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Can dogs drink coffee?

Offering our dogs human food can sometimes be tempting (even when we know we shouldn’t). There’s something about the way our pets look up at us while we’re munching on a bagel or cutting up a piece of chicken that can compel even the strongest will to share their meal.

Unfortunately, many of the things we ingest daily can make our dogs very sick. Coffee, which many people drink every day, is one of those foods. As it turns out, the caffeine content makes coffee an unsafe food for your dog in any amount. To learn more about how caffeine affects dogs, read on.

Can dogs drink coffee?

Caffeine acts as a stimulant, affecting the nervous system and the heart. Dogs feel this effect as well, but their caffeine tolerance differs from the 400mg or so per day that most humans can safely ingest.

“The size of the pet and the amount [of caffeine] ingested are important aspects that can determine the severity of the symptoms,” said Mason Romero, DVM, a veterinary advisor at BetterPet. “Unfortunately, even for a large dog, it only takes ingesting a small amount to have toxic effects.”

The legal dosage of caffeine varies depending on the size of your dog. The smallest breeds such as Chihuahuas can become severely ill just from ingesting .1 oz of coffee beans, or 3 ounces of regular brewed coffee. Larger breeds such as Golden Retrievers would need to consume more to reach toxic levels. In other words, drinking a splash of coffee is unlikely to contain enough caffeine to irreparably harm your dog, although it might make them sick; however, if your dog were to eat coffee grounds, it could lead to serious caffeine poisoning. Too much caffeine can even be fatal for a dog.

Symptoms of caffeine poisoning in dogs

The severe symptoms of caffeine poisoning in dogs can appear within an hour of your dog ingesting the caffeine. If your dog has only ingested a small amount of caffeine, you might notice they seem hyperactive or weird. However, caffeine poisoning can quickly become more serious, Romero said.

“Symptoms can start as early as 30 minutes after ingestion and can last anywhere from 12 hours to several days,” he said. “Pets can become very hyperactive. They can experience an elevated heart rate and elevated blood pressure. Dangerous arrhythmias can develop with the heart as well.”

Romero added that common signs of caffeine poisoning also include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Collapse

Ultimately, caffeine poisoning can be lethal, he said.

“Caffeine poisoning is not something to be taken lightly,” Romero said. “The quicker a pet can be seen by a veterinarian and get treatment started, the greater the chances of having a positive outcome.


What should I do if my dog drank coffee?

If you think your dog has ingested caffeine, either by drinking coffee, eating coffee grounds, or consuming some other type of caffeine product, bring your dog to a veterinarian immediately. The vet can properly assess the symptoms of caffeine poisoning and administer treatment.

“Depending on the severity, the pet may need to be hospitalized for several days for continuous observation,” Romero said. “Treatment often includes inducing vomiting, checking blood parameters to monitor organ function, heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, medications for tremors and seizures if those symptoms are present, monitoring heart rhythm, and IV fluid therapy.”

If your veterinarian is not available, contact a pet poison control center immediately and bring your dog to the nearest emergency facility. Once your dog’s condition is stabilized and they begin to recover, schedule a follow up with your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your dog’s health has not been significantly compromised.

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Recipe: Homemade Dog Food for Renal Disease

Renal disease in dogs is a very serious condition that warrants a trip to the vet as soon as possible. If you think that you can do research and treat your pet with a commercial diet formulated for kidney disease and a few over-the-counter remedies, you are very wrong! Your vet will discuss treatments and diets with you, but this homemade dog food for renal disease may be a good place to start.

The kidneys help to filter out waste from the body by excreting it as urine. They also aid in maintaining normal concentrations of salt and water in the body. Kidneys help in controlling calcium metabolism and blood pressure, as well. They also assist the body in sustaining phosphorous levels.

Obviously, if your dog’s kidneys are failing it is a major problem!

Signs of kidney disease in dogs include, but are not limited to:

  • increased water intake
  • increased urine output
  • decreased urine output
  • secreting urine while sleeping
  • blood in the urine
  • decrease in appetite
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • unexplained weight loss
  • hunched over posture

If your dog has been diagnosed with kidney disease, then you know that diet is a large part of the treatment regiment. Variables like your dog’s age, weight, activity level, and the stage of his kidney disease will all be factors in the type of diet that he will need.

