Can Dogs Drink Coffee? Is Caffeine Canine Friendly?

can dogs drink coffee.

Can Dogs Drink Coffee? Why Caffeine is Paw-sitively Off Limits for Your Best Friend

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages for us humans, what better way to kickstart your day than an early morning espresso? But what about our furry friends? Can dogs drink coffee?

So, grab yourself a cup of joe and we’ll explain why you’re better off not sharing it with your beloved bow-wow.

is coffee ok for dogs.

Can a Dog Have Coffee?

So, the big question — is coffee for dogs good or bad?

The simple answer is bad! 

Coffee is not safe for consumption by dogs. Why would you even want to give your pooch a cup of hot joe anyhow? Don’t they have enough energy? 

This beverage is something you absolutely want to avoid letting your pup consume. It can lead to very serious health issues and, in some cases, can be potentially lethal.

Why Is Coffee Bad for Dogs?

Coffee contains caffeine, which is a natural stimulant. Many of us enjoy that kick-start to the day, some of us even depend on it to get moving in the mornings. Yet, dogs can be far more sensitive to the effects of caffeine — it's toxic for canines.

When a dog drinks coffee, it can cause their heart rate to rise to dangerous levels. They can quickly become agitated and exhibit signs of hyperactivity and restlessness.

The severity of caffeine poisoning depends on:

  • How much coffee your dog consumes. 

  • The concentration of caffeine — e.g., ground coffee, beans, or a coffee beverage. 

  • The size of your little, furry — or not-so-little — friend.

Can Dogs Have Coffee Beans?

Coffee beans, or freshly ground coffee, can contain much higher levels of caffeine and should always be kept out of the way of your family pet. Even used grounds contain caffeine, but at lower levels. 

Fortunately, dogs don’t find beans or grinds particularly appealing, so your pup probably won’t eat much. But we all know canines are curious creatures, so keep your espresso out of reach.

dog drank coffee.

Can Dogs Drink Caffeine-Containing Beverages?

Alongside coffee, there are other drinks that contain caffeine:

  • Hot drinks, such as tea or hot chocolate.
  • Sodas — like Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, etc. 
  • Energy drinks often boast about their higher levels of caffeine.

Coffee-flavored liquors can include caffeine, there’s a coffee-flavored Patron tequila, and many beers, especially stouts, will include coffee as an ingredient. (Although the alcohol in such drinks is more likely to be an issue for your pup’s health!)

So, the simple answer is, no, no, no. Avoid any of these drinks.

Can Dogs Drink Decaf Coffee?

No. Decaf coffee is not safe for dogs. You still get trace amounts of caffeine in decaf, which could be potentially dangerous to your dog’s health.

But it’s not just the caffeine in coffee which poses a health risk to your dog, many of the other additives found in a cup of coffee can be a problem too.

Other Risks of Dogs Drinking Coffee

A common complaint is, “my dog drank coffee with cream and sugar.” While some dogs can drink milk, others may be lactose intolerant. Sugar is also unhealthy for dogs and will often cause an upset stomach or, in some cases, weight gain or diabetes.

What’s more, non-dairy alternatives, such as certain nut milks, are poisonous for your pooch, for example, macadamia nuts or hazelnuts aren’t safe for dogs. Artificial sweeteners like xylitol, often used as a sugar replacement or found in many creamers, will also be toxic for your dog.

And, other ingredients often added to coffee, like chocolate or nutmeg, can affect the coffee’s toxicity.

How Much Coffee is Bad for Dogs?

Research indicates that the lethal dose of caffeine for a canine varies from 110 to 200 mg/kg of a dog's body weight. Yet, the median lethal dose for dogs is reported to be 140 mg/kg of body weight.

So, with your average cup of coffee containing 74 mg of caffeine, a medium-sized dog of 15 kilos, such as the Whippet, would need to drink nearly 30 cups of coffee before caffeine ingestion reaches fatal levels. However, a smaller dog, such as a Chihuahua, would only need to drink six cups to die from caffeine poisoning.

That said, this can also depend on the health, or age of your dog. Younger, older, or dogs with pre-existing medical conditions are likely to have a lower tolerance. 

Furthermore, remember these are upper-limit figures, your dog will still experience side effects from ingesting a lesser amount.

is coffee bad for dogs.

What Happens if a Dog Drinks Coffee?

Although a small lick of your latte is unlikely to cause too much harm, excessive doses of caffeine, particularly for smaller breeds, can often lead to dangerous symptoms or even death.

Caffeine poisoning can sometimes show up as quickly as 30 minutes after the pup has ingested caffeine. Although in most cases, symptoms usually show up in the first 1-2 hours.

You may be asking, what happens if my dog drinks coffee? Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Restlessness and hyperactivity.

  • Vomiting.

  • Seizures.

  • Irregular or elevated heart rate.

  • High blood pressure.

  • Increased body temperature — hyperthermia evident as warm to the touch, drooling, and dark red gums.

  • Tremors.

What To Do if Your Dog Drinks Coffee

First, try to work out how much coffee your dog has consumed, so your vet can be better informed about what course of action to take.

Then, contact your vet. Do this as soon as possible, time is of the essence.

If you believe your dog has eaten coffee grounds or beans, don’t try to make your dog vomit unless instructed to do so by your vet — doing so can cause more complications.

At the clinic, your vet may decide to induce vomiting to remove the caffeine from your dog's system. Additionally, they may administer activated charcoal to absorb any remaining caffeine in the digestive tract. 

Other treatment involved will be mainly supportive care. These include IV fluids for rehydration and medication to manage your dog’s symptoms.

Most dogs will recover from caffeine toxicity as long as the owner gets help swiftly. However, don’t forget, ingesting coffee is potentially fatal for canines.

Final Thoughts

Is coffee bad for dogs to drink? Yes, most definitely. As much as your pup may want a sip of your delicious cup of joe, it’s best to avoid giving them any at all.

So, when people ask can dogs drink coffee? Hopefully, you can now tell them the many reasons why a canine should be caffeine free.

Can Dogs Drink Coffee? FAQs

Why are Dogs More Sensitive to Caffeine than Humans?

Dogs differ significantly from humans in their ability to metabolize certain substances. Caffeine is primarily broken down in the liver through a specific enzyme known as cytochrome P450. Humans possess a more efficient version of this, enabling us to process caffeine more quickly and safely.

Is Tea Ok for Dogs?

No. Although it may have a lower caffeine content, tea still contains caffeine which can be toxic to your pooch depending on their size and the exact caffeine content. Many herbal teas will be sold as caffeine-free but may contain natural ingredients that can upset your dog's digestive system or cause poisoning.

If in doubt, water is the best source of hydration for your pup.

Can Dogs Have Coffee Ice Cream?

Although it can be tempting to give your pooch a cooling treat on a hot summer’s day, ice cream, in general, isn’t suitable for dogs due to its high sugar and fat content. Doing so can lead to obesity and digestive problems.

Dogs shouldn’t eat any coffee-flavored human foods, as they may contain caffeine. Stick to dog-safe treats instead.

Why Do Dogs Love Coffee?

If a pup is fed a variety of foods when younger, both wet and dry, they may be more receptive to different textures, flavors, and smells, which make a gulp of coffee more inviting. 

The generally bitter taste of a brewed coffee is something many pups like. And, if sweetened with sugar and cream, the dog may still take a sip because they can be drawn to sweet flavors.

Is Coffee Ok for Dogs in Moderation?

There are no health benefits of a dog drinking coffee. Hence, it’s better to avoid your pup consuming any caffeine at all.

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