Someone eats coffee grounds

Coffee poisoning in dogs

Are you one of those people who, like most people, start the day with a cup of coffee? Your dog does not need this, it is immediately fit and starts the day. Even if he feels tired at some point later, he can take a nap without a guilty conscience. Coffee is also poisonous for our dear four-legged friends and can have really bad consequences.


What can cause caffeine poisoning in dogs?

Insufficiently secured foods containing caffeine are the most common source of poisoning. Most people think of coffee primarily and it is also one of the most common sources, but other foods also contain caffeine. There is also a significant amount of caffeine in tea and energy drinks. Even chocolates with coffee, certain weight loss products, and soda drinks can contain caffeine.

The theobromine contained in chocolate is a close relative of caffeine and can also lead to poisoning in dogs and cats. Not to forget ice cream and coffee-flavored liqueurs. The chocolate-coated coffee bean is a doubly toxic snack.


Signs of caffeine poisoning

Caffeine has a stimulating effect on the circulation and body functions. The animals feel a bit like us humans after 3 cups of strong coffee. The stimulating effect is expressed in:

  • General restlessness
  • Hyperactivity
  • Panting
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Palpitations and arrhythmias
  • Increased water excretion
  • Vomit
  • Diarrhea and abdominal pain
  • Tremble
  • cramps
  • Incoordination

Caffeine increases blood pressure and can cause life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Severe poisoning can lead to an increase in body temperature. In severe cases, dogs can go into a coma and cardiovascular arrest. The severity of the symptoms depends directly on the amount of caffeine consumed.

How much caffeine is in ...


sourceCaffeine content
Coffee beans1-2%
Tea leaves2-5%
1 cup of coffee50-200mg
1 cup of tea40-100mg
Cola drink250mg per liter

The maximum blood level is reached after just 1-2 hours. The first symptoms appear after 2-4 hours. The lowest lethal dose for a dog is around 150mg per kg of body weight. Detoxification and symptomatic treatment are advisable well below this dose. Death can occur after 18-24 hours. Anyone who permanently supplies their dog with caffeine (or theobromine) must expect to cause heart failure.


What kind of treatment is necessary?

As with all poisoning, it is important to act quickly. Especially if vomiting can be induced before the onset of the first symptoms, there are often no signs of intoxication. In dogs that are already showing signs of coffee poisoning, body functions need to be stabilized. Because of the increasing risk of dehydration, infusions are often necessary. In the case of muscle tremors and seizures, medication is needed to calm down. Lowering your heart rate and blood pressure may also be necessary. With adequate treatment, the animals need to be in-patient for several days.


Will the dog survive coffee poisoning?

For dogs with slight signs (restlessness and a slightly increased heart rate) the chances are very good. As soon as severe symptoms such as coma or convulsions develop, the chances are very bad.