If you are a coffee lover and have a dog, it is natural to wonder if your pooch can share any of your favorite beverage. Coffee can seem like a harmless drink, and it is, for a human, but for your dog, coffee is actually toxic.
Therefore, you want to refrain from giving your four-legged friend any coffee to lick or drink. Let us take a look at some of the reasons why coffee is toxic to dogs, how it can harm them, and what to do if your dog accidentally gets into your morning cup of joe.
Sings of a Dog Who Has Caffeine/Coffee Poisoning
Dogs cannot ingest coffee because coffee has high levels of caffeine, and caffeine is toxic to dogs. You should avoid giving your dog coffee at all times, however, sometimes life happens and your dog may get into your morning cup of coffee sitting on the table after you walk away for a few minutes.
The key to making sure your dog will be ok is to identify as quickly as possible they ingested coffee. You will want to keep an eye out for the typical signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs. Caffeine is lethal to dogs but only at certain levels. Caffeine in a concentration of 150 milligrams per kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, is lethal to dogs or can make them very sick if they do not get medical attention in time.
Some signs of caffeine poisoning you will want to look out for are vomiting, diarrhea, an abnormally elevated heart rate, and tremors. These symptoms can coincide with many other illness and ailments so it will be imperative to identify beforehand whether or not your dog got into any coffee - brewed or whole/ground beans. If your dog ingested a particularly high concentration of coffee they could also experience difficulty breathing and seizures.
Keep in mind that even if your dog licks up your 8-ounce cup of coffee, it will still not be enough caffeine to pose any significant harm to their bodies and it won't be a lethal amount. The real concern comes in when your dog gets into an entire bag of whole or ground coffee. This could easily allow them to reach the lethal dosage level depending on how much coffee the bag held and how much they eat.
History of Coffee and Dogs
Surprisingly, no one truly knows the exact origin of coffee and where it exactly came from. For such an imperative part of most people's days, we shockingly know little about it. However, what we do know is that coffee has been part of the human diet for centuries. It seems as though it may have gotten its start in the forests of Ethiopia.
Cultivation and trade of coffee beans spread to the Arabian Peninsula and by the 15th century, it had spread to other regions as well. Coffee was enjoyed in special coffee houses and not in one's personal home. People would gather in these locations and not just drink coffee but would engage in conversation, listen to music, watch performers, and play chess. Coffee was a time for social interaction and having a good time, much like we see to this day. Coffee shops are often a place where people go to work, gather with friends, having conversations, and meet new people. Not much has changed from centuries ago!
We don't know much if any, history about whether or not dogs were fed coffee or coffee beans, but we can assume they most likely did not have any. Caffeine poisoning in dogs is not something uncommon and is seen in the pet ER many times. For example, an Australian Shepard was brought to work with his owner one day and was left in a waiting room for a few minutes. The dog found a 50-pound bag of coffee beans and ripped open the bag and ingested a large portion of the beans. The dog was rushed to the pet ER where he was given a dose of apomorphine to induce vomiting and expelling any beans that were undigested. Activated charcoal was also given to absorb the liquid. The vets claimed the dog's energy level was out of control and his heart rate was 180-200 beat per minute. Thankfully, the shepherd was okay in the end, however, it is a powerful lesson that highlights the damage and effects too much caffeine can have on your dogs.
Science Behind Why Coffee is Bad For Dogs
Coffee is bad for dogs because it contains caffeine, a toxic substance for our furry friends. If your dog consumes caffeine, it interacts with certain body functions and can lead to a host of undesirable and sometimes deadly symptoms. Caffeine is a stimulant, so if your dogs ingest any caffeine, they can experience hyperactivity and have an increase in their heart rate. They can become jittery and restless and they may act like they cannot seem to get comfortable.
Caffeine can also raise your dog's blood pressure and have the ability to cause cardiac arrhythmias. Furthermore, if your dog has enough caffeine in their system, they can also lose some control over their muscles and experience tremors and seizures, although this will take a very high level of caffeine to cause such symptoms.
How to Avoid Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs
The best and simplest way to avoid caffeine poisoning in dogs is to make sure they never have enough access to caffeine and coffee for poisoning to occur. As we discussed above, it will take nearly 2 pounds to give your dog caffeine poisoning from coffee. Therefore, you can keep your bag of coffee in cabinets or your pantry if it is high up and out of reach for your dog. Make sure not to leave any bags of coffee on your kitchen counter in reach for your pooch to steal.
Although a smaller cup of coffee will not lead to caffeine poisoning it is still a good idea to never share coffee with your dog or to leave a cup of coffee somewhere they can easily reach. You do not want your dog to develop a liking for coffee because it will give them more reason to search out your coffee stash and get into the very harmful beans.
Written by a Samoyed lover Kayla Costanzo
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 03/02/2018, edited: 04/06/2020