Dogs are naturally energetic creatures.
Their ability to run, jump and fetch all day leaves something to be desired.
As dogs seem to have this innate desire to keep moving all day, should they even be allowed to have caffeine?
Is giving a dog caffeine even safe?
Dogs sniff and try to eat almost anything, so it is not a shock when your dog attempts to lick your morning coffee or afternoon energy drink.
I have definitely played the game of “just wait and see if they get sick and then we will call the vet”, but you do not want to have to play that game.
According to the American Kennel Club and Veterinary Care Animals, caffeine IS harmful for dogs, however a sip of coffee or a lick of an energy drink will not cause caffeine toxicity.
Caffeine is a stimulant. As humans, our bodies have the ability to process the effects of caffeine, but since dogs’ bodies are so much smaller than us, their bodies do not have the ability to process the effects of caffeine as quickly as ours do. For this reason, dogs can get caffeine toxicity.
Caffeine poisoning occurs when there is too much caffeine ingested for the body to handle.
The VCA says, “ Symptoms can occur with the consumption of 9 mg/pound of caffeine. Severe illness can occur at 20 mg/pound. Seizures and death are possible after a pet consumes 75- 100 mg/pound.”
As dogs cannot vocalize how they are feeling, the amount of caffeine a dog may ingest can become toxic.
According to the American Kennel Club, the symptoms of caffeine toxicity can include: agitation, restlessness, vomiting, panting, elevated heart rate, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, elevated body temperature, and in severe cases ,seizures and tremors can occur. Caffeine can kill a dog if too much is ingested, but that is typically in very extreme cases.
If you do suspect your dog has a case of caffeine toxicity, or caffeine poisoning, please take them to the veterinarian immediately. The effects of caffeine poisoning may begin to take effect in a little as 30 minutes, but can take up to 12 hours.
The vet may have to use medical means to get your dog to vomit so their body gets rid of the excess caffeine in their body so it does not become too much for their body to absorb. Remember to never induce vomiting in your dog on your own.
Your veterinarian will ensure they hydrate your dog before they send them home.
In some cases, your veterinarian will give your dog activated charcoal to flush the body of caffeine.
In conclusion, caffeine is definitely not safe for dogs. Try to avoid giving your dog any types of food or drink that contain caffeine.
Most items geared towards dogs will not contain caffeine, however it is always a good idea to check the ingredients label, especially if you are wary of whether or not the item contains caffeine.
If you feel your dog could potentially have caffeine poisoning, do not play my game; take your dog to the vet.