January 03, 2024

What really happens when pets steal your coffee

What really happens when pets steal your coffee
Dr. Chris Brown

Sure their energy levels suggest they don’t need one, but what genuinely happens when your dog steals a sip from your coffee when you’re not looking? Or maybe just drinks the whole thing…

Let’s find out…

Everyone knows about chocolate. But with coffee being such an every day drink for so many of us, the chance of encountering a stray cup left unattended surely means some casual coffee consumption is a much higher risk right? So I thought I’d do some investigating…

This idea of dogs drinking coffee came to my attention from a video that’s currently going viral online of a dachshund sneakily drinking his owner’s coffee while she’s out of the room. It’s cute, but is it dangerous?

For starters, the taste should be appealing so stray sips can take place. The milk (and sugar) we mix with coffee elevates the sweetness over the bitterness enough that most dogs will be interested.

But of course there’s danger. The caffeine that gives us a buzz has a similar effect on dogs to the theobromine in chocolate. It sends their nervous system haywire with vomiting, diarrhoea, fast heart rate, tremors, seizures and even death.

So can one sip cause problems? In one word, no. But it’s still not a good idea. A standard FULL cup of coffee contains 100-200mg caffeine with the lethal dose of caffeine is 150mg/kg. So unless you’re a 1kg chihuahua looking to drink an entire long black, fatal effects are unlikely. For small to medium dogs however, drinking an entire cup could still give them quite significant tremoring and a very scary hospital visit. Even large dogs will be visibly affected by drinking a whole cup. So just avoid it altogether. It’s not for them. Just don’t panic if they only steal a lick.

But please remind them to stick to the waters. The last thing we need is another complicated coffee order for your local barista to handle. Decaf, lactose free, poppa-latte anyone?!

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