Is Coffee Bad for Dogs? Be Prepared!

If you’re like me, your morning doesn’t really start until you’ve downed a cup of coffee – or two. Or three. Maybe four. Have you ever wondered if your dog is the same way? Or, is coffee bad for dogs?

If you’re like me, your morning doesn’t really start until you’ve downed a cup of coffee – or two. Or three. Maybe four. Have you ever wondered if your dog is the same way? Or, is coffee bad for dogs?

Sure, most people have no issues enjoying their daily java, but do the same rules apply to our furry friends? Can dogs have coffee, or will it just land them in the vet’s office with a hefty medical bill? We’ve got the answers!

So, before you let your dog take a few licks out of your cup, here’s what you should know about dogs and coffee.

Overview: Is Coffee Bad for Dogs?

We’ll get into the specifics below, but the short answer here is no – coffee is not safe for dogs to consume. You can certainly name your dog after your favorite caffeinated beverage, but you don’t want to let them drink it.

The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, which affects dogs negatively. For humans, a caffeinated cup of coffee might jumpstart your morning, but dogs are a lot more sensitive to caffeine than humans are. What might jolt you awake in the mornings could raise your dog’s heart rate to a dangerous level.

What Does Coffee Do to Dogs?

Dog begging for coffee.

As mentioned above, it’s the caffeine in coffee that makes it so dangerous for dogs to consume. The side effects of caffeine toxicity can range from mild to severe, depending on how much coffee your dog has ingested.

Side Effects

A couple of licks from your coffee cup probably won’t do much harm, but drinking an entire cup or munching on spent coffee grounds could yield more serious side effects, such as:

  • High body temperature
  • Irregular heart rhythms 
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Panting 

In the most severe cases, ingesting too much coffee could cause your dog to have seizures, slip into a coma or die. No one wants that!

But how much coffee is too much? This depends on the size of your dog as well as how much caffeine is in the coffee they’ve ingested. Generally, ingesting around nine milligrams of caffeine per pound is enough to lead to serious symptoms.

So, your massive Great Dane might be able to ingest a few teaspoons of instant coffee without any issues, but a small dog might not fare as well.

Keep in mind that coffee is toxic to dogs in all forms – including unroasted beans, hot coffee, espresso or ristretto shots, iced coffee and even used coffee grounds. Certain types of coffee will be more toxic if they have higher caffeine counts.

Is Decaf Coffee Safe For Dogs?

Is decaffeinated coffee safe for dogs?

Since caffeine is the culprit here, you might be wondering about the safety of decaf coffee. The short answer here is still no, it’s not a good idea to give your dog decaf coffee. While decaf coffee may be safer for dogs in moderate amounts, it still contains trace amounts of caffeine.

How Do I Know If My Dog Ingested Coffee?

How do I know if my dog ingested coffee?

Chances are, you won’t be the one feeding your dog coffee. If your furry friend is like most dogs, they’ll wait until you turn your back to lick your cup or sort through the trash for used grounds. After all, coffee does smell delicious!

You may not always be able to catch them in the act, so you’ll have to be on the lookout for the symptoms of caffeine poisoning that we’ve mentioned above.

It’s important to note that dogs will feel the stimulant effects of the coffee they’ve ingested too. Along with an increased heart rate, your furry friend may become jittery, vocalize excessively, act restlessly or lose muscle control.

What Do I Do If My Dog Drinks Coffee?

Dog wanting coffee with their cookies.

Once you’ve recognized the symptoms of caffeine toxicity, what should you do next? Before you sound the sirens, step one is figuring out how much coffee your dog has actually ingested. This is especially important if you’ve got small dogs, who won’t need to ingest as much for a serious reaction. 

If your dog has been rooting through the trash for coffee grounds, you can check to see how much they’ve actually eaten. If you turn your back on a full cup of coffee and find it empty when you return, that’ll give you a good idea of how much they’ve ingested.

Even if you’re not sure about the exact amount, the next step is always to make a call to your local vet’s office. Your vet will be able to help you determine how severe your dog’s risk for caffeine poisoning is, depending on the dog’s weight and the coffee intake.

