Anyone with a dog will know that they are a member of the family and we love and care for them in the same way as we do any human loved one so it is only natural to want to know, can dogs have coffee?
Coffee is consumed by most people every day and a lot of the time multiple cups are drunk on a daily basis so there are will almost certainly be occasions when your dog will be confronted by a cup of your favourite brew and maybe you are not in the room.
In your absence, they will be tempted to have a few slurps because……… well as we know they don’t need a reason. It’s there, it’s a liquid, it smells good so it must be worth a try.
Or maybe you just want to share your favourite drink with your dog. After all, you drink 2-4 cups of coffee a day or more and you want your dog to enjoy it as much as you do but you want to check first if it is it ok for a dog to drink coffee?
We have researched the science of it and can safely inform you that you should not let your dog drink coffee. Caffeine is the culprit and whilst we love a good caffeine hit to give us a boost in the mornings or to perk us up to get us through an afternoon at work, caffeine is harmful to dogs and most pets.
Why Is coffee bad for a dog?
It’s all about the caffeine. Dogs are much more sensitive to caffeine than humans are and in addition to that their body mass is a lot less than the average human.
So if your dog’s body weight is 1/5 of yours and your dog drank one cup of coffee that would be the equivalent of you drinking 5 cups of coffee in one go.
Think about the energy boost you get from drinking one cup of coffee slowly and imagine what it would be like to down 5 cups of coffee quickly!
That’s what it would feel like for a dog but much worse because you have to add the fact that dogs have a greater sensitivity to caffeine than we do.
A few laps won’t be much of an issue because they will only be ingesting a small amount of caffeine but it also depends on the size of a dog. A Chihuahua is going to be much more affected by a cup of coffee than a Great Dane.
This is a similar thing to trying to work out how much alcohol you can drink and still be safe to drive. The legal limit is measured based on the amount of alcohol you have in your bloodstream as a percentage of all your blood and not based on the amount of alcohol you drink because it’s different for everyone.
A 20 stone man who had just eaten a hearty meal may well be under the legal limit for driving if they drank 2 pints of lager (they also may not) but an 8 stone woman that drank 1 pint on an empty stomach could be over the limit.
The smaller the dog the more they are at risk if they consume coffee purely due to the size of their body mass.
If you suspect or know that your dog has consumed coffee in liquid form or beans or ground coffee then keep a close eye on them.
If they start to exhibit symptoms such as hyperactivity, tremors or vomiting then you should take them urgently to the vet.
Don’t forget that it’s not just coffee you need to be aware of. There are lots of other food and drink products that contain caffeine such as tea, soft drinks, chocolate and ice cream.
It’s best to keep your dog away from caffeine full stop so always check food products for caffeine content before giving them to your dog to be safe.
Can dogs drink decaf coffee?
This is very deceiving because the word “decaffeinated” suggests that decaf coffee has no caffeine in it but this is not the case, it still contains some caffeine.
Coffee beans that carry the decaffeinated label have to have 97% of the caffeine removed to qualify but they are not totally caffeine free.
Different types of coffee beans contain different amounts of caffeine as well so if you are drinking decaf coffee that had a very high level of caffeine to start with and 97% has been removed it could still contain enough caffeine to have an adverse effect on your dog if drunk or consumed (in the case of decaf coffee beans) in large quantities.
Because caffeine is the main ingredient in coffee that can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s health it is not as bad if your dog consumes decaf coffee compared to fully caffeinated coffee but it is best to keep your dog well clear of all coffee products regardless of whether they are caffeinated or decaffeinated.
Why are dogs attracted to coffee?
Coffee has a very strong aroma and one of the things that dogs have always had is a very strong sense of smell.
Think about how powerful a coffee aroma is when you walk into a room where a pot has been freshly brewed or when you go into a coffee shop.
Now imagine that smell multiplied by 200. That’s what it feels like to a dog so no wonder they will be all over a cup of coffee given the opportunity.
It’s hard to imagine just how powerful a dogs sense of smell is so to use an analogy that puts it into perspective, if we could see as well as dogs can smell then we would be able to clearly see a small object that is 50 miles away.
Dogs have always had the ability to pick up a scent and follow it and humans have put that to good use throughout history.
Mainly used for tracking prey for many centuries the powerful scent that dogs have were put to different uses in more modern times.
Dogs can be trained to sniff out almost anything and many lives have been saved with dogs abilities being used by the armed forces to sniff out unexploded landmines during wartimes in particular during world war 2.
This then saw widespread use of detection dogs at airports and ports to sniff out illegal drugs, currency and anything illegal that was trying to be smuggled that could easily be hidden from view but could not escape the powerful scent that dogs possess.
So if dogs can sniff out a dodgy £20 note in someone’s back pocket then no wonder they are going to want to get involved in a cup of coffee if they can.
In times gone by we would have happily let our dogs share our coffee with us but now we know that the caffeine in coffee is harmful to dogs its best to make a point of ensuring that they never get their paws on any of your stash whether it be in whole bean form, ground or liquid.
Keep your dog away from coffee!
Is it good for you to drink coffee and have a dog?
We have established that it is a very bad idea to let your dog anywhere near coffee but there have been a huge number of scientific studies that prove that drinking coffee on a regular basis is beneficial to humans.
Here is a more in-depth article explaining why coffee is good for you.
If you drink coffee on a regular basis it can make you less likely to contract illness but if you drink coffee AND you own a dog then you get even more benefit than if you just drink coffee on its own.
If you own a dog you will know that most dogs need to be walked on a regular basis and walking the dog means walking yourself.
Everyone knows that getting the right amount of exercise on a weekly basis has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing so if you like coffee and you have a dog that you take on walks on a regular basis then by enjoying your coffee and enjoying your dog you are improving and enhancing your life and getting significant health benefits as well.
So the moral of the story is drink lots of coffee, take your dog on lots of walks but don’t let the dog anywhere near the coffee!