My Dog Drank Coffee, Now What?

Four minutes
Mar 04, 2024

Dogs, known for their insatiable curiosity, can often stumble upon things that could be harmful to their health — like an enticing cup of coffee you momentarily left unattended on the counter. It’s a situation that can happen to anyone. And while it may seem like a minor mishap, the caffeine in coffee can be dangerous to your dog, even in small doses.

Read on to learn what you should do if your dog has accidentally consumed coffee and how caffeine can impact their well-being.

What To Do if My Dog Drank Coffee

If your dog consumes coffee or any other form of caffeine, it’s a good idea to first contact your vet or a local emergency vet and let them know how much caffeine your pet ingested.1 You can also contact the Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 or the Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435, just keep in mind that charges often apply.

You’ll want to monitor your dog for any signs of caffeine toxicity and take them to the nearest emergency facility if you observe symptoms. Don't attempt to induce vomiting on your own without the guidance of your vet, as this could potentially cause more harm.1

What to do if my dog ate coffee grounds or beans

Dogs eating coffee grounds or beans can pose a greater risk to your pet than drinking coffee due to the concentrated levels of caffeine.2 If you suspect your dog has consumed coffee grounds or beans, seek immediate help from your vet or a local emergency vet.

What Does Coffee Do to Dogs?

Consuming coffee isn't safe for dogs because the caffeine found in coffee can be toxic to your furry friend, resulting in caffeine poisoning. Dogs are far more sensitive to caffeine than we are, and even a small amount of caffeine can cause agitation and restlessness. In larger doses, it can wreak havoc on your dog's nervous, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal systems.1

When a dog ingests caffeine, several physiological changes can take place in their body. For instance, caffeine may increase your dog’s heart rate, and they can become hyperactive. It can also raise their blood pressure and cause an irregular heartbeat known as cardiac arrhythmias.3

In addition to caffeine, certain additives commonly found in coffee can be toxic to dogs, such as sweeteners made with xylitol. Even if they’re not toxic, certain added ingredients may contribute to general health issues in your dog. For instance, sugar can upset their stomach — as can milk, if your dog is lactose intolerant.2

Can Dogs Have Decaf Coffee?

While decaffeinated coffee is generally considered less harmful to your dog because of its reduced caffeine content, that doesn’t mean it’s entirely safe. Decaf coffee still contains trace amounts of caffeine and potentially other components, like the additives mentioned above.2 As a general rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to keep your dog away from any form of coffee, including decaf.

Other Sources of Caffeine To Keep Away From Dogs

Coffee isn’t the only caffeinated item you should keep your dog away from. Several other household products contain caffeine and can pose a threat to your dog. Some common ones include:3

  • Tea
  • Soda
  • Energy drinks
  • Candy bars
  • Chocolate (watch out for chocolate-covered coffee beans)
  • Diet pills
  • Certain pain medications

Does Your Dog Eat Things They Shouldn't?

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Signs of Caffeine Toxicity in Dogs

The degree of caffeine toxicity in your dog will ultimately depend on their size and health status.3 Smaller dogs are typically more vulnerable to the effects of caffeine, while larger dogs may be able to tolerate slightly higher doses. It’s also important to consider that dogs with preexisting health conditions, such as kidney disease or heart disease, will generally be more susceptible to the adverse effects of caffeine.3

Caffeine toxicity symptoms can appear quickly. Symptoms can begin within 30 minutes of ingestion and can last for 12 hours or more.3

Here are some common signs and symptoms of caffeine toxicity to look out for:2,3

  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • High blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Hyperactivity
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Agitation
  • Hyperthermia (elevated body temperature)

How Vets Treat Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs

There are several methods a vet might use to treat your dog for caffeine poisoning. The specific treatment can vary based on the amount of caffeine consumed, the severity of symptoms, and the overall health of your dog. Here’s an overview of what your vet might do:2,3

  • Induce vomiting: Your vet might induce vomiting to help remove the toxin from your dog’s system before it’s absorbed entirely.
  • Use activated charcoal: Activated charcoal may be administered to absorb and neutralize the remaining caffeine in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Give intravenous (IV) fluids: IVs may be used to help keep your dog hydrated and flush out the caffeine from the body, as well as support kidney function.
  • Prescribe medications: Medications may be given to manage symptoms, such as seizures, tremors, and low blood pressure.
  • Keep your dog overnight: In mild cases, your dog might require a day of monitoring at the vet clinic, while more severe cases might involve a few days of observation.

How Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Caffeine Toxicity Costs

Consider getting pet insurance from MetLife Pet to help safeguard your dog from accidents, like drinking a spilled cup of coffee or eating something that’s bad for them. In the event of caffeine toxicity or other unexpected incidents, having pet insurance can ease the burden of veterinary expenses. Get a free quote today to learn how you could get up to 90% of covered expenses on your vet bill reimbursed.4

We Can Help You Protect Your Pup

**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.

1 “What Should I Do If My Dog Drank Coffee?” Pet Poison Helpline,

2 “Can Dogs Drink Coffee?” PetMD,

3 “Caffeine Toxicity in Pets,” VCA Animal Hospitals

4 Reimbursement options include: 70%, 80% and 90% and a 50% option for MetGen policies and a 65% option for IAIC policies only. Pet age restrictions may apply.

Coverage issued by Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, and Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 11333 N Scottsdale Rd, Ste 160, Scottsdale, AZ 85454. Coverage subject to restrictions, exclusions and limitations and application is subject to underwriting. See policy or contact MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC (“MetLife Pet”) for details. MetLife Pet is the policy administrator. It may operate under an alternate or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota) and MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois).

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