Can dogs drink coffee?
Dogs and coffee are two of the things that make a person’s day. One wakes you up in the morning and one makes your day a little more bearable. If you are both a dog person and coffee aficionado, there might be a time when this thought comes to your mind: “What if I share my most favorite drink in the world with my pet dog?” How does man’s best friend react to the brown liquid drink that we all know and love?
The short answer is: you shouldn’t. A cup of coffee will not have the same effects for your dog as it is for you. In fact, the results will be the opposite. Research has shown that coffee is actually toxic to dogs, and most other domesticated household pets. A single cup of coffee is not fatal to an average sized pooch. However, it does come with serious side effects if ingested by your dog.
What are the effects of coffee on dogs?
Caffeine, the most preeminent compound found in coffee, are the reason why coffee is so toxic to dogs. The same chemical in coffee that helps us humans stave away drowsiness in our systems can create problems for dogs. Some of these include vomiting, diarrhea, faster than normal heartbeats, and seizures in our furry companions. These serious conditions might lead to debilitation or even death if not quickly acted upon quickly.
The horrific symptoms of caffeine poisoning are because coffee directly works on the nervous system. Specifically it affects the brain and the nervous tissue. This makes the dogs’ digestive, circulatory and muscular systems go into haywire, thus the retching and the spasmic movements.
What is the fatal dosage for dogs then? According to veterinarians, any source of caffeine that reaches 150 milligrams per serving is fatal to dogs. An average cup of joe rarely reaches above 100 mg per serving (most brewed coffee have about an average of 60-80 mg per cup). This means a single cup will not be fatal for your dog. However, it will result in the onset of symptoms of caffeine poisoning as stated above.
One way for dogs to get large amounts of caffeine in their systems are through coffee beans, either fresh, roasted or ground. Because of the concentrated amounts of caffeine in a bean, this makes coffee beans very dangerous for your favorite household pet. This is usually not an issue for your average coffee-drinking homeowner. However, some coffee lovers who roast their own beans at home, or prefer to buy in large amounts are particularly vulnerable to this predicament.
What should you do if you think your dog ingested some coffee?
One day, you suddenly come home to see your dog in your living room lying down, either fidgeting or shaking like he or she is having a seizure. You touched your dog and it’s unresponsive, with shallow panting breaths and a very fast but weak pulse. There are also telltale signs that your dog has gone through your coffee, like a broken coffee jar or coffee ground on the floor. Your dog is experiencing the initial symptoms of caffeine poisoning and here are some of the things that you should do.
As with some forms of poisoning, inducing vomiting should be your first plan of action. If you have hydrogen peroxide handy, have your dog drink 1 teaspoon for every 10 pounds of its body weight (approximately equivalent to 4.5 kilograms). This is the preferred method of inducing vomit from dogs. If hydrogen peroxide is unavailable, do not use salt or ipecac syrup as alternative.
If your dog will not vomit, try feeding him small amounts of dog food. This will help his or her digestive system purge its contents more easily. Try to have them walk as well, preferably somewhere where you can clean up more conveniently. Bathrooms or your washing area would be ideal for this scenario.
The first onset of the symptoms of caffeine poisoning appears at around 2 hours after your dog has first ingested coffee. Therefore, you should try to induce vomiting before that 2-hour limit. The general rule is you want to be as early as possible as to avoid having more caffeine circulate in their system.
Coffee: It simply isn’t for pets
Don’t ever be tempted to share coffee to your best animal pal, no matter how tempting it sounds. It is plainly bad for your dog. You don’t want to risk their life just because you want them to try out that delectable cup of goodness. You should never try to tempt your dog into drinking coffee nor eating any bean.
If your dog has ingested large amounts, then you should go to the vet as quickly as possible. A veterinarian would probably have a better time inducing vomiting or make use of other medical methods to do it. They would also prescribe anti-seizure medication for your dog, if they appear to exhibit severe seizure attacks even after vomiting. Finally, they would also tell you to get blood pressure reducing medication to level out your dog’s heart rate.
This should not deter you from trying out home roasting or brewing your own coffee or espressos. You could still enjoy your daily dose of freshly roasted and brewed masterpiece. Nevertheless, if you do have dogs, or any freely roaming pet for that matter, it just means you have to be extra careful. Making smarter decisions for storage and placing your coffee and other coffee making tools should always be a priority. Always keep your coffee out of reach to anyone you don’t want drinking them. With that being said, feel free to indulge in a sumptuous cup of your favorite flavor or blend. Just let your dog enjoy other beverages safe for their own consumption.