Is Coffee Bad for Dogs? (Things to Know)

Coffee might be your favorite refreshment drink but for your dog, it is toxic.

Short Answer: Coffee is extremely toxic for dogs.

As much as it is beneficial to your health, coffee may be deadly for your pets, especially for Fido.

The caffeine in coffee makes it toxic for your dog, and even a tiny gulp exhibits a lethal reaction depending on the breed and your dog’s health.

But how can that be? What’s exactly in caffeine that makes the drink toxic for your dogs?

I think one reason why caffeine is toxic for dogs is that it could raise blood pressure and your pet may lose muscle control which can lead to tremors and seizures which could be lethal.

Still, we should find out more about this interesting topic. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

What is Caffeine Toxicity in Pets?

Caffeine is a psychoactive stimulant that creates enhanced alertness and concentration in humans. Too much caffeine can lead to several neurological and physical disorders. This is why health experts urge everyone to keep the intake of coffee within the recommended guidelines.

In the case of pets such as dogs, the adverse effects are more threatening.

The caffeine in coffee is responsible for an increased heart rate in pets. This leads to hyperactivity and losing muscle control which can lead to seizures and tremors.

Reviews from VCA Hospitals suggest that the caffeine content is responsible for raising the blood pressure in animals causing a cardiac arrhythmia.

Is Coffee Safe for Pets?

No, coffee is not safe for your pets.

You shouldn’t give coffee to your pets because the caffeine in it can make your pet experience physical discomfort.

Numerous reviews and articles have been suggesting that cats and dogs should not ingest any caffeine since it only takes about half an hour to an hour to reach peak concentrations in their blood, eventually leading to poisoning or clinical toxicity.

In the reviews published by PetMD, experts have suggested not letting pets ingest any caffeine. They added that the signs and symptoms will depend on the size of the animal and the amount of caffeine consumed.

Give this video a watch to get a better view of how dangerous caffeine is for your pets.

Is Coffee Safe for your Dog? No, it isn’t!

Can Dogs Drink Coffee?

Absolutely NOT!

You shouldn’t give coffee to Fido because caffeine may irritate his nervous system causing an irregular heartbeat.

However, a few drops or gulps of coffee may not be deadly for the dog if treatment is done promptly. Small dogs like Shih Tzu, chihuahuas, and affenpinscher may have a severe reaction to caffeine.

Larger breeds would be needing a higher portion of the caffeine to reach the toxic levels.

Is Coffee Poisonous for Dogs?

No to coffee, please!

Yes, it is.

Dogs are more sensitive to caffeine than humans.

However, a cup of your favorite coffee or tea may not be deadly for your dog since the portion won’t be enough to create toxins in the body.

In addition, as suggested by Pet Poison Helpline, a lick of tea won’t poison your dog compared to ingesting coffee grounds or tea bags which are highly poisonous for pets.

Still, that’s no excuse to give your dog some caffeine!

What Happens When a Dog Drinks Coffee?

The caffeine present in the coffee raises the blood pressure and heartbeats of the dog leading to hyperactivity and tremors.

For human beings, the stimulant may offer several health benefits but it is definitely toxic for dogs. Along with caffeine, the chemical theobromine present in caffeine is also poisonous for dogs.

The effects of caffeine on dogs include:

  • neurological disorders
  • metabolic disruption
  • gastrointestinal issues
  • heart abnormalities

Due to the severe impacts of caffeine on the gastrointestinal tract, your dog starts vomiting and its excitability could lead to malfunctions of other organ systems.

Can Dogs Drink a Small Amount of Coffee?

Just to be safe, you shouldn’t give any coffee to your dog.

You should assume ingesting even the smallest amount of coffee may result in rapid abnormal heartbeats which can be life-threatening.

And if your dog accidentally drank coffee, it is important to seek immediate help. Call your veterinarian to induce vomiting. You shouldn’t try to induce vomiting on your own because it can be dangerous too.

Apart from coffee, some of the food items that you should never give to your dog are:

  • chocolate
  • soda
  • tea

Also, here are symptoms of caffeine toxicity in dogs that you should watch out for:

  • panting
  • vomiting
  • agitation
  • tremors
  • seizures
  • restlessness
  • hyperactive

How Much Caffeine is Toxic for Dogs?

