Have you come to the sudden realization that your dog has ingested a coffee bean? Are you now concerned and worried about what may happen to them? Not sure what you now need to do and how to properly support them? Well, here is the approach you are going to need to take.
So, what should I do if my dog ate a coffee bean? If you know your dog has eaten a singular coffee bean, you should carefully monitor their behavior for the next 24-hours and be ready to call your vet right away if they show any signs of poisoning. If you know your dog has eaten a large amount, don’t delay – call your vet right away.
We all know that coffee beans contain a high level of a compound called caffeine.
And while that may give us our morning high, dogs really do not process it well.
In fact, if a dog eats too many coffee beans (relative to their own constitution), they are likely to experience a toxic caffeine overload.
In doing so, a dog will likely develop an upset stomach, become agitated and restless, and in severe cases (and doses), may experience a seizure or could even die.
But what is too much? We’ll soon get into that.
That’s why you’re probably here, right?
Well, not to worry, I’ve got you covered.
Keep reading, and you’ll know exactly how to approach this situation and how to ascertain what is too much for your dog.
Is It Safe For Dogs To Eat Coffee Beans?
It is not safe for dogs to eat coffee beans or coffee products of any type. As humans, we often enjoy the perks of caffeine that is found in the coffee we drink. For a dog, that same caffeine can be deadly. Dogs do not process caffeine the same way people do and can easily overdose on caffeine that is found in items such as coffee beans and chocolate.
Many people know that chocolate is not a dog-safe food.
This is due to the presence of both caffeine and another chemical known as theobromine.
While coffee beans are not as toxic as chocolate because they do not contain theobromine, their high caffeine content still can make dogs quite sick.
But here’s the thing.
Not every dog that eats coffee beans or coffee products will fall ill or even experience negative side effects.
It depends mostly on the amount consumed and the dog that ingests them.
Some dogs may only eat one or two beans or have a few licks of a coffee drink.
These dogs likely won’t show any signs of illness unless they are very small, young, or dehydrated.
Still, coffee beans provide no real value or benefit, nor should they have a place in a dog’s diet.
Nevertheless, it is dogs that manage to consume a large amount where caffeine overload becomes a possibility.
But what amount of coffee bean consumption can cause a caffeine overload? We’ll cover that in the next section.
For now, it’s important to recognize the signs.
A dog that is experiencing poisoning from caffeine after eating coffee beans is likely to vomit, have diarrhea, be very restless, pant more than normal, and in severe cases, have tremors and seizures.
How Many Coffee Beans Are Toxic For Dogs?
The number of coffee beans a dog can eat before caffeine levels become toxic depends mostly on a dog’s size.
If you are trying to determine exactly how many beans your dog can safely eat, you can do some basic math to get a close estimate.
The amount of caffeine in individual coffee beans is usually between 6 – 10 mg, depending on the specific type and size of bean. Veterinary research shows that most dogs can take in about 25 mg of coffee per pound of body weight before caffeine levels become toxic.
Using the above numbers, a ten-pound dog would be reaching toxic caffeine levels after consuming around 250 mg of caffeine.
That would only require the dog to eat 25 – 30 beans before it becomes quite sick.
A larger dog of around 50 pounds could likely eat 1,250 mg of caffeine or 125-130 beans.
The smaller a dog is, the more sensitive they are likely to be after eating small amounts of coffee beans.
A larger dog may be able to safely eat more coffee beans without experiencing toxic symptoms, but the only way to keep them truly safe is to prevent your dog from eating any amount of coffee.
The important thing to remember is that even when we factor in size, each dog’s digestive and nervous system is unique.
This means that some dogs are going to naturally be more sensitive to the presence of caffeine than others.
A large dog may get sick on fewer beans than an owner would expect, while a certain small dog is okay after eating a handful of beans.
If your dog consumes coffee-based beverages, ground-up beans, or the grinds of coffee left behind after brewing, it can be hard – or nearly impossible – to estimate how many beans they have eaten.
If you feel the dog has only eaten a small amount of coffee products, then monitoring them at home is a good idea.
If you feel your dog has ingested a large amount of coffee, it might be a good idea to give your veterinarian a ring.
