Coffee & Your Furry Friends: Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Caffeinated Products - Try Coffee
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Coffee & Your Furry Friends: Keeping Your Dog Safe Around Caffeinated Products

If you are anything like me, you wake up in the morning and the first scent you want wafting into your nostrils is the smell of a fresh brewed cup of coffee. One of your favorite parts of the day might involve sitting down to that first cup of coffee while you flip through the newspaper or check your email. Your pet is likely excited you’re awake and is down by your feet as you sip.

But what happens if the dog gets to that mug and takes a few laps of coffee? Is that okay? What should you do?

Many dog owners love to share food, treats, and other things with their family pets, which might make you think sharing a little coffee is no big deal. That’s far from the truth. While millions of humans love to have a cup of coffee ( or more) in the morning, this is one thing you should avoid sharing with your pets.

Caffeine, which is likely present in your coffee, is something that can have severe health consequences to your furry friend. In today’s article, we’re going to look at why dogs should never drink coffee, other beverages and treats that can substitute for a snoot in your coffee mug, and much more.

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What Caffeine Actually Is

Even if you drink coffee every single day, you may have never thought to determine what caffeine actually is. You aren’t alone if that is the case. However, being aware of the basics of the substance is crucial when working to keep your pets safe around it. We’ll give you a short explanation before we move into how caffeine affects dogs and other animals and why it should be kept far out of your animal’s reach.

Caffeine is a crystalline substance that is most commonly found in cacao, tea, and coffee plants. It also acts as a natural stimulant. Caffeine is responsible for stimulating the central nervous system and brain. This is the part of coffee that helps you avoid getting tired and keeps you alert all day long.

 

Caffeine, when consumed, first is absorbed into the stomach and then moves into your bloodstream. After it hits your bloodstream, the caffeine begins to travel into the liver. In the liver, it is broken down into multiple compounds. Each of those compounds has an effect on the various organs found in your body.

One of the main things that caffeine does is block the normal effects of adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter which is what makes you feel tired and relaxes your brain. As the day goes on, without caffeine, you would see increased buildup of adenosine which is what makes you tired over time until you decide to go to bed for the night.

Caffeine will connect to the adenosine receptors but prevent them from activating. This means that the adenosine cannot work so you feel less tired. In addition, it can increase the activity of norepinephrine and dopamine while increasing your blood adrenaline levels.

When all of these things are put together, your brain is highly stimulated. This means you’re going to be more focused, alert, and aroused. Due to the fact that caffeine has an effect on your brain, it can be considered a psychoactive drug. It also does these things quickly with only 20 minutes needed for caffeine to reach your bloodstream and only an hour for it to reach its peak effectiveness.

Why Coffee Should Never Be Shared with Your Pets

You probably already know that your dog should never eat chocolate. Coffee is just as important to keep away from your buddy. While chocolate poisoning is seen more often by vets, that doesn’t mean that coffee can’t be dangerous. In fact, a dog or cat who consumes too much caffeine can not only be hurt, but it could be lethal to them. Even worse is the fact that there is no antidote. So, keep the coffee far away from your four-legged friends to keep them safe.

In addition to coffee, there are other foods and drinks that contain caffeine. These should also be kept away from your pets. The exact same issues that can come from coffee can be experienced if your pet consumes these items. Here are the main items to keep away from your dog or cat:

 

  • Caffeinated coffee, whether traditional or instant
  • Cocoa bars or other treats contained cocoa
  • Tea, unless it is decaffeinated
  • Chocolate bars and candies
  • Many soft drinks
  • Various cold and flu treatments
  • Some pain killers
  • Stimulant pills containing caffeine
  • Energy drinks containing caffeine

While the lethal dose of caffeine for a dog varies based on your actual pet, the average dose is 150mg/kg of body weight. When you consider that instant coffee can contain more than 60mg of caffeine in a single teaspoon, you can see how dire the situation is if your dog chows down on coffee. Keep it away on a high shelf, in a cabinet, or otherwise in a location your pet has no chance to get near.

