has ingested caffeine, it can take about one to two hours for symptoms of caffeine poisoning to appear. The severity of the symptoms depends primarily on the amount of coffee that your dog has ingested. These symptoms will range from mild to extremely severe, the latter of which requires immediate veterinary care.
Some of the most common effects of caffeine poisoning include:
- Excessive thirst
- Heavy breathing or panting
- Excessive urination
- Increase in body temperature
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
Treating Caffeine Toxicity in Dogs
Unfortunately, there isn’t an antidote available for dogs with caffeine poisoning. However, your dog can undergo treatment from a trained professional. Your veterinarian can induce vomiting if your dog has ingested a large amount of coffee (a few licks from your cup once in a while isn’t going to hurt her).
If your dog is suffering from a serious case of caffeine toxicity, your veterinarian may use medication to help lower her blood pressure and/or administer anti-seizure medications. Sedation may be necessary, as well as medical observation until your dog stops experience any symptoms of caffeine poisoning.
No, Dogs Can Not Drink Coffee
Generally, it’s unlikely that a small amount of coffee will hurt your dog. However, you should contact your veterinarian immediately if you think that your dog may have drank large amounts of coffee.
Remember, it’s not just coffee that contains caffeine. You should also be careful with soda, energy drinks, chocolate (both chocolate and caffeine are toxic to dogs), and any products that have coffee flavorings, including ice cream.