It is not an exaggeration to say that some of us can’t function without coffee. It helps us wake up and keeps us concentrated and sharp during the day, and if you have a lazy puppy, you may be tempted to share some of the caffeine magic with your dog, but you shouldn’t.
In fact, caffeine is as toxic to dogs as chocolate, so if your dog drank coffee, depending on the amount ingested and the size of your dog, they could be in great danger and will require immediate medical assistance.
What should you do if your dog drinks coffee?
Whether it was intentional or just an accident, remove the coffee from your dog’s sight. Be it beans, grounds, or the common cup, coffee in all forms is toxic to dogs.
Assess the situation by checking:
- How much coffee your dog drank
- What kind of coffee they drank
- How long ago they drank it
- How much does your dog weight
- If they’re showing symptoms of pain or discomfort
Coffee is harmful all the same, but if it was mixed with milk or really watered down, there’s a chance your dog has ingested a smaller amount than what it seems.
Call your veterinarian or the Pet Poison Helpline (855) 764-7661 keeping in mind all the information you gathered and get advice on what to do next.
One or two laps of coffee shouldn’t harm your dog. Caffeine is lethal to dogs in a ratio of 70 mg per pound of body weight, but some dogs start showing symptoms already at 9-14 mg per pound of body weight.
If your puppy drank coffee, the situation is very serious because puppies are very small and it takes little caffeine to provoke symptoms and possibly put them into a life-threatening situation, so call your vet or bring them to the nearest 24-hour animal hospital.
How to induce vomiting in your dog.
If the situation is serious and there is no time to reach the veterinarian, they may suggest you try to induce vomiting in your dog at home.
This procedure is very delicate and may have some counter-effects, for example, your dog may end up aspirating the vomit with risks of suffocation, which is why it is not recommended to do it at home if you have never done it before and you should only do it if your vet tells you so.
The goal of this procedure is to get your dog to expel the coffee before it gets into the digestive system, therefore it’s only useful in a 2-hour window from the ingestion because after that the liquids have already passed from the stomach to the intestines.
If it’s been more than two hours since your dog drank coffee, head directly to the veterinarian because they will need to pump the coffee out of your dog in a different way.
You will need 2 teaspoons of 3% hydrogen peroxide per 10lbs of body weight. Make sure the hydrogen peroxide was sealed or anyway has not been opened for more than 2-3 months, otherwise it may have lost its effect.
Dogs aren’t fond of this procedure, so you can make it sweeter for them by mixing the hydrogen peroxide in a ratio of 50:50 with milk or ice cream. Pour the mix into a shot glass.
Kneel down on the floor with your dog between your knees, facing the opposite direction from you. We suggest you ask for help from someone else in order to keep your dog still when you open their mouth.
Point their muzzle at the ceiling, open their mouth and pour the content of the shot glass down their throat quickly.
Afterward, it is recommended to bring your dog out for a walk or let them play in the yard because moving around can help the hydrogen peroxide be more effective.
If your dog doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes, you can try again with another dose, but if your dog still doesn’t vomit after the second dose, do not try to induce vomiting again and call your veterinarian.
What happens if a dog drinks coffee?
Caffeine effects on dogs are similar to those we humans have, except very amplified.
Caffeine is a stimulant and as such, it will provoke a series of reactions in your dog, such as:
- Increased/irregular heart rate
- Labored breathing
- High blood pressure
- Obsessive pacing
- Excessive vocalizing
- Excessive urination
Severe cases of caffeine poisoning in dogs may also see symptoms such as:
Symptoms of caffeine poisoning might show up as early as 30 minutes after your dogs drink coffee and may last for 12 hours or more. In the meantime, your dog will get sicker and sicker if left without treatments.
At the vet, the first thing they will want to do is to remove the coffee from the body. If possible, they will induce vomiting in your dog and administer activated carbon to absorb the toxins before they enter the bloodstream.
