Can dogs drink coffee?
The answer seems pretty obvious (No!), but let’s break this down to understand what exactly caffeine does to their bodies and how you can help your dog avoid caffeine toxicity.
What is caffeine and how does it affect dogs?
Caffeine is a chemical that will speed up your dog’s heart rate. This can cause blood pressure to rise and affect cardiac function.
Humans can typically handle up to 400 mg of caffeine per day (the equivalent of about 4 cups of coffee) before it is considered dangerous. Dogs can handle far less! About half of that amount would cause symptoms like restlessness and agitation to appear.
This case study stated, “The lethal dose of caffeine in the dog varies from 110 to 200 mg/kg of body weight, and the median lethal dose (MLD50) for dogs is reported to be 140 mg/kg body weight.” For reference, one cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine and a caffeine pill contains 100-200 mg.
Warning signs of caffeine ingestion:
If you believe your dog has consumed caffeine, it’s best to get your dog to the vet immediately!
Signs of caffeine toxicity will appear within an hour. Because caffeine is a stimulant, the first sign is a change in behavior to be more hyperactive, jittery, and restless.
Other warning signs include:
- Elevated or abnormal heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Elevated body temperature
- Seizures or tremors
Keep these caffeinated foods out of reach:
- Coffee, coffee beans, coffee grounds
- Tea bags
- Caffeinated beverages, such as soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks (i.e. Red Bull, Monster Energy, Bang, etc.)
- Caffeine pills
While it seems unlikely that you would feed your dog the above items, it is possible that dogs can get their paws on them when a spill isn’t quickly attended to.
Be sure to keep caffeinated foods and beverages out of dogs’ reach and keep a close eye on your pup when they’re in the kitchen!
*Chocolate is especially dangerous! Chocolate contains theobromine, caffeine, and fat and sugar. If you suspect your dog has consumed chocolate, contact your veterinarian immediately!
How to treat dogs with caffeine toxicity*:
- The first step may be to induce vomiting and get the caffeinated food or beverage out of their system before further absorption.
- Another method would be to use IV fluid to flush the caffeine out of their system, while preventing dehydration.
- Dogs who have consumed caffeine may be given activated charcoal to draw out the toxins.
- This remedy can come in the form of liquid, powder, or pills.
- The activated charcoal absorbs toxins as it moves through their system so that the toxins exit the body, along with the charcoal, in their feces.
*The above treatments are safest in a clinical setting. Consult a vet before trying one of the options above!
If you bring your dog to a coffee shop, plan ahead!
While the answer to the question ‘can dogs drink coffee?’ is undoubtedly no, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring your dog along with you to the coffee shop. If you bring your dog to a coffee shop, pack some Yitto Paws treats and ask the barista for a cup of water.
As mentioned in our post on feeding dogs dairy, many coffee shops offer dog treats, such as whipped cream, which are technically safe for dogs.
However, these treats are typically filled with empty calories, fats, and sugar. Many of the “dog-friendly” menu items offered are not necessarily healthy for your pup and should only ever be given to your dog in moderation, on an occasional basis.