Many of us simply cannot start the day without a good cup of coffee, but did you know that caffeine has the same energizing effect on dogs? Unfortunately, this isn’t as good as you may think. In fact, caffeine can be very toxic to dogs.
That’s why if your dog ate coffee grounds, beans, or other foods high in caffeine, they might feel very sick and require medical assistance as soon as possible.
What should you do if your dog eats coffee grounds?
If you catch your dog eating coffee beans or coffee grounds, first of all, remove all remaining coffee from the area and make an estimate of how many pounds of coffee your dog may have eaten.
Contact your veterinarian immediately to know how to proceed. If your veterinarian isn’t available, you can call the ASPCA Poison Control Hotline (888) 426-4435 or the National Pet Poison Helpline (800) 213-6680.
You will be asked a few questions to assess the situation, such as:
- What kind of caffeine-related product did your dog consume?
- What size/breed/age is your dog?
- How much did your dog eat?
- How long ago did they eat it?
- Are they showing any abnormal symptoms/behaviors?
- Is there anything relevant to your dog’s medical history?
However, it is not always easy to know how much or when your dog has eaten the coffee grounds. Dogs will start showing symptoms of caffeine poisoning starting from 14mg of caffeine per pound of body weight.
Common signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs include:
- Increased heart rate
- Heavy breathing/panting
These symptoms usually appear within 2 hours from ingestion and are to be considered a medical emergency. You should bring your dog to the nearest animal clinic available.
How to induce vomiting in your dog.
If your dog ate coffee beans or grounds not long ago, you can still intervene before they start digesting them.
The first thing your veterinarian will want to do is to induce vomiting in your dog. Given that this is a procedure that can only be executed within 2 hours from the ingestion, if you can’t reach the clinic they might guide you through it from home.
Please note that it is not recommended to induce vomiting in your dog at home, because it is a very delicate procedure. When possible, it is always better to have a professional handle it.
In order to induce vomiting in your dog, you will need to administer 2 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 10lbs of body weight.
Dogs aren’t fond of this procedure, but you can make it sweeter by mixing the hydrogen peroxide with milk or ice cream in a ratio of 50:50.
Once you have the mixture ready, fill a shot glass with it and proceed with the following steps:
– Kneel on the floor and hold your dog between your knees tightly enough not to make them escape;
– Make them face the opposite direction from you and lift their muzzle to the ceiling;
– Open their mouth and pour the shot glass of hydrogen peroxide down their throat as quickly as possible.
In order for the hydrogen peroxide to be more effective, your dog should move around a lot, so walk them outside or make them run around in the yard.
If your dog hasn’t vomited after ten minutes, try the procedure once again. If it still doesn’t work, do not administer more hydrogen peroxide and call your veterinarian.
What happens if a dog eats coffee grounds?
Caffeine can affect different areas of the body and provoke all kinds of problems, from gastrointestinal, to cardiovascular and even neurologic effects.
This compound has the same effect on humans and dogs, but given the reduced size of a dog’s body, it takes very little caffeine for dogs to become intoxicated and their small bodies often can’t handle the side-effects.
Most dogs experience vomiting, abnormal heart rate, and restlessness, but severe caffeine intoxication can provoke seizures and collapse, which usually bear unpredictable consequences on the neurological system even after the dog makes a full recovery.
A case of mild caffeine intoxication could be handled from home if your veterinarian so suggests, but it is always recommended to have your dog checked because caffeine, just like chocolate, can have very nasty and sometimes lethal effects and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Veterinary procedures for dogs’ caffeine intoxication
When you bring your dog to the vet, the first thing that is usually done is to try and make your dog vomit the coffee grounds. However, this is only possible if it’s been less than 2 hours from ingestion.
If you’re not sure whether your dog ate coffee grounds or something else, in order to identify the problem the veterinarian will carry out blood work and other analysis until they reach a definitive diagnosis.
When inducing vomiting is not possible, another way to clean the stomach from the coffee grounds is through gastrointestinal decontamination, which is a procedure to flush out the contents of the stomach and intestines.
After most of the content is removed from the stomach, your dog will be given activated carbon, which will absorb the remaining toxins in the intestines.
Some dogs may continue to experience signs of hyperactivity and abnormal heart rate even after most of the caffeine has been drained from the body. In that case, the veterinarian may consider the administration of other medications, like beta-blockers.
Depending on the situation, your dog may be also given IV fluids for 12-24 hours. During the whole treatment, your dog is usually hospitalized and monitored.
Caffeine poisoning could end up costing between 250$ and 3000$ in medical expenses. It is certainly cheaper to simply make sure your dog has no access to your food.
Are coffee grounds bad for dogs?
Coffee grounds and all other caffeine-heavy products are bad for your dog. Whether your dog ate a coffee bean or a snack that contains a small amount of caffeine, the effect on the body is the same.
Caffeine is a compound that comes from coffee and tea plants. The kind of coffee we usually have at home is often differentiated between coffee grinds (coffee beans freshly ground) and coffee grounds (used coffee grinds).
If your dog ate used coffee grounds, the bright side is that brewing extracts most of the caffeine (it’s still not safe for dogs to eat, though). If your dog ate coffee grinds, they ingested the full amount of caffeine contained in the beans.
Although we mostly associate it with coffee, there are actually many other foods, drinks, and even medications that contain caffeine, because it stimulates the central nervous system and the cardiovascular system.
Some of these products include:
- Diet pills
- Energy drinks
- Protein bars
- Chocolate ice cream
- Chocolate/cocoa yogurt
- Hot chocolate
- Used tea bags
A cousin of caffeine is theobromine, which is commonly found in chocolate. As many pet parents know, chocolate is absolutely toxic to dogs, so it’s easy to understand how caffeine can be just as dangerous for our pets.
Is caffeine bad for dogs?
Caffeine can be toxic to your dog. It is very similar to theobromine, which is found in chocolate that is notoriously lethal for dogs.
The effects of caffeine on dogs are very similar to those we humans have, except that they are way amplified on a dog’s small body and therefore way more dangerous.
Caffeine will make your dog feel energized, which could translate into restlessness and hyperactivity. It will also increase their heart rate to dangerous levels and could trigger unpredictable reactions in their neurological system, which could make them collapse.
There are no home-remedies for caffeine intoxication and if your dog has ingested a fair amount of caffeine, it must be considered a medical emergency that requires immediate assistance.
Many dogs who suffer from caffeine intoxication end up being hospitalized. There are several treatments available and dogs that are treated in time usually make a full recovery.
If you keep coffee beans at home, make sure to store them away from your dog. As a general rule, your dog should not have access to human food, not even the leftovers or whatever ends up in the trash bin.
Turning your house dog-proof will always be less expensive than veterinary bills, and certainly less painful than losing your friend.
Can dogs eat coffee beans?
Coffee beans, coffee grounds, energy drinks, tea, soda, and all products containing caffeine are very dangerous for your dog.
There is no difference between eating coffee beans and coffee grounds, except that coffee beans are usually very hard and if your dog ingests a big amount of them, they could be suffering from gastrointestinal blockage.
Symptoms of gastrointestinal blockage in dogs include:
- Abdominal pain
- Lack of appetite
- Lying in unusual positions
Another problem with coffee beans is that they usually come in packages. Big or small, if your dog goes through a whole package of coffee beans, they’re more likely to develop serious caffeine intoxication.
So, if your dog has ransacked through your package of coffee beans, it would be better to alert your veterinarian right away.
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