If you’re like us, two of your favorite things in this world are coffee and your dog, and many pet owners are inclined to share their enjoyment of caffeine with their pooch. Before you do let your furry friend indulge in some of your coffee, however, you may be wondering, can dogs safely drink coffee?
The short answer is no, coffee isn’t safe for dogs! We’ll go over everything you need to know below about the dangers of caffeine in your dog’s diet and when to seek veterinary help if you caught your dog taking a sip of your cup of joe.
Is Caffeine Bad for Dogs?
As you may have guessed, caffeine is the major issue when it comes to giving your dog coffee. According to Pet Poison Helpline, caffeine can be toxic to dogs in large enough quantities. Dogs are much more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than humans, so while we can safely and happily drink several cups a day without experiencing issues, dogs can only safely consume very small quantities.
How Much Coffee is Too Much for My Dog?
The exact answer to this question depends mainly on your dog’s size and the strength of your coffee. Coffee contains an average of around 100 mg of caffeine per cup, and the concentration can be significantly higher based on the brewing method and the coffee used.
According to Provet Pet Healthcare, dogs are susceptible to caffeine poisoning and its severe complications if they consume around or more than 75 mg of caffeine per pound of body weight. As you can imagine, smaller dogs will be far more sensitive to caffeine poisoning with much smaller amounts of coffee.
Is a Little Coffee Okay?
The amount of coffee that can cause caffeine poisoning in your four-legged friend may seem high to you, as many dogs would need to drink several cups of coffee to experience toxic effects.
However, experts at VCA Animal Hospital maintain that symptoms can start with much smaller amounts of caffeine: as low as 9 mg per pound of body weight. They also note that even moderate caffeine consumption can cause organ damage, and small amounts can elevate your dog’s heart rate enough to be dangerous and even fatal.
While an entire cup of coffee for your dog is excessive and can be highly toxic, even small amounts of caffeine can produce harmful effects in your pooch. As such, coffee should be avoided entirely in your dog’s diet, especially since there are no health benefits offered to your dog for drinking it.
What Do I Do If My Dog Drank Coffee?
If you know your dog lapped up a tiny bit of coffee from your mug or a spill in your house, you shouldn’t worry. If you know or believe your dog drank a significant amount of coffee, you should immediately consult your vet. Although there is no cure for caffeine poisoning, they can implement a few strategies that can mitigate the effects.
According to Pet Poison Helpline, signs of caffeine poisoning in your pooch can include vomiting, jitters, an abnormal abundance of energy, and elevated heart rate or blood pressure. If you monitor your dog after even limited coffee consumption and notice any of these symptoms, you need to take your dog to the vet. There they can have their stomach pumped or be given medicine to reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine.
If you don’t have a dedicated veterinarian or yours isn’t available for an emergency visit, you can take your dog to an emergency vet or call a pet poison control hotline for some guidance.
Coffee is often the perfect start to our morning, so you may be tempted to share the joy of drinking it with your dog. However, our canine friends are far more sensitive to the effects of caffeine and can experience caffeine poisoning with much smaller quantities of coffee. Even low amounts of coffee can create health risks, so it should be avoided entirely.
If your dog does drink a little bit of coffee, watch for symptoms like vomiting, elevated heart rate, and heightened energy levels. If you notice these signs or know your dog consumed a substantial amount of coffee, take them to the vet for treatment as soon as possible.
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