Can Dogs Drink Coffee? (Toxicity Symptoms)

lady reading with a cup of coffee and a dog staring
Don’t give in to those puppy dog eyes.

Let’s all face it, a nice cup of coffee is, for most people, the go-to warm drink first thing in the morning. It gives you that extra ammunition to start the day off. But is it any good for our dogs? Your dog will naturally see you drinking your cup of coffee and give you those puppy dog eyes. But, before you give in and offer some of your coffee to your dog, let’s find out if coffee is any good for our dogs and would they benefit from drinking it.

It is not safe for your dog to drink coffee because of the caffeine present in it. Caffeine will negatively affect a dog’s heart and nervous system, leading to many health complications.

Why can’t dogs have caffeine? 

Caffeine is toxic to dogs and can cause an array of issues. Even the smallest amount can cause caffeine poisoning in dogs.

My dog has had caffeine. What should I do?

Firstly, don’t panic! Depending on how strong the coffee was, the difference in your dog’s body will respond. Suppose your dog has had just a few licks. Don’t worry; this should be okay. However, if you have left the room and returned to your strong coffee all gone, you need to keep a very watchful eye on them. 

Size matters when it comes to caffeine

The size of your dog will also depend on how the body will respond. Take, for instance, a small Chihuahua drinking a whole cup of strong coffee to a labrador. It’s more likely that a Chihuahua will reach high toxic levels and will suffer more from the same amount of caffeine over a larger breed like a labrador. All you can do at this time is ride it out and wait. You can try to encourage your dog to drink some water. If you notice any of the below symptoms, you will need to take your dog to a veterinary professional without hesitation. The symptoms usually start in dogs from 30 minutes onwards and can last for several hours after having caffeine.

Caffeine toxicity symptoms in dogs

  • Vomiting
  • Hyperactivity
  • High body temperature
  • Panting
  • High blood pressure
  • Restlessness
  • Pacing
  • Seizures
  • Collapse
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Death

If your dog shows any of the above signs, you must seek professional help; quickly spotting the signs is of utmost importance. There is no magic pill for caffeine poisoning, but they will be in the best place to be cared for and prevent further damage.

Possible care options for caffeine poisoning in dogs

  • Anti-seizure pills in case of seizures.
  • Induced vomiting to expel the caffeine quicker.
  • Medication to reduce your dog’s blood pressure.
  • Your vet may put your dog on a fluid drip to hydrated and maintain a dogs blood pressure.

Can I give my dog decaffeinated coffee? Although often decaf coffee is promoted as 100% free from caffeine, it is not. There still will be relatively low traces of it. Decaf coffee is also often made with a bean that is higher in fat. Too much fat can cause your dog other complications. Decaffeinated coffee has no health benefits for dogs, so it’s best to avoid it altogether.

Lactose-intolerant

The commonly used ingredient added to coffee is milk. Never give your dog milk as it contains high fats, sugars and can lead to complications. If your dog is lactose-intolerant, it’s even more important never to give them any dairy products since this could lead to severe gas and abdominal pain.

Conclusion

Coffee has zero benefits for dogs, and caffeine poisoning can be lethal. Depending on how much your dog has consumed and the size of your dog. If you notice any of the symptoms in your dog after having coffee, take them to vets immediately, and they will be able to stabilise your dog. Using veterinary care methods, as explained above, will get them into recovery in the best place possible. Whilst we are on the subject of caffeine, please also take the time to read about tea. Tea seems a more commonly liked choice among dogs but did you know that your dog should not drink certain types of tea. Keep out the reach of your dogs.

About the Author