Symptoms That Your Pet Has Caffeine Poisoning

So, let’s say that Spot gets into your coffee mug and laps a few times before you get to him. A few sips of coffee may not have a lasting effect on your dog, but you should always watch for symptoms that something is wrong. If you already know your pet has consumed a substantial amount of coffee, it’s time to get to an emergency vet. If you aren’t sure whether you should go, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and see an expert. This will ensure your pet has the care they need if symptoms do begin.

 

If you are concerned your dog may have consumed caffeine, here are symptoms that you should be watchful for:

  • Restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure
  • Hyperthermia, or elevated body temperature
  • Tremors
  • Collapse
  • Seizures

The reality is that while humans can handle the consumption of caffeine, the same is not true for our pets. Both cats and dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine than people are. Having a couple of laps of your coffee will likely not cause any major problems, but larger amounts can be deadly. Caffeine is toxic to your pets and as someone who loves them as part of your family, it is crucial to ensure they are not placed in a situation where they can access products containing caffeine.

Caffeine poisoning can be the result of consuming any food, drink, or medication which contains caffeine. As we mentioned, a small amount may not be harmful. However, if your pet manages to consume a large amount, you can expect even more concerning effects. It can lead to your pet having heart abnormalities. It could cause severe gastrointestinal distress. It can even have effects on your dog’s metabolism or neurological state. This isn’t something that can be ignored or worried about later. If your pet has consumed a decent amount of caffeine through whatever means, you need to visit a veterinarian as soon as you can.

Diagnosing Caffeine Poisoning in Canines

Once you have made it to your veterinarian, the first thing that will happen is a short conversation. Your vet is going to have questions about when your dog consumed the caffeinated item, what the actual source of the caffeine was, how much you think that they might have consumed, and more. This is required to determine exactly how much danger your pet might be in.

After this part of the appointment is complete, your vet may want to do a urinalysis and blood work, or other types of testing. This is done in order to confirm that the pet was exposed to caffeine. It can also give an idea of how much caffeine the pet was exposed to in total. Depending on the situation, the veterinarian may also want to test your dog’s plasma or the contents of their stomach fluid. This allows the vet the ability to make an expert diagnosis.

If you aren’t absolutely sure that your pet consumed caffeine, the vet will need to make sure other conditions are ruled out. Some of the same symptoms can be present if your dog has ingested nicotine, chocolate, lead, pesticides, amphetamines, and ephedrine. Knowing which substance was consumed is the only way for the professional to give you a complete diagnosis and move forward with treatment options.

Treatment of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

One of the reasons that we recommend seeing a veterinarian quickly is because the quicker an expert intervenes, the better the chance that the treatment will work well. There are several different options for treating a dog who has consumed caffeine. Which one is chosen will depend upon how much caffeine has been ingested. No matter which treatment is selected, your vet will monitor your pet’s heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs throughout the process.

Induced Vomiting

If your veterinarian believes the induced vomiting is the best solution, your dog will be administered an emetic. This may be given orally, subcutaneously, or intravenously. In some cases, it can be given through a tablet that is placed under the eyelid. It is not commonly administered intramuscularly as the medication is not as effective. After around five to ten minutes, your pet will begin to vomit, which will help remove the poison from its body.

This treatment option is often chosen if it can be provided within two to four hours after the ingestion of caffeine. This is most often used as an emergency intervention and only remove about 50% of the contents of the stomach. However, this can at least start the process of treatment and remove some of the caffeine from the body. In many cases, this treatment option will be combined with others.

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Gastric Lavage

Gastric lavage is another treatment option that involves the removal of contents from your pet’s stomach. You may also hear this treatment referred to as “pumping the stomach.” This procedure will begin with a diagnostic examination and routine testing. There may also be an ultrasound or a radiograph to check for abnormalities before the lavage can take place.

