If you spill coffee on the floor and your pooch has lick or two before you can clean it up, Fido will probably be alright. If he ever drinks your entire cup of coffee, though, you may need to take him to a veterinary hospital. Here's how caffeine affects dogs and how a veterinarian may be able to treat yours if they ever get caffeine poisoning.
Caffeine Poisons Dogs
In dogs, just as in humans, caffeine affects how the nervous system functions. Canines, however, have a lower tolerance for caffeine than people do. If your dog ingests any significant amount of coffee, they may get caffeine poisoning. In dogs, caffeine poisoning results in the following symptoms:
- twitches and tremors
- faster heart rates
At concentrated levels, caffeine is lethal to dogs. According to Provet, caffeine is deadly for dogs at a dosage of 150 milligrams per 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram).
A 50-pound Labrador would have to drink a lot of coffee to consume a lethal amount of caffeine. Toy breeds that only weigh 2 or 3 pounds, however, could conceivable reach these levels if they had just one or two cups of coffee since the average 8-ounce cup of coffee has 200 milligrams of caffeine.
Dogs that Have Caffeine Poisoning Need Treatment
Dogs that have consumed coffee should be promptly taken to a veterinary hospital, like Metzger Animal Hospital, for treatment, since caffeine can have adverse effects even when it's not near lethal levels. The symptoms of caffeine poisoning can set in an hour or two after it's ingested, so you shouldn't wait for signs of caffeine poisoning to show up before you take your dog to a vet. As soon as you realize your dog has had a lot coffee, you should take him in for treatment.
At a veterinary hospital, vets may treat the symptoms of caffeine poisoning by
- prescribing blood-reducing medications
- administering anti-seizure medicine
- inducing vomiting
These treatments can reduce the effect of caffeine and help your dog cope with the side effects of caffeine poisoning. The sooner they can be instituted, the more they can get help.
If your four-legged friend consumes some coffee by accident, though, don't delay treatment. Take them directly to a veterinary hospital where they can receive medical attention. Doing so could save their life, and it will at least mitigate some of the symptoms associated with caffeine poisoning in dogs.