Can dogs drink coffee?

We love dogs. We love coffee. But do they mix?

Maybe Fido got into a bag of beans when you weren’t home. Or maybe you’re just curious. As a roasting company that helps save dogs, we figured we should know the answer. 

The answer is no. 

Coffee contains caffeine, and caffeine is a methylxanthine – one of the compounds that makes chocolate toxic for dogs. You and I are able to consume caffeine safely because our metabolisms are faster than Fido’s, according to Lynn Buzhardt, DVM. When dogs consume caffeine, it stays in their systems long enough to build up toxicity.

When it’s consumed, caffeine has a similar effect on dogs as it does on humans – increased heart rate, the jitters, more speaking (barking), etc. However, since dogs are more sensitive to caffeine, they are likely to experience these effects more intensely after consuming a similar dose.

Toxicity reactions can start to appear 30 minutes after a dog consumes caffeine. Such reactions include loss of muscle control, tremors, vomiting, and diarrhea. If it consumes too much, a dog might get a fever, collapse, or in severe cases, die. 

But you shouldn’t worry too much if Fido only had a few sips.

A dog’s tolerance to caffeine depends on its size and weight. Typically, for every pound of pup, it takes about 68 milligrams of caffeine to be lethal. So a 20-pound pup would only need to consume 1360 milligrams of caffeine to be at risk of death. Yes, that’s 9 cups of coffee – a lot of liquid for one dog. But if you have a curious puppy who stumbles upon the coffee cupboard, one 12oz bag of beans would put him at about 2850 milligrams of caffeine. 

So why have we been told to keep chocolate away from dogs when coffee can be just as dangerous?

We’ll bet it’s because dogs prefer chocolate cake over a cup of joe. 

Chocolate is also more toxic than caffeine is for dogs, the dose for dose, according to a study by the University of Veterinary Medicine in Košice. This is because chocolate contains theobromine, another toxic methylxanthine that has similar effects on a dog’s system. One bar of dark chocolate contains 80 milligrams of caffeine and 810 milligrams of theobromine – enough to make a small dog sick. Keep those chocolate-covered espresso beans on the top shelf. 

And don’t be fooled by our cute branding materials – we sell coffee to feed dogs, not to feed TO dogs. 

If you think your dog has consumed chocolate or caffeine, please call your vet.