During this procedure, an IV catheter is placed in one of your dog’s front limbs. This ensures that your dog can be administered fluids and drugs during the procedure. Your dog will be given a sedative and be intubated. After this, your vet may administer an anti-emetic medication which prevents your dog from vomiting. A tube is inserted into the pet and warm water is infused, which will cause the stomach contents to come out. At the end of the treatment, activated charcoal may be used to trap any remaining caffeine in the stomach.

Coffee & Dog

Central Nervous System Treatments

If your dog is experiencing seizures or other symptoms of problems with the central nervous system, additional treatment may be needed. Your vet will choose the right medication to give your pet to help stabilize them for treatment. At that time, the treatment options mentioned above can be provided without concern for the safety of the animal.

Regardless of the treatment needed, your pet may be required to stay at the veterinarian hospital for a few days. This provides the vet with a chance to ensure the dog is recovering well before they are sent home again. This can be a long process and an expensive one, which is why it is so important to keep toxic foods and drinks away from your pets. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress at the same time.

Why Coffee Isn’t the Only Concern

Coffee in liquid form is dangerous to your pet, but the same applies to other products. While many dogs do not enjoy the scent of coffee grounds, some do. This may lead to a dog who is excited to dig around in the trash to find and consume them. If this is something that is accurate for your own pet, you will need to dispose of coffee grounds somewhere that your pet cannot reach them. Coffee grounds can actually contain a substantially larger amount of caffeine than your cup of coffee, so it’s easier for your pet to become ill if they consume them.

The same applies to sweet treats like espresso beans. Many people love to have these around for the energy boost and sweet taste, but they must be kept away from your dog. This is even more crucial if you eat the beans that are coated in chocolate. Both coffee and chocolate can be dangerous to your dog, so they should not have access to them. This is only one example but any food or drink that contains coffee is likely to have caffeine, so they should not be shared with your dog.

Additional Beverages and Snacks Your Pet Should Never Ingest

You know that coffee and chocolate are bad for your pet, but what else should be kept away? Some things can cause health issues while others are simply unhealthy for them to consume. We’ve compiled a list of the most common foods you should keep away from your dog. You may be surprised to see exactly which foods can be a problem. Everything from xylitol sweetener to grapes can cause health problems to your plucky pooch.

Avocados

This one is a mixed bag but should generally be avoided. Avocados contain something that is called persin which is completely fine to humans without an allergy to it. However, if a dog consumes too much avocado, it can lead to diarrhea or vomiting. In addition, if your dog consumes the avocado pit, that can cause an obstruction. If you grow your own avocado, make sure it’s somewhere the dog cannot get to.

Alcohol

Even in humans, alcohol can affect your brain and liver over time. It does the same to your pet dog, but it takes far less to do so. Even a sip of wine or beer can cause issues like diarrhea, vomiting, breathing issues, and more. This is one beverage that should never be left around for your dog to get into. It could even lead to death.

Dairy Products

When you’re out on a hot summer day and you want to enjoy an ice cream cone, you might be tempted to share it with your pooch. This isn’t a good idea in many cases. Dogs do not usually digest lactose correctly, so it can lead to digestive issues. The same applies to other dairy items like milk, cheese, and yogurt. Try adog-friendly ice cream brand if you must feed ice cream to your pet.

Garlic & Onions

Both onion and garlic are bad for the health of your pet. It doesn’t matter if they are raw, cooked, powdered, or otherwise. These ingredients can cause anemia in your pet. If your pet manages to ingest a large amount, it can cause breathing problems, vomiting, and weakness.

Grapes & Raisins

If you want a great treat for your pet, you should pass the grapes and raisins by. These items can lead to kidney failure in your pet and it doesn’t take much for your dog to get sick. You may notice vomiting soon after consumption and after a day or so, your dog may seem depressed and sluggish.

Lemons & Limes

Both of these citrus fruits should be kept away from your dog as they can be highly toxic. Both of these fruits contain psoralen, which can result in diarrhea or vomiting for your pet. If your pet is to consume a large amount of lemon, lime, or both, more serious issues can be seen. These may include liver failure, muscle tremors, trouble walking, and death.

