For those of us who love coffee and have a dog, wanting to share our favorite beverage with Fido is a natural inclination. You should never give Fido a sip of your coffee, though, as caffeine is toxic to dogs. If your four-legged friend does ever accidently ingest coffee, here’s what to watch for and how to respond.
Common Signs of Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs
Caffeine affects the nervous system and heart in dogs, just as it does in people. Dogs have a much lower tolerance for caffeine than people, though, and symptoms of caffeine poisoning can appear when only a little is consumed. Some common signs of caffeine poisoning in dogs include:
- an elevated heart rate
At higher concentrations, caffeine can even lead to difficulty breathing and seizures.
According to Provet, caffeine is lethal to dogs at concentrations of 150 milligrams per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of weight. Since there’s only about 100 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of coffee, it’s unlikely that your dog will drink enough coffee to cause a life-threatening situation. If Fido gets into coffee beans (especially chocolate-covered beans) or grounds, however, he may ingest a lot of caffeine quickly.
Treating Dogs That Drank Coffee
The signs of caffeine poisoning appear one to two hours after ingesting caffeine. If your pooch accidently got into some caffeine, there’s no need to panic immediately. Just keep a close eye on Fido for any of the above symptoms. As long as he only lapped up a little coffee and doesn’t develop serious symptoms of caffeine poisoning, he should be fine.
If Fido had a lot of coffee or develops signs of serious caffeine poisoning, he may need to be rushed to an emergency veterinarian. There’s no direct antidote for caffeine poisoning, but a vet may:
- induce vomiting, to prevent more caffeine from entering the blood vessels
- prescribe anti-seizure pills
- treat with medication to reduce blood pressure
A vet will likely want to keep your dog at their office for several hours, so they can watch for any complications that may develop.
Please, refrain from giving Fido any coffee, no matter how much you might want to share some with him. It’s not good for him, even in small doses, and can be seriously harmful in larger doses. He might accidentally get into your coffee one day, and you’ll need to watch him carefully if he does. You shouldn’t ever entice him with it, though.