Afterward, a therapy with IV fluids to flush out the remaining caffeine and reintegrate the liquids lost through vomiting and diarrhea may be necessary, since dehydration is another life-threatening condition in dogs.
If your dog reached the stage where they had seizures and muscle tremors, medication may be needed to treat these symptoms and also the abnormal heart rate and the increased blood pressure.
You can therefore expect to see your pet hospitalized for a few days.
If you caught your dog drinking coffee that had sugar in it, the situation is even more dangerous because an excess of sugars can cause pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is the inflammation of the pancreas, which is responsible for the enzymes that help during the digestive process.
If the pancreas becomes inflamed, these enzymes may start eating the organ itself and in severe cases of pancreatitis in dogs, this could compromise the functions of the organ, causing diseases like diabetes mellitus.
Symptoms of pancreatitis in dogs are very similar to those of gastrointestinal blockage and may be confused with those of caffeine poisoning, that’s why it’s important to have your dog examined to rule out this possibility.
How to prevent your dog from drinking coffee again.
If you’ve ever shared a coffee with your dog, now you know why that shouldn’t happen again. However, most of the time dogs do not need help to get into food they shouldn’t eat, which is why your house needs to be dog-proof.
Caffeine poisoning can be a costly hospital stay at best, and the loss of your pet at worst. Taking this into consideration, it is just easier to simply not allow your dog to drink coffee.
Given that coffee isn’t something that dogs usually look for, even though they may be attracted by the smell, it will be enough to be extra-careful not to leave your cup around when you’re drinking it.
As a general rule, do not leave food or drinks that your dog can’t eat where they can reach them, for example on the kitchen counter or the living room table.
If you have coffee grounds, beans, or products containing caffeine at home, avoid storing them in the ground floor cupboards, but instead store them in high places, in the garage, or anywhere your dog doesn’t have access to.
If you throw away any of these caffeine-loaded products, make sure your dog isn’t a trash surfer and that your trash bin isn’t accessible.
On the market, you can find many dog-proof trash cans that will make your life easier, whether your dog is a coffee drinker or a corn cob lover.
Can dogs drink coffee?
Absolutely not! Do not let your dog drink coffee because caffeine is as toxic to dogs as chocolate.
Many products we commonly have at home contain caffeine, which is why it’s important that we store all non-doggo products away from our pets and most importantly, somewhere they can’t sneak into.
Caffeine will over-stimulate your dog and affect all of their organs in the worst possible way. If left untreated, severe caffeine poisoning may kill your dog.
Of course, your healthy dog won’t die from lapping a couple of times from your coffee cup, but given that caffeine is extremely toxic to dogs, why would you risk it?
Dogs don’t need to be stimulated, they’re bright and lively from the moment they wake up so don’t worry about depriving your dog of the coffee magic and keep caffeine-related products as far as possible from your pooch.
Is coffee bad for dogs?
Coffee is bad for dogs because of the caffeine contained in it.
Caffeine is a type of methylxanthine that is found in coffee beans, chocolate, chocolate-covered coffee beans, and all related products. It is a cousin of theobromine, the substance that makes chocolate so lethal for dogs.
Dogs and cats are very sensitive to caffeine, way more than we are. What is a normal cup of coffee for us that can turn into a nightmare for them?
It is also important to remember that caffeine is contained in many products we wouldn’t associate with coffee at first glances like soda, tea, some sweets, and some types of pills. If your dog goes through any of these, call your veterinarian.
While dogs and caffeine don’t get along, if your dog simply drank a bit of your coffee they shouldn’t be in danger, because it takes quite an amount of coffee to kill a dog, so it’s more likely to be dangerous if your dog went through the packet of coffee grounds.
However, if you have a puppy, an old dog, or a dog with compromised health, there is a risk that even a small amount of caffeine may be harmful to them and it would be safer to have them medically examined.
When it’s not possible to know how much coffee your dog drank or how long ago they drank it, do bring your pet to the nearest clinic to rule out the worst-case scenario, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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