Coffee may be an excellent way for us to receive an uplift for the upcoming hard day. That’s partly because humans very easily tolerate coffee even in pretty large amounts.
But one day, you may have found your pet licking the contents of your coffee mug. You took away the mug and asked yourself this question –is coffee bad for your pet?
We are going to give an answer to this question today.
So, is coffee bad for dogs and cats?
Is coffee bad for dogs and cats?
Coffee is indeed bad for dogs and cats, especially for dogs due to their indiscriminate eating habits. The main component of coffee that makes it toxic to pets is caffeine.
Cats and dogs metabolize caffeine noticeably slower than humans, which is why humans can tolerate it pretty well, while animals cannot.
In humans, the lethal dose of caffeine is often estimated to be 150-200 mg per kilogram of body mass, while in dogs and cats, it is estimated to be around 140 mg/kg (63 mg/lb.)and 80-150 mg/kg (36-68 mg/lb.) respectively.
For some perspective, have a look at this chart describing how much caffeine-containing products dogs and cats would need to consume in order to become lethally intoxicated:
1-10 lbs. (0.45-4.6 kg)
11-25 lbs. (5-11.4 kg)
26-40 lbs. (11.8-18.2 kg)
41-70 lbs. (18.6-31.8kg)
71-90 lbs. (32.3-40.9 kg)
91-110 lbs. (41.4-50 kg)
1-10 lbs. (0.45-4.6kg)
11-25 lbs. (5-11.4 kg)
> 0.1 oz.
> 1 oz.
> 2.5 oz.
> 4.5 oz.
> 7.5 oz.
> 0.05 oz.
> 3 oz.
> 38.5 oz.
> 144.5 oz.
> 251 oz.
> 321 oz.
> 1.5 oz.
> 78.5 oz.
> 2064 oz.
> 3254 oz.
> 5652 oz.
> 7244 oz.
> 45 oz.
> 500 oz.
> 3 oz.
> 38.5 oz.
> 91.5 oz.
> 144.5 oz.
> 251 oz.
> 321 oz.
> 1.5 oz.
> 22 oz.
> 8 oz.
> 93 oz.
> 220 oz.
> 4.5 oz.
> 53 oz.
This chart demonstrates, first of all, that tolerance to caffeine is largely related to the body mass and thus size. The larger the size of the animal, the better it will be handling caffeine, which is most likely due to the size of the liver and kidneys.
The second thing you notice from this chart is that cats are generally less tolerant of caffeine than dogs. Again, tolerance in cats depends on the mass and size of the pet.
It should be noted that body mass and size aren’t the only factors that impact the tolerability of pets to caffeine. Things like kidney and overall health condition or fullness of the stomach at the moment of caffeine consumption are serious factors that do impact pets’ tolerance to caffeine.
The last thing demonstrated by the chart above is that coffee isn’t the only beverage containing caffeine. Products like tea, energy drinks, or coffee supplements also contain varying concentrations of caffeine and thus pose a risk to your pet’s health.
All in all, one or two licks of coffee are very unlikely to cause caffeine poisoning in pets. What does pose a significant risk though is consumption of unused coffee grounds, bens, supplements, or tea bags. Those are the products that should bein accessible to your pet.
So in the end, is coffee bad for dogs and cats? It is, but it will depend on the amount of caffeine consumed.
Signs of caffeine poisoning
No matter how careful you are with your coffee products, your pet may still find a way to take a bite on them or drink them. Fortunately, caffeine ingestion will cause some common signs to occur, allowing you to take the necessary measures.
The most common signs to keep an eye out for are:
- Elevated heart rate.
- Abnormal heart rhythm.
- Elevated blood pressure.
- Elevated body temperature.
- More frequent urination
These symptoms are common for milder in toxications. In severe cases,seizures and death are highly likely.
What to do if you suspect coffee poisoning in your pet?