You NEED to consult with a vet or canine nutritionist before switching your dog to a kidney-friendly diet. The professional that you work with will likely recommend either a low protein homemade dog food diet or some low protein dog food brands that have lower levels of phosphorus and are made with high quality proteins.

When a dog digests protein, there is nitrogen left behind, and kidneys work to filter out the nitrogen. This is why low protein food is best for dogs with renal disease. Just remember that the amount of protein to include in your dog’s food will vary depending on the stage of his kidney failure.

Homemade Dog Food for Renal Disease Recipe


  • 1 cup boiled chicken (chopped)
  • 1 hardboiled egg (mashed)
  • 2 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup steamed carrots
  • 1/4 cup steamed green beans


This is a very simple recipe to make. After you prepare all of the ingredients and allow them to cool, combine them in a large mixing bowl. It’s really that simple. Just be sure to chop the ingredients into pieces that are appropriately sized for your dog.

I recommend feeding about 1/2 cup of food for every 20-25 pounds of body weight. This is just a guideline. Some dogs, like working dogs and very active breeds, will need more calories than this. Lazier pets and senior dogs may not need as many.

It’s best to consult your veterinarian about the appropriate serving size for you dog. They will also help you evaluate this homemade dog food for renal disease to make sure it will meet your dog’s unique nutritional needs. If necessary, they will assist you in choosing the best supplements and/or multivitamins to add.

You can store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also prepare this food in bulk and store leftovers in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

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Korean foods inspire fermented chicken dog snacks

Fermented chicken could serve as a functional ingredient in dog treats and snacks. Korean scientists drew on their own culinary culture to inspire their work developing a method to ferment mechanically deboned chicken meat (MDCM) for use in dog treats. The dog treat they developed resisted pathogenic bacterial growth and improved dogs’ digestion, although palatability may be a challenge.

“We are accustomed to fermented food such as kimchi, jeotgal, doenjang, soy sauce, cheonggukjang and gochujang,” Eunchae Lee, PhD, animal sciences researcher at Konkuk University, Seoul, said. “We know that fermented food is very beneficial to our health. It motivated our development of a snack for companion dogs.”

Much of the fermentation process used to make the dog treat mirrored that used for human foods, Lee said. Some of the ingredients appear in kimchi or jeotgal. Likewise, aspects of the mixing and storage reflected the fermentation of traditional Korean foods. However, while those foods can take days to months, Lee’s team developed a process for fermenting MDCM dog treat ingredients in 24 hours. The dog treat recipes included 52.8% MDCM, 35.2% chicken breast meat and 9.7% corn starch. Unlike traditional foods, the researchers fermented the dog treat mixture at 37 degrees Celsius, and they inoculated the mixture with lactic acid bacteria, Pediococcus acidilactici and P. pentosaceus. During fermentation, the mixture’s pH dropped rapidly and reached a point that would inhibit the growth of other organisms. Another batch of the recipe was not inoculated and fermented.

“The fermented snack must be sterilized in the manufacturing process for distribution and storage because of activity of lactic acid bacteria,” Lee said.

Effects of fermentation on dog treats, digestion and palatability

Following fermentation, the MDCM-based snack had in vitro pepsin nitrogen digestibility that was higher than the non-fermented recipe. After 14 days of storage at room temperature, bacteria grew slower on fermented dog treats than non-fermented snack samples.

However, dogs preferred non-fermented treats in a palatability trial that included seven Maltese. The dogs ate less of the fermented snacks, spent less time at them and were reluctant to eat. Strong odors or high acidity likely reduced palatability, but fermentation may have given digestive health benefits to the MDCM-based dog snack. The same dogs participated in a 12-day-long feeding trial. The ammonia content dropped in the dogs’ feces, although fecal lactic acid content increased.

“Due to the low pH, palatability for dogs may be somewhat decreased,” Lee said. “So, dog treat makers may need to use natural flavors, but not necessarily…Dogs and human may have diarrhea when they eat a lot of fermented food, but I think that is not a big barriers to its use as a snack.”

The Journal of Animal Science and Technology published the research.

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