Can dogs drink coffee like we humans usually do? We’ve talked about the effects chocolate ingestion has on dogs, but would caffeine be bad for them?
The short answer is yes — coffee is not advisable for our canine friends. Though ingesting it in small amounts won’t immediately result in death, it can still make them ill.
WHY IS CAFFEINE BAD FOR DOGS?
Caffeine is a stimulant, that’s why it helps us stay awake for longer periods. The average human body can tolerate no more than 400 mg of caffeine in a single day. However, dogs (or any pet for that matter) can’t absorb caffeine because of their smaller size – a mere 14 mg of caffeine per pound of their body weight is enough for symptoms of toxicity to occur. Aside from coffee, caffeine is also in tea, energy drinks, diet pills, and soda. When measured in 8-ounce servings, brewed coffee contains around 95-165 mg of caffeine, tea has approximately 25-48 mg, soda has 24-46 mg, and an energy drink contains 27-164 mg.
But what about the viral Starbucks Puppuccino?
If you are curious and want to purchase a Starbucks Puppuccino for your dog, there is absolutely no need to worry about your dog being poisoned from it. This treat is made only with whipped cream sans the coffee (if your dog is lactose intolerant, it could be a different story, though).
If your dog accidentally licks a drop of coffee or any caffeinated beverage, it is likely not enough to affect him in any way. But if they ingest whole coffee beans or used tea bags, that’s when it can become potentially dangerous for them. It can take approximately 30 minutes for the stimulant to be absorbed in their bloodstream and reach high toxicity levels.
SYMPTOMS OF CAFFEINE POISONING IN DOGS
Upon ingesting significant amounts of caffeine, your dog’s heart rate would immediately shoot up. This can cause rapid breathing and increased blood pressure. Other common symptoms include panting, hyperactivity, vomiting, hyperthermia or elevated body temperature, being jittery, and restlessness. Seizures and tremors are also imminent if medical attention is not sought immediately. Depending on the dose of caffeine ingested, your dog may also develop cardiac arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat which could quickly lead to death.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR DOG INGESTS COFFEE
The immediate effects of caffeine toxicity vary depending on the size of your dog. Smaller breeds like Shih Tzus or French bulldogs are more quickly affected compared to larger dogs like German shepherds and Siberian huskies.
Coffee beans and grounds as well as used tea bags contain extremely high concentrations of caffeine that are fatal to dogs, so these must be kept out of their paws’ reach at all times.
Contact your veterinarian immediately and go to the nearest clinic for the proper course of action and treatment. The doctor may induce vomiting and administer IV fluids to flush out the remaining caffeine from your dog’s system. Medications may also be given to help their heart rate and blood pressure return to normal levels, and prevent further seizures from happening. You may be asked to wait and closely monitor your dog for the next 24-48 hours. This is the time frame when caffeine is expected to be eliminated completely from their body.
IT’S A NO FOR A CUPPA JOE
Can dogs drink coffee? Absolutely not! They’re not like us humans who could turn to coffee for jumpstarting our mornings. Our pets could pay the cost with their lives, so it’s best to keep them away from it for their own sake.