Today, there are roughly 78.2 million dog owners in the US. This means that an impressive 39% of American households have at least one dog to call their own. In fact, 28% of dog owners have two dogs or more.
Can You Protect Man’s Best Friend from Household Dangers?
When you dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that dogs are called man’s best friend for a reason. Not only have dogs been used for years as part of treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, but five different families in the US and Canada were saved by their dogs in household fires from January 19-31, 2008. How’s that for impressive?
If your pooch has been by your side through thick and thin, it only makes sense that you would want to return the favor. Maybe you often take your pup for a run in the park, buy him his favorite treats, and scratch his belly after a long day.
But what many dog owners neglect to consider is how curious these four-legged creatures can be. If you leave your dog alone for a minute – that’s it. You can kiss your favorite shoes, handbag, or wallet goodbye. Likewise, dogs are well known for digging in the trash to get just a few delicious morsels of food as an afternoon snack.
If you take a moment to search the Internet for how to deal with a dog pawing through the trash, you’ll quickly realize that it’s a common issue that most pet owners face at one time or another. Even with the proper Caesar-Milan-inspired training, your dog may still succumb to a moment of weakness and decide to dine and dash – after knocking over your kitchen trash.
Although the “naughty” behavior may seem innocent, who knows what your dog will uncover in the garbage? Before you know it, your dog may have eaten something toxic yet oh-so-delicious: a common household substance that has been known to cause hyperactivity, restlessness, vomiting, and even seizures in some pups. By now, you can guess where we’re going with this.
Coffee is a hidden household danger that could cause fatalities in some small dogs. – (tweet this)
Before you give up your coffee drinking habit altogether, hold the phone. Instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater, you can read on to learn 5 important reasons why coffee could harm your dog. You’ll also find out what symptoms to watch out for if your dog has already done the unthinkable and has eaten coffee grounds out of the trash.
5 Ways That Caffeine Affects Your Dog: Serious Warning Signs to Watch Out For
Or, maybe you’re one of the lucky few that has your pet perfectly trained. But that still doesn’t mean that your pooch doesn’t have a few strange habits, like drinking out of your coffee cup as you snuggle together on the couch in the morning.
As cute as this bonding ritual may be, it’s never a good idea to give a dog coffee, under any circumstance. Though your dog may have had a cup of Joe or two without any visible side effects, it’s yet another case of “better safe than sorry.”
Now onto the reason why we’re all here… Caffeine falls in the category of methylxanthines, also found in chocolate – another toxic substance for dogs. If your dog ingests this toxin in high doses, it could cause a number of health issues like:
- Hyperactivity/Restlessness: Once a dog ingests caffeine, it will immediately affect the central nervous system. Even the mildest symptoms may include extreme hyperactivity and restlessness, regardless of the breed.
- Vomiting: As the body starts to reject the toxicity after ingesting caffeine, a dog may vomit or have diarrhea. These symptoms will normally occur within 24 hours as a moderate sign of a caffeine overdose.
- Irregular Heart Rate: When a human drinks coffee, caffeine immediately affects the central nervous system to help you perk up and feel more alert. What many pet owners don’t realize is that dogs metabolize coffee even more quickly to result in rapid breathing and an irregular heart rate.
- Poisoning: As the symptoms progress after a dog eats coffee grounds out of the trash, full-on poisoning may occur. Roughly 150 mg of caffeine per kilogram is considered to be a lethal dose of caffeine for a dog. Caffeine poisoning can alter the mood, increase respiration, and even cause tremors in some cases.
- Death: Although it is unpleasant to think about, one of the worst outcomes of a dog ingesting a large amount of caffeine is death. This is an especially high risk in small breeds that may react strongly to even a small dose of caffeine. According to Ask a Vet Question, if a dog consumes a full cup of coffee, it could be fatal.
Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?
Even though you may be able to drink coffee to your heart’s content, make no mistake that a dog is much more sensitive to caffeine than a human being. Nonetheless, if you look forward to sharing a cup of Joe with your pup each morning, some vets reveal that a dog can drink decaf without any side effects. But… make sure that your dog doesn’t drink decaf with cream, which could cause gastrointestinal issues.
If your dog has been acting a little funny after digging through the trash, watch for classic symptoms of poisoning that may include:
- Diarrhea and vomiting – caused by gastrointestinal distress
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of coordination
At this point, it’s important to contact your veterinarian for help; your vet will likely request more information about your dog’s weight and how much coffee they’ve consumed. In an emergency, you may have to visit the ER, where your dog will be given charcoal to absorb toxins from the intestines – as was the case with this hyperactive Australian Shepherd who ate Nicaraguan coffee beans.
By keeping an eye on your pooch and keeping your trash sealed and locked up, you can prevent any disasters caused by a curious dog digging for scraps. Of course, coffee has a few benefits for dogs, as long as they’re not drinking it. Coffee can neutralize odors when used in a shampoo, as well as exfoliate to get rid of dry, itchy skin.