Reviews from the American College of Veterinary Pharmacists suggest 140 mg/kg or 63 mg/lb of caffeine can be toxic for dogs.

The effects of poisoning or toxicity level will depend on the breed of the dog and the amount of caffeine ingested. Generally, larger breeds like German Shepherd and St. Bernard have a higher tolerance to the stimulant than smaller breeds.

Again, to be safe, do not give anything caffeinated to your pets.

If you’re curious to know how much caffeine is in coffee, read this article!

Can Coffee Kill Dogs?

Smaller dogs are more prone to caffeine toxicity.

It’s possible too much coffee can kill dogs.

Coffee causes abnormal heart rhythm and even lung failure which can ultimately kill your dog.

An average cup of coffee contains about 90 to 120 mg of caffeine which is presumably dangerous for small breed dogs.

Hyperactivity may start once your dog consumes 14 mg of caffeine per pound of body weight as mentioned in a Continental Kennel Club article.

And that explains why smaller dogs are more prone to caffeine toxicity.

How Long Does Caffeine Poisoning Stay in Dog’s System?

Symptoms of poisoning may start 30 minutes after the caffeine is ingested and could last for 12 or more hours.

An article by PetMD suggests that it takes about 24 to 48 hours for the caffeine to pass through the animal’s system and during the time being it is necessary to administer medications to prevent further irregular heartbeat and damage to your dog’s organs.

So, as long as you seek immediate help, the chances of your dog surviving from caffeine toxicity is relatively high.

What are the Symptoms of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs?

Apart from the obvious symptoms which I have mentioned earlier on, here are other signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs:

  • abnormal heart rhythm
  • hypertension
  • decreased urination
  • hyperthermia
  • increased vocalization

Usually, these kinds of symptoms can be observed within 30 to 60 minutes after your dog ingested coffee.

In some cases, it might take more than an hour to show signs of toxicity, depending on the amount of caffeine consumed and the breed of the dog.

Since it takes 24 to 48 hours of time for the poisoning to pass the dog’s system, the signs can last for a few days even after getting treatment.

Why Your Dog Might Like Coffee?

Dogs may love coffee since they are keen to try new foods and the unique texture and flavor of the beverage may be appealing to them.

If your dog is exposed to unique smells and tastes, he will like to take a quick gulp of the new items.

The taste buds of dogs are not as refined as ours. Dogs rely more on the smell of foods to taste them. Since coffee has an appetizing aroma, do not be surprised if you see your little friend secretly taking a small gulp of coffee.

You should not encourage this behavior because the side effects of caffeine on dogs can be dangerous and lethal, especially for smaller dogs.

What to Do If Your Dog Just Ingested Caffeine?

Help me, please!

Take your dog to the vet immediately!

It is important to take your dog to the vet as soon as possible. The vet will induce the vomiting to get rid of the toxins in your dog’s system.

Also, be prepared to give the vet necessary information such as the amount of coffee ingested, breed, and your dog’s weight.

This information can help the vet assess the condition of your pet and give the most suitable treatment.

Also, keep in mind there is no antidote to caffeine, and for that reason, seeking immediate help for caffeine toxicity in pets is very important.

Final Thoughts

Coffee is your everyday friend but it’s not the most ideal drink to give to your dog. Thus, coffee is not safe for dogs.

In fact, any beverage or food containing caffeine is highly toxic for your dog. The tiniest amount of coffee can be lethal to your pet, especially for dogs of smaller breed.

The caffeine in coffee can raise the heartbeat of your dog which can result in losing muscle control and irregular heart rhythm. Other symptoms of caffeine toxicity in dogs include tremors and seizures.

So, if you notice your dog is suffering from any of these symptoms, take Fido to the vet right away!

Of course, to avoid caffeine toxicity on your pets, you shouldn’t feed your dog anything caffeinated such as chocolates and coffee. Also, make sure all the foodstuff are out of your dog’s reach at home.

For now, be a responsible pet owner. Watch over your little friend at all times!

Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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