What To Do If Your Dog Has Eaten A Coffee Bean
If your suspect your dog has eaten coffee beans, try not to panic. Instead, work your way through the steps below to help assess the situation and proceed with the right approach.
Firstly, you want to try and get an understanding of how many coffee beans your dog has consumed.
Is it a singular bean, a couple, or have they gotten to a bag?
Look carefully at what your dog was eating, and be sure to write down any information you have about the coffee beans your dog ate.
Things that might be helpful if you need to speak with a veterinarian or pet poison control are the type of coffee bean ingested, whether the bean was whole or ground, and an estimate of how much you think the dog may have eaten.
It is also useful to know if your dog recently ate the coffee bean or if it has been a while (perhaps reported to you by a dog sitter or walker) since the coffee was eaten.
If, after investigating the area, you feel your dog may have consumed a large number of beans in comparison to their size, call a veterinarian.
In the meantime, remove your dog from the area and clean up any coffee beans that have been spilled.
Monitor Your Dog Closely
If your dog has only eaten one or two beans of coffee, simply observing your dog and responding if they begin to act unwell is likely to be the best plan.
Your dog may be slightly restless and thirsty.
Allow a thirsty dog to drink.
If your dog seems unbothered by the coffee and is eating and drinking normally over the next 24 hours, your dog most likely did not eat enough coffee to experience toxicity.
In that case, continue to monitor them, but hopefully, it should very much be a return to routine.
If your dog won’t is pacing and won’t settle, begins to vomit, is panting even after rest and water, or becomes shaky, it is time to give your veterinarian a call.
If In Doubt, Call Your Vet
Poisoning caused by the caffeine in coffee beans can be deadly.
If you are not sure how many coffee beans your dog ate, or you feel your dog is acting differently after eating coffee beans, it is always a safe idea to call your veterinarian.
If your dog is showing signs of poisoning after eating items in your kitchen and you aren’t sure if they ate coffee, you should still call your veterinarian right away.
A dog that is experiencing a toxic overload of caffeine can rapidly decline in health.
If signs of poisoning appear, call your veterinarian immediately, even if it is outside of their normal office hours.
Have the information from step one, as well as general information about your dog’s age and size, ready when you call your vet.
Follow Out Your Vet’s Directions
Following the directions of your veterinarian may seem like a no-brainer for helping your dog after eating coffee beans.
However, many people start following a vet’s directions and stop the minute they see an improvement in their dog’s condition.
By not following through with all of a veterinarian’s recommendations, the owner could be putting the dog at risk of falling ill again or not healing entirely from the effects of too much caffeine.
Take Steps To Prevent Your Dog From Eating Coffee Beans Again
Your dog eating coffee beans and not feeling well can be a scary event.
While you are likely to remember the way the coffee beans made your dog feel, your dog isn’t likely to have learned his lesson.
This means it is a good idea to use this opportunity to look through your kitchen and other places where coffee is kept and make sure that all coffee beans and coffee products are sealed and stored out of reach of your dog.
If your dog is persistent when it comes to finding food, it might be smart to keep your dog out of your kitchen when you are not physically able to be with them.
Because there are many people that don’t know about the harmful effects of coffee beans on dogs, it is also helpful to remind younger family members and guests to not feed any coffee products to your dogs.
Hearing about coffee beans being toxic to dogs is alarming, especially if you know your dog has consumed some (or several)!
Thankfully, as we can see from the math presented above, a singular coffee bean is highly unlikely to cause issues or complications.
It is in the larger doses where toxicity is commonly observed.
So, if your dog happens to eat a few coffee beans, do not panic.
Instead, monitor your dog and call a veterinarian for any unusual behavior.
But if they have gone for a bag or swallowed quite a few, then do contact a vet right away.
Time is of the essence with the ingestion of a toxic substance, and the quicker a vet can get the caffeine out of your dog’s system, the better.
Concerned or wondering what other things your dog can/cannot eat. Check out my related guides below:
- Dog Ate An M&M [What Do You Need To Do Now?]
- My Dog Ate An Oreo [What Do You Need To Do Now?]
- My Dog Ate A Brownie [What You Have To Do ASAP]
- Dog Ate A Haribo [How Concerned Do You Need To Be?]
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.