Macadamia Nuts

Macadamia nuts should never be provided to your dog for ingestion. These nuts contain a toxin that can cause serious harm to your pet. It may cause tremors, vomiting, depression, muscle weakness, and hyperthermia. This isn’t something that requires a large amount. Only a few nuts can cause major problems. On top of that, these nuts are extremely fatty and can elevate the triglyceride levels of your dog and even lead to pancreatitis.

Nutmeg

Onion and garlic aren’t the only spices that should be kept away from your dog. Nutmeg is another spice that can be dangerous in large amounts. Nutmeg contains myristicin, which is toxic to canines when consumed in large amounts. It can lead to high blood pressure, stomach pain, disorientation, seizures, and increased heart rate. Make sure to keep nutmeg out of reach of your dog and do not feed baked goods or other items containing nutmeg to your pooch.

Xylitol

The reason you should keep xylitol containing foods out of the way is because they can cause liver failure and low blood sugar for your furry buddy. You may notice lethargy in your vet, vomiting, or even problems with coordination. In extreme cases, seizures can occur. Liver failure is also possible after only a few days of ingestion. Xylitol can be found in all sorts of things from baked goods to candy and diet foods so read the label before you share.

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Healthy Treats to Share with Your Dog

Now that we’ve looked at why coffee is bad for dogs, what treatment is required if your dog has caffeine poisoning, and which other foods your dog should stay away from, let’s look at some of the things you can share with your pet. Just because you can’t allow your dog to share your cup of coffee doesn’t mean that you can’t share other foods with them. In fact, many of your favorite snacks may be entirely acceptable for them. A few of them you can try are below:

  • Shrimp – If you’re a seafood lover, you can share your cooked shrimp with your pet. It’s healthy, has a large dose of protein, and plenty of minerals and vitamins. Make sure to remove the shell and don’t feed raw shrimp.
  • Celery – You can share celery or even celery boats with peanut butter with your pet dog. It’s healthy with few calories and plenty of minerals. Just make sure that you cut the celery up into small pieces, so it isn’t a choking hazard.
  • Carrots – Another vegetable that is safe for your pup is the carrot. It has few calories but high fiber along with vitamins and minerals. These should also be cut into small pieces before feeding.
  • Peanut Butter – While you don’t want to make this the only treat you give your pet, it’s healthy in reasonable amounts. The best option is a plain, unsalted peanut butter which has no extraneous ingredients that might be harmful.
  • Eggs – A cooked egg is fine to share with your pet and has tons of vitamins and protein. However, avoid sharing raw eggs with your pet. It may not make them sick, but it can spread bacteria.
  • Salmon – Another seafood choice is salmon, which is healthy and loved by dogs. It can help keep the fur and skin of your dog healthy. Raw salmon should be avoided, however, as it can contain a parasite.
  • Blueberries – There’s no reason you can’t share blueberries with your pet. They have fiber and plenty of vitamins and minerals. They are also low calorie and come in a small size, which means there is no choking hazard.
  • Mango – Your pet can enjoy mango and it can even be healthy but only in smaller amounts. If you plan to feed mango to your dog, be sure that you peel it first. It can be hard for them to digest it. You should also make certain the pit is removed, as it is a choking hazard.
  • Pineapple – Pineapple is typically fine to feed to your pet in small amounts. It has fiber, vitamins, and minerals which make it a nutritious treat.
  • Pork – Plain pork without added seasoning is safe for dogs. However, you must be sure that it is completely cooked. Undercooked pork can lead to illness in dogs.
  • Turkey – Your dog should be fine being fed skinless, boneless turkey. You do want to be sure that you do not feed them any seasoning or stuffed turkey. This can often contain onion and garlic, which are dangerous to your pet.

