is coffee bad for petsCoffee is the life blood of most humans, and that morning pick-me-up is a must before heading out to face the day. Coffee is something that is easily accessible, and that means that it may also be within easy reach for a curious canine or other family pet. Add cream and sugar, and what’s more of an allure to our whiskered and tailed friends?

But is coffee bad for pets? And what should you do if you catch your pet licking up the java? Your friends at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services are here to clarify why this common substance can turn into a trip to the vet.

The Scoop on Caffeine

Coffee can have many benefits. Not only does it wake us up and get us moving, it also contains some powerful antioxidants. Of course, there can be trouble brewing if you down a few pots a day. Heavy caffeine consumption can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure, heart palpitations, insomnia, and anxiety.

Coffee, energy drinks, tea, and caffeinated soda all contain caffeine. Caffeine is a crystalline compound that stimulates the central nervous system. A similar compound, theobromine, is also found in chocolate. Both of these chemicals can cause toxicity if consumed by pets, and all of these effects are much more severe on our small companions.

Caffeine and Pets

Since caffeine effectively ramps up the brain and central nervous system, a cup of coffee may just be enough to wake us up. However, too much caffeine can have lethal consequences for pets, who are smaller and have less ability to process this psychoactive chemical.

Symptoms of caffeine poisoning in pets can include:

  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

The effects of caffeine consumption in pets depend on the amount consumed and the weight of your pet. Eight ounces of coffee contains about 100 mg of caffeine. To be lethal to a pet, it would be at a ratio of 150 milligrams per 2.2 pounds of weight. So if your pet laps up a cup, it is unlikely to be fatal, but it can cause your pet to be quite ill.

If you suspect your pet has consumed something with caffeine in it, please contact your veterinarian for instructions.

Is Coffee Bad for Pets?

Clearly, the benefits we get from taking that first amazing sip does not translate to Rover. Chocolate, energy drinks, sofa, diet pills, and any food items that contain caffeine and chemicals that mimic caffeine are off limits to our animal friends.

Our suggestion for a quick pick-me-up is to grab that leash and head out for a brisk walk. Not only will this wake you up, it will give you and your pet the necessary daily exercise that is truly good for the body and soul.

For more information on caffeine and pets, please contact the OVRS team.