Is coffee bad for dog? Local vet.

If your regular vet’s office is closed, you can always call the pet poison helpline too. They should be able to walk you through any first-aid as well as direct you to the nearest emergency animal hospital.

If your pet has only consumed a tiny bit of coffee, your vet may just direct you to monitor your pup for signs of caffeine toxicity as well as more severe symptoms.

For more serious cases, your vet will most likely ask you to bring your dog in for emergency treatment. While there’s no cure for caffeine toxicity, vets may induce vomiting or use activated charcoal to clear out your pet’s system.

The good news? As long as your pet receives treatment quickly, most pets can survive even extreme cases of caffeine toxicity.

Verdict: Is Coffee Bad for Dogs?

Dog upset about not getting coffee.

Is coffee bad for dogs? As tasty as coffee may be for humans, your morning java should stay far away from any furry friends you’ve got in the house – including dogs, cats and other pets. Not only is coffee bad for dogs, but so are any other caffeinated beverages you may have sitting out.

Things like caffeine pills, iced tea, tea bags and soda all have enough caffeine to land your dog at the vet’s office, so we recommend keeping a close eye on anything with caffeine.

Make sure you’ve got a tight lid on that trash can if you’re throwing out grounds and don’t leave your morning java unattended for too long.

Has your fur baby ever had an adverse reaction to coffee? Please share your stories in the comments to help other readers.

Is Coffee Bad for Dogs FAQ

Signs of caffeine poisoning can start in as little as thirty minutes. If you suspect your dog has been drinking coffee or ingested coffee beans, your first call should always be to the vet’s office or the pet poison helpline.

A vet will be able to offer insight on whether you’ll need to bring your dog in for treatment or just monitor their symptoms.

Technically, a sip or two from your coffee cup won’t hurt your dog, but I really don’t recommend it. Giving your dog a little bit of coffee is only going to send the wrong message.

If your pet decides they like it, they may try and consume more of it on their own – and that’s only going to lead to an upset stomach (and some pricey medical bills).

Is coffee ice cream bad for dogs?

Unfortunately, coffee-flavored ice cream is also off the table for most pets. Most coffee-flavored ice creams don’t have as much caffeine as a regular cup of joe, but they do have some caffeine in them.

Key note: In addition to caffeine, some coffee-flavored ice creams may contain xylitol. This is a sweetener that’s toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

Your favorite cup of java is chock-full of caffeine, which dogs are extremely sensitive to. Remember, caffeine is a stimulant that can adversely affect most pets, including dogs and cats.

The stimulant effects of caffeine raise blood pressure, cause gastrointestinal tract issues (like vomiting and diarrhea) and induce seizures or even death.

Much like chocolate, coffee can be toxic to small dogs and big dogs alike. Your pets can experience both mild signs and severe signs of coffee toxicity, depending on how much they’ve taken in.

Dogs need to consume around nine milligrams of caffeine per pound to experience mild signs of caffeine poisoning, so there is some wiggle room here. Drinking a cup of coffee could lead to vomiting or seizures in a small dog, while a large dog might only experience an increased heart rate or cardiac arrhythmias.

Regardless of the measurements, it’s never a bad idea to give your local vet (or pet poison helpline) a call if you think your pet might’ve had some coffee – better safe than sorry!

Are coffee grounds bad for dogs? Yes, spent coffee and tea grounds are just as caffeinated as whole beans or liquid coffee – so, your pet is just as likely to deal with coffee poisoning. If your dog begins to show symptoms, give your veterinarian (or pet poison helpline) a call before you do anything else. Trying to induce vomiting or manage symptoms without supervision may just put your dog at risk.

No, dogs cannot eat coffee beans. Not only are whole beans caffeinated, but they may also contain theobromine, which is also toxic to dogs. For reference, theobromine is the toxic substance in chocolate that makes dogs so sick.

No, tea is not safe for dogs to consume in any form, including used tea bags. Loose-leaf teas and the leaves in tea bags have caffeine in them, so they will raise your big or small dog’s blood pressure just like coffee.

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