As you can see, there are many foods for humans that can be consumed by a dog with no issues. However, others can lead to illness or even death. It’s an excellent idea to only introduce foods gradually and one at a time. This gives you the chance to watch for potential allergic reactions. Even foods that are safe should be shared in moderation to prevent weight gain or other problems. Every dog is different so what works well for one may not for another.

Store Bought Treats for Your Dog

Of course, you can also choose to offer your pet only foods specifically made for them. There are many treats that are healthy and will help your pet thrive. We’ll share a few of our favorites if you want to fill up your storage over the holiday season.

Stella & Chewy’s Carnivore Crunch Beef

These treats are freeze-dried and less processed than typical dog treats. This means they contain fewer carbohydrates, salts, and sweeteners. In addition, the ingredients are nutrient packed and there are no strange preservatives or fillers. In fact, the ingredients consist only of beef, organs, and bone. They are a bit more expensive than some treats, but they are low-calorie and perfect for a pet who needs tasty but non-fattening treats as a supplement to their regular diet.

Zuke’s Mini Naturals Fresh Peanut Butter Formula

Zuke’s offers another low-calorie treat with the tasty flavor of peanut butter. The treats are convenient whether training or going on walks, as they are all the same shape and size. On top of that, these treats are semi-moist, so you don’t have to worry about a ton of dust in the bottom of the bag. These are a bit more processed than some other treats, but they are also more affordable. If you’re on a budget but want low-calorie treats with great ingredients, this is a fantastic option.

ZiwiPeak Venison Treats

ZiwiPeak treats has an ingredient list that is almost entirely whole venison. The treats come in a chewy strip and are semi-moist, which works well for your dog who enjoys having a chew. One of the things that stands out with the venison treats is that they have no added salt. That said, these are quite expensive and may not be available to everyone. However, those who want something new that your dog will love will find that these treats are extremely pleasing.

Canidae Grain-Free Pure Heaven Dog Biscuits

These are another of the inexpensive options when it comes to dog treats. This will likely be a plus for those who have multiple dogs or need to follow a strict budget. The biscuits have a nice shape and can even be easily snapped in half when you need portion control. The ingredients are also outstanding with salmon being the first and sweet potato being used as the binder rather than soy, corn, or wheat.

There are many other treats out there for your dog, but these four are some of the healthiest available on the market today. You can easily choose other options. Just remember to look over the ingredient list and nutrition facts to have a better idea of what your pet will be consuming. If you still have concerns about what to feed your dog, it’s best to speak with your veterinarian to get specific recommendations and answers to all your questions.

Enjoying Dogs and Coffees Without Worry

We’ve established that dogs cannot drink coffee or eat food that contains caffeine. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a coffee while around your pet. It just means that you need to be extremely cautious and aware of what is going on around you when both your dog and coffee are present. There are some options to make this a bit easier which we would like to share with you.

One of the best ways to avoid the problem of your pet getting into food or beverages is to train them that your desk, table, or counter is not somewhere they are allowed to be. This will take some work, but it will ensure your pet doesn’t think they can just jump up on the table and enjoy whatever is sitting there. This is also useful if your pet likes to jump up and grab food, rather than your coffee. Once they are trained, the area will be off-limits, and both your caffeinated beverages and snacks will be safe.

 

You should also be sure that you always keep your coffee and caffeinated snacks away somewhere that your pet does not have access to. This might be as simple as having your coffee in the pantry when you aren’t using it. If you know your pet has a habit of getting into places they are not supposed to, a lock can add an extra layer of security. Keeping your coffee, chocolate, and other poisonous foods stored properly is essential when you have a dog or a cat.

Make sure that everyone in your home is aware of the dangers of coffee on your pets and work together to ensure dangerous items are out of their reach. It may take some time to make this a habit, but it will get easier and you will have peace of mind knowing your pet cannot get into a situation where they eat the wrong thing and become extremely ill.