If you do notice any of the aforementioned symptoms in your pet, you should immediately take your pet to the vet. It is crucial that you do not lose any time and seek medical help as soon as possible.
Do not attempt to treat your pet on your own. Namely, do not attempt to induce vomiting in your pet or waste time on typing “is coffee bad for dogs and cats?” in Google Search. No one can provide your pet with better treatment than a vet. To avoid complications and a lethal outcome, immediately take your pet to the vet once you spot something unusual.
Diagnosis takes time, especially if you aren’t completely sure that it was caffeine that caused an adverse reaction in your pet.To assess the pet’s condition, your vet may test its blood, urine, and stomach fluid in order to determine what the condition was caused by.The vet may also need to rule out other possible conditions that could cause the adverse reaction.
If you are sure that your pet has consumed caffeine, things will be easier for the vet. After a quick diagnosis to assess the pet’s condition, the vet will be able to proceed to the treatment.
Diagnosis may be time-consuming, which is why it is crucial that you take your pet to the vet upon spotting the symptoms of intoxication without wasting any time. Again, do not attempt to treat your pet on your own, nor waste time on asking questions online on some forum.
Treatment by the vet
Usually, it takes 24-48 hours for the caffeine to pass through the body of pets. In the meantime, the vet may perform certain procedures to try and save the pet.
The first procedure the vet may attempt is inducing vomiting in the pet. This method is effective at removing the caffeinated product from the stomach before caffeine has made it into the bloodstream.However, inducing vomiting will be much less effective or completely ineffective if too much time has passed.
Alternatively, gastrointestinal decontamination may be used in order to flush out the contents of the stomach.
If emesis has occurred successfully, vets generally administer activated charcoal. While in the stomach, it will prevent the absorption of caffeine by the body.
In case seizures occur in the pet, the vet will administer medications in order to control the condition of the pet. Stabilization is required so that the pet can receive the necessary treatment.
To be fair, you do not really need to know what procedures your vet will be performing to save your pet. The thing that you need to do is to bring your pet in time for treatment.
We described what procedures your vet may perform so you understand that caffeine poisoning is a serious condition that needs appropriate and timely treatment. Again, you should not attempt to treat your pet yourself since you will not have the means of doing so.
Recovery of caffeine poisoning in pets
The success of the recovery depends on several factors, mainly:
- Amount of caffeine consumed.
- How early the pet received treatment after caffeine intake.
- The health condition of the pet.
If untreated, critical doses of caffeine may lead to central nervous system conditions like collapse or seizures. Besides, a lethal outcome would be very likely.
If treated on time, the prognosis is very likely to be good. After successful treatment, your vet will provide you with specific after-care instructions – side effects to watch out for, how to administer medications, etc. Your pet may also need an additional checkup at the vet after some time to confirm thatyour dog or cat is alright.
Do make sure to follow after-care the instructions provided by your vet. This will allow your pet to avoid any post-treatment complications.
How to keep your pet safe from caffeine poisoning?
“Is coffee bad for dogs and cats?” has received its answer. Now, it is time to learn how to keep your pet safe.
It is much more reasonable to avoid caffeine intoxication rather than to battle it. Thus, what you need to do is make sure that your pet has no access to your caffeine products.
It isn’t just enough to keep your coffee in a cabinet or a drawer. Seeking ways to taste the treat, your pet may figure out ways to access the caffeine-rich product. Keep your caffeinated products in an area that is out of the reach for your pet. If necessary, lock down the cabinet that contains the dangerous stuff.
Also, use your caffeinated products with care. If you lose a Vivarin tablet as a result of carelessness, your pet may find it rather quickly and, what’s way worse, try to taste it.
Lastly, you shouldn’t allow your pet to consume coffee or tea no matter how safe it may be for them. Your pet shouldn’t develop a habit of licking your coffee since it could lead to dangerous outcomes in the long run,
And remember, if your pet does manage to consume a lot of caffeine, go straight to the vet.
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