Wake up and smell the coffee. If you’re a coffee lover, this might be your favorite part of the day. You make your cup of joe, start reading the newspaper, and carefully place your mug on your coffee table. You hear slurping sounds and look up from your paper. Scruffy has his paws on the table and is drinking from your mug! You’ll happily share scraps of meat, treats, and let him help you pick up food that’s fallen as you’re cooking, but your coffee? You did not agree to this. You grab your mug immediately out of sheer possession, clean out your mug, and pour a new cup. You know why you love your morning coffee, but what makes your dog dive into your cup? And what action do you need to take when he tries to savor your morning java?
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs like tasting all sorts of things and some may even eat some stuff that you consider weird. The same goes for your coffee. Your pup might want to try this aromatic warm beverage and he’ll stick his nose right into your cup if you don’t watch him carefully. Coffee is toxic to dogs, so you need to monitor your cup of joe. Not just because you savor your favorite morning beverage, but because it can make your best friend very sick. You’ll need to monitor him for symptoms of poisoning for a while after he’s stolen a sip.
You might be a coffee connoisseur who has perfected their Starbucks order and knows exactly what it should taste like. However, your dog’s palette is not nearly as refined. Humans have approximately 9,000 taste buds and dogs only have 1,700 or so. While we can taste the subtle nuances between different blends of coffee, a dog can just taste coffee. For the most part, a dog’s taste include sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. Humans can smell foods cooking and know if they like the smells or not, but rely primarily on taste to determine if they’ll eat it. However, it’s the opposite for dogs. Because their taste buds are not refined, dogs rely more on the smell of foods to determine if they will try it.
Your dog is more likely to try new foods if he was given a variety of foods when he was young. If you gave him both wet and dry food, he was exposed to different textures, flavors, and smells, and will be receptive to taking a gulp of your coffee. Coffee is generally bitter, which is something your pup might like. Even if you sweeten it with sugar and cream, your dog might still take a sip because he tends to like sweets too.
Encouraging the Behavior
Drinking coffee is dangerous for dogs and it should never be encouraged. Coffee has caffeine and a compound called theobromine, which is toxic to a dog. If your dog only took a sip or two, he will probably just go on with his day and show no side effects whatsoever. However, if you have a small dog, like a Miniature Poodle, Shih Tzu, or Yorkshire Terrier, you may need to monitor him closely because the caffeine can affect him more than it would a large dog, like a Golden Lab or German Shepherd. Regardless of the size of your new your coffee friend, if you left your cup unattended for a long time and you notice a significant amount missing, you will certainly need to monitor your pup for problematic symptoms for at least the next couple of hours. Keep an eye out for vomiting, panting, seizures, diarrhea, frequent urination, hyperactivity, drooling, increased heart rate, and tremors. These symptoms can appear around one to two hours after drinking your java. If you notice them, take him to the vet immediately so he can be treated. If left untreated, your dog can get very sick and the toxicity can even be fatal in severe cases.
Other Solutions and Considerations
To keep your dog safe, don’t give him coffee. If your morning routine is to drink coffee and take a shower, make sure you put your coffee on the counter or somewhere high enough that he cannot reach it. If you’re done with it, make sure you dump it out and leave the mug in the sink. Don’t offer any coffee or other foods that contain caffeine to your dog. Also, keep an eye out for coffee grinds in the garbage, as your dog might go for those too, which will give him caffeine poisoning as well. And never offer him a chocolate covered espresso bean. This combo is two of the things he should never, ever have. Save your coffee and caffeine snacks for yourself.
You can order a Pugkin Spice Latte for yourself and get your much-needed boost of energy. Instead of sharing your coffee beverage, give your dog a bone or belly rub as a treat. It might be hard to not give in to Scruffy’s adorable eyes and begging, but he will thank you a latte if you do not give him coffee.
By a Shiba Inu lover Patty Oelze
Published: 02/07/2018, edited: 01/30/2020