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
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.
- Lip licking
- Pupils dilated
- Vomiting and Diarrhea
- Heavy Breathing and Difficulty Breathing
History of Coffee and Dogs
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
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
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.
How To React if Your Dog Ingests Coffee
Call your vet if they ingested a substantial amount.
Determine how much they consumed.
Safety Tips for Having Coffee Around Dogs
Never leave coffee or full mugs near your dog.
Make sure all coffee is out of reach.