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Can I give coffee to my dog?

Author: Rémi

When we have a dog, we tend to share all kinds of food with him. However, some foods are dangerous or even toxic for our four-legged friends. What about coffee? The answer is simple: coffee can be dangerous for your dog. Although rare, coffee poisoning in dogs does exist.

Just like chocolate, coffee is a toxic food and should not be given to your dog because of its high caffeine content.

In addition, it also contains substances such as theobromine and theophylline, which are extremely dangerous for your pet.

Indeed, it is important to know that the dog’s body is different from ours and cannot absorb caffeine. Signs of poisoning appear after a few hours and the symptoms may vary, depending on the size of the dog and the dose ingested.

Quantity not to be exceeded?

The toxic dose of coffee in dogs varies according to the brand of coffee because each type of coffee has different concentrations of caffeine. As a general rule, the toxic dose, i.e. the amount of caffeine that causes the first signs of intoxication, is 20 mg/kg of body weight.

The lethal dose, i.e., the amount of caffeine that could cause death in dogs is 140 mg/kg of body weight. In other words, one to one and a half cups of coffee may be enough to cause the death of your dog. Be aware that one gram of coffee beans contains 20 mg of caffeine.

If your dog has only had a few drops by accident, there’s no need to worry. But be sure to watch for any changes in his behaviour.

Signs of coffee poisoning

Depending on the amount of coffee your dog ingests, symptoms may appear between 4 and 6 hours after ingestion. Clinical signs of caffeine poisoning can range from a simple inconvenience to a veterinary emergency.

In mild cases of intoxication, you may observe digestive signs such as vomiting, diarrhoea with a deterioration of your dog’s general condition.

In more severe cases, there may be an increase in heart rate (palpitations) accompanied by increased breathing, restlessness and trembling. The dog may faint, collapse before going into coma and dying, in cases of severe poisoning.

What should I do if my dog drank coffee?

The severity of intoxication depends, as mentioned, on the amount of coffee ingested.

If it’s very small and your dog doesn’t show any apparent signs, there’s no need to worry, but still stay alert by watching and observing him. If the amount ingested is significant and the signs of intoxication serious and worry you, don’t delay in calling or consulting a veterinarian, as this may be an emergency and prompt care can save your dog.

However, if it is not possible to consult a veterinarian, there are two solutions:

  • Get your dog to vomit: you can use activated charcoal or oxygen peroxide, which can solve the problem of caffeine poisoning.
  • Make sure your dog has a bowel movement: this way, your dog will be able to eliminate the toxic substances in his feces and avoid their absorption. Laxatives are effective in controlling bowel movements.

In summary, it is strongly discouraged to give your dog even a small amount of coffee. Simply eliminate this food from your dog’s diet.

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