You make a beeline for your coffee first thing in the morning because it’s hot, wet, and teeming with caffeine. Whether you like it strong and black or sweet with thick cream and sugar, it’s always delicious and a necessity for a successful start to your day. Do you remember that scene in Lady and the Tramp where Lady is given a small saucer of coffee in the morning? While it was a charming scene, that coffee was incredibly bad for that sweet pup.
Is Coffee Safe for Your Dog?
Coffee is not safe for your dog in any form. Coffee is loaded with caffeine (which is why you like it, right?), and large amounts of caffeine lead to seizures in dogs. Caffeine is a stimulant, but it can actually depress a dog’s nervous system, leading to breathing difficulties on top of the neurological side effects.
How much coffee it takes to become toxic largely depends on how big your dog is. A large dog who drinks a small amount of coffee may become hyper, but even a small amount could be fatal for tinier dogs. If you need a guide to specific amounts/limits, most experts agree that caffeine is fatal at 150 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of body weight. One cup of coffee contains at least 100 milligrams of caffeine.
Signs of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs
Symptoms of caffeine poisoning can be mild to severe. A lot dogs will initially present with vomiting and diarrhea. If the dog has had enough caffeine, they will experience difficulty breathing, muscle tremors, increased heart rate, and nervousness. If the poisoning progresses, your dog will start to experience seizures and eventually death.
It Isn’t Just Coffee That’s Dangerous for Dogs
While the liquid form can be deadly, it isn’t just the drink that can harm your dog. Some dogs find coffee grounds quite tasty, especially dogs who are prone to digging in the trash. If your dog falls into this category and your family drinks a lot of coffee, make sure you throw the grounds away where your dog can’t access them. The grounds can actually be more dangerous than the coffee because the grounds are more concentrated in caffeine.
Espresso beans are a tasty treat for you, but they are incredibly dangerous to dogs. If you like to snack on them, keep them far away from where your dog can get them, especially if they’re covered in chocolate. Even a small amount can have extremely dangerous consequences. Anything that is coffee flavored contains some amount of caffeine, so make sure your coffee-flavored treats aren’t accessible to your dog.
Remember that caffeine is present in a variety of sources, not just coffee. Tea and tea bags can be dangerous, too, as are sodas, diet pills, and migraine medications.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Gets Coffee?
If you know your dog has ingested coffee, you should call your vet immediately. Don’t wait to see if they experience any symptoms before you seek medical attention; by then, it could be too late. The best way to ensure your dog pulls through a bout of caffeine poisoning is to get them veterinary care immediately. If it’s been less than two hours since they’ve ingested it, your vet can safely induce vomiting. They will probably administer activated charcoal to soak up any remnants in the stomach and intestines, too. Because caffeine elevates the blood pressure, they might give medication to lower the blood pressure or anti-seizure meds to prevent any seizures. Your dog will then require IV fluids and sedation until their symptoms have subsided.
Dogs’ bodies aren’t able to process certain foods like we can. While some things are harmless to us, the same can’t be said for dogs, and coffee is one of those things. Save your morning pick-me-up for yourself and use caution when you’re storing or throwing away food items that contain caffeine.