A morning cup of coffee is a wake-up routine for many of us and it is normal to want to share with your pet. Even though there are many foods that are perfectly fine to share with your pet-and even healthy- it is important to understand whether coffee is safe dog food. However, our pets are more sensitive to caffeine than we are.
Caffeine in coffee, coffee grounds, tea, chocolate, and soft drinks, all of which contain theophylline and theobromine. These cardiac stimulants can cause palpitation and abnormal heartbeats and damage to the central nervous system. Within 1-2 hours of pet ingestion, symptoms can include mild to severe hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, hypertension, labored breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, fever and seizures. These are the signs of poisoning, which are the same for tainted dog food, coffee, alcohol or any other substance. This requires an immediate trip to the vet.
The caffeine can leave you with a dog that is wound up which is especially terrible if you\’re on your way out of the house. This makes them more apt to chew, eat things that aren\’t dog food, and get into trouble they may not otherwise get into. Even if you have an otherwise calm dog, you will find that the coffee can cause them to become restless.
Is a Little Coffee Safe?
While one to two laps of coffee or tea will not contain enough caffeine to harm most pets, the ingestion of moderate amounts of the drug in the form of coffee grounds, tea bags or 1-2 diet pills can cause death in small dogs or cats. There are also some animals who can become addicted to the coffee and beg for it in the morning which is not something you want to go through. It\’s best to just keep caffeine away from all forms of dog food.
The Coffee Alternative
Instead of giving your dog any of your morning coffee, consider finding another type of treat to add to their dog food. Perhaps a dollop of peanut butter in their kibble. Maybe mix in some wet dog food with the dry. While you enjoy your human treat, give them some treat of their own that they won\’t have to covet.
If you shared your coffee as a way to spend more time with your dog, consider something away from dog food and coffee in the morning. Perhaps through in a morning walk before work. This will give your dog the exercise they need and can be a great way for you to multitask. Even if you do not want to walk this early in the morning, just spending time with your dog playing and petting them is better than the best coffee you could give them.