For you, coffee might be an absolute necessity when it comes to getting your day off to a good start, but it's a definite and strict no-no for ALL dogs -- period. Do not take this matter lightly. That means never leaving your dog unattended with a cup of joe.
"No" to Coffee for Dogs
Coffee, like chocolate, consists of methylxanthines. These compounds are derived out of cacao seeds, which are a primary component in making coffee. Methylxanthines are not only hazardous for dogs, but also for other pets, such as cats.
Symptoms of Coffee Toxicity
Coffee is toxic to dogs, especially in big amounts, although it is not safe for them to consume even the slightest taste of it. Coffee consumption can trigger a wide array of extremely serious consequences in canines. Some symptoms to look out for include antsy behavior, bursts of energy, raised body temperature, quivering, throwing up, panting, diarrhea, seizures, frequent urination, immoderate thirst and rapid heart rate. These indications often show up shortly after consumption of caffeine. If you have any reason at all to think that your dog might have had any coffee, or if you notice even the slightest hint of these symptoms or anything else out of the ordinary, get emergency veterinary help immediately.
Fatal to Pets
Along with the range of complications that coffee drinking can bring upon in dogs, it also can sometimes lead to fatal consequences, particularly in smaller animals, but definitely not exclusively to them. Coffee -- and its methylxanthines -- can affect your pet's heart rate, speeding it up, causing cardiotoxicity, and ultimately death in some cases. Apart from the heart, coffee also can affect dogs' gastrointestinal tracts and central nervous systems. Because of all of these severe possibilities, the quicker you get veterinary assistance for your pooch, the better.
Avoid Coffee in All Forms
Drinking coffee straight out of the mug isn't the only threat to the canine world. The beans and grounds are also problematic for doggies. Espresso beans that are dipped in chocolate are also an extremely inappropriate treat, as both coffee and chocolate are risky to dogs. When it comes to chocolate, remember that the deeper in color the chocolate, the more harmful it is. As with coffee, however, chocolate isn't safe for dogs in any form, whether milk or dark chocolate. Never allow your dog to eat or drink anything if you are unsure of its safety. Also, never allow your dog -- or any other pets -- access to coffee or chocolate products.
By Naomi Millburn
DogChannel.com: People Food - The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The Humane Society of the United States: Foods That Can Be Poisonous to Pets
ASPCA: People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets
Valley Humane Society: Common Pet Toxicosis
Animal Planet: 10 Table Foods Pets Shouldn't Eat
About the Author
Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.