Dogs should not eat coffee beans on a regular basis. If a few beans end up in your dog’s monthly diet by accident, that’s okay. But, if your dog finishes an entire bag of coffee beans – you should consult a vet as soon as possible.
Dogs are experts when it comes to sniffing out tasty or smelly food lying around. They will quickly gulp it down even before you get the chance to snatch it away. Your 4-legged pals will raid the fridge, cupboard and garbage cans without your knowledge. However, not all types of foods can be deemed to be “dog-friendly”.
Knowing what types of foods or products are toxic to your dogs helps in preventing accidental food poisonings.
Coffee Beans and Caffeine
Compared to human beings, pets tend to be more sensitive to caffeine effects. The chemical boost from caffeine can be toxic for your pet and a moderate amount can easily cause death.
Coffee beans contain caffeine. Unlike instant or brewed coffee, the levels of caffeine in coffee beans are highly concentrated and may trigger immediate symptoms of clinical toxicity in most pets.
This brings to the fore the importance of how your coffee products are stored, including the discarded grounds. Ensure your pet doesn’t get access to the contents of your cupboard or trash can.
Symptoms of Toxicity
The caffeine toxicity symptoms in dogs will depend on the consumed amount. However, if the dog has ingested coffee beans, within minutes, he will start panting, throwing up, becoming sweaty, developing diarrhea, and may have a high fever. Often the pet’s vomitus will have undigested coffee beans, a good clue to what the dog ingested. If the consumed amount was high, the dog may get seizures and even die.
Pets may not only become hyperactive but could also have a higher than normal heart rate. They get restless, jittery, and cannot stay still. They may vocalize excessively by barking endlessly just like caffeine-laden people do talk a lot!
Similar to all cases of poisoning, human or pet, successful treatment lies in early intervention. If Fido has eaten coffee beans or consumed some coffee, call your veterinarian immediately.
Although there’s no direct or instant antidote for pet caffeine poisoning, your vet may induce vomiting to decontaminate and also administer several doses of activated charcoal. Aggressive IV fluids may be given to help with excretion.
The pet may be given sedatives to calm him down. In addition, specific heart medications can be administered to reduce blood pressure and heart rate. If the dog is experiencing convulsions or seizures, anti-convulsants are good as well as antacids for stomach discomfort and cases of diarrhea.
There is a possibility of the caffeine being reabsorbed through the bladder wall. For that, the vet may opt for a urinary catheter or recommend frequent walks to help your dog keep the bladder empty.
It may be essential to maintain continuous hydration for a couple of days to help in completely getting rid of the caffeine from the pet’s body.
If you want to keep your dog safe, keep all products that contain caffeine such as coffee beans, grounds, powder, and chocolate products out of reach. If your pet ingests caffeine, it may take just half an hour to 60 minutes to peak in their bloodstream concentrations and begin causing signs of severe clinical toxicity.
The dog might accidentally eat coffee beans one day, and for that, you’ll need to seek immediate assistance from the pet vet.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.