Another option is to take your dog to the local dog-friendly café. Many cities are seeing these shops open up and for good reason. Everyone loves to go on a walk with the dog and stopping in for a snack or a drink is convenient. Your dog can enjoy that experience with you at these cafés. Of course, you still need to be certain not to feed your pet anything containing caffeine. However, in many cases, there will be menu items appropriate for pets that your buddy can enjoy while you have a cappuccino or double espresso for yourself.

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Zuke's Natural Training Dog Treats; Mini Naturals Recipe; Made in USA Facilities
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Rewards Venison (3 oz.)
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Stella & Chewy's Freeze-Dried Raw Carnivore Crunch Grass-Fed Beef Recipe Dog Treats, 3.25 oz bag
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The Wrap Up

Now you know that coffee is extremely dangerous for your dog and exactly why that is. We’ve looked at how caffeine affects the human body, as well as the canine body. If your pet manages to get into your coffee, you know what to do first and why getting to a veterinarian is so crucial. We also talked about the treatment for caffeine poisoning and which foods are acceptable and unacceptable to share with your pup.

It might seem like having a dog and a coffee habit is a bad combination, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The reality is that if you build a routine that keeps your pets away from the coffee, you’ll rarely have to think about the topic at all. Now that you understand some ways to build that routine, you can be on the path toward a life enjoying your two favorite things – coffee and dogs!

Bonus Questions

1. How much caffeine does it take to kill a dog?

The answer to this question varies based on the dog. However, the median dose of caffeine lethal to dogs is reported to be 140 mg/kg of body weight. It’s not worth taking the risk no matter how little caffeine there is. Do not allow your dog to ingest it.

2. How long does caffeine last in a dog?

The signs of caffeine can begin within 30 minutes of ingesting coffee. Those same symptoms can last up to 12 hours. If any major health issues occur from the caffeine, those can last even longer.

3. Is it OK for dogs to drink tea?

While drinking tea can be okay in some instances, a dog should never consume tea that contains caffeine. It can cause the same problems as consuming coffee and lead to illness or death. To be safe, it’s best to hydrate your dog with regular water.

4. How much caffeine is in coffee grounds?

It depends on the type of coffee that you are consuming. However, an average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains anywhere from 70 to 150 mg of caffeine.

5. Can dogs drink decaffeinated coffee?

It’s best if your pet dog drinks no coffee, even the decaffeinated type. While this is safer than caffeinated coffee, the truth is that some caffeine is still present. It isn’t likely this will cause major problems to your pet but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.

6. What should dogs never eat?

Besides coffee, you should never allow your dog to consume chocolate, grapes, nuts, onions, garlic, or alcohol. This isn’t an exhaustive list, as many foods are not acceptable for consumption by dogs.

7. What happens if a cat eats coffee grounds?

Cats should not consume coffee, tea, or soda due to the caffeine content in the beverages. Your cat may have serious health problems after consuming coffee grounds and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

8. Do coffee grounds repel cats?

Most cats do not like the smell of coffee grounds or citrus. Placing citrus fruit peels in your garden is a great way to keep animals out of it. However, every pet is different, so this may not always be the right solution.

9. Is Coke bad for dogs?

Soda is not a great option for hydrating your pet dog. It can be harmful if your dog is diabetic due to the sugar content. Even sugar-free sodas often contain caffeine which your dog should never consume.

10. Can you give a dog milk?

It depends. Some dogs have no issue digesting dairy, including milk. Other dogs may experience vomiting, gas, and diarrhea. It depends on your dog and whether they can digest lactose or not.

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Sources:

https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-dogs-like-coffee#

https://smartdogowners.com/coffee/

http://www.provet.co.uk/petfacts/healthtips/caffeinepoisoning.htm

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-caffeine

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/caffeine/

https://wagwalking.com/treatment/inducing-vomiting

https://wagwalking.com/treatment/gastric-lavage-1

https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/ss/slideshow-foods-your-dog-should-never-eat

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/human-foods-for-dogs#section32

https://www.reviews.com/dog-treats/

Last update on 2019-10-17 at 22:59 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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