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What To Do If a Dog Ate Coffee Grounds?

As pet owners, sometimes our pets can’t help but want to have a taste of our foods and drinks. Coffee grounds are by-products of coffee, and dogs can somehow gain access to them.

Whether in the garden or dumpster. What will you do when you realize your dog ate coffee grounds?

Despite the health benefits of coffee, its grounds contain caffeine which is toxic to pets. If your dog ingests a lethal dose of caffeine, you need an immediate remedy to prevent its adverse reaction to your dog’s health.

This article will take you through the reasons caffeine is toxic for dogs, how to know when your dog is suffering from caffeine toxicity, and what to do when your dog eats coffee grounds.

woman with a dog sitting outside a cafe



Can Coffee Grounds Hurt Dogs? 

Coffee grounds can hurt dogs. However, it depends on the quantity consumed. Coffee grounds contain high levels of caffeine which is a chemical stimulant. Caffeine is also known as “Methylxanthine”.

When it is present in small quantities, it is good for stimulation, alertness, and energy levels boost. However, it is toxic in high concentrations. Animals tend to be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine relative to humans.


How Much Coffee Grounds is Toxic for Dogs?

Determining how much coffee ground is toxic to a dog is tricky as it depends on some factors which includes;

  • The quantity of coffee ground consumed.
  • The quantity of caffeine in the coffee ground. Deciphering how much caffeine is in coffee grounds is tricky. The coffee grounds consumed by the dog might be leftovers after brewing the coffee. Other times, the level of caffeine varies because of the brand of coffee ground. Different brands use different caffeine quantities.
  • The size of the dog, its underlying health issues and its overall health are also factors to put into consideration.

Needless to say, if the coffee ground is consumed in a large quantity, it could prove fatal to the dog. According to science direct, the minimum lethal dose of caffeine in the dog is 140 to 150 mg/kg of body weight. At this parameter, a potentially lethal caffeine dosage has been consumed by the dog.


Caffeine Toxicity in Dogs

Caffeine toxicity in dogs can persist for a duration average of 24-48 hours. The amount of time the caffeine remains in a dog’s system depends on the quantity of caffeine consumed, the size of the dog as well as the health status.


Signs of Caffeine Toxicity in Dogs

Within an hour or two after consuming the coffee grounds, some side effects may begin to surface. These side effects range and are dependent on the quantity of caffeine consumed.

These are some of the side effects.


It is increased activeness and alertness.


The dog may experience vomiting and diarrhea or one of the two.

Tachycardia and Arrhythmia

Tachycardia is an increase in heart rate. Arrhythmia is an abnormal heart rhythm. For instance, faster or missing heartbeats.


It is an unintentional and uncontrolled rhythmic movement of any part of the body. It is a result of a defect in the part of the brain controlling muscular movement.


It is a sudden and uncontrolled body movement. Seizures can also cause changes in behaviour due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain).

Other signs include;

  • Collapse
  • Death ( in acute cases)


Signs of Caffeine Toxicity in Other Pets

The side effects of caffeine toxicity in some other pets are similar to those of dogs. These signs include vomiting, diarrhea, hyperventilation, excessive thirst and urination, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures, and death. In cats, for instance, caffeine toxicity dose ranges from 80-150 mg/kg (36 – 68 mg/lb).

While some pet owners might not realize that caffeine is toxic to their pets, some have narrowed down the sources. Oblivious to the numerous potential sources of caffeine present in a household, pet owners don’t efficiently prevent caffeine toxicity in pets.

Some other sources of caffeine include teas, sodas, energy and sports drinks, diet pills, some pain medications, and boosting products. Some pet owners might not know this, but even chocolate-flavoured ice creams and chocolates contain caffeine.

Pet owners sometimes search the internet to have a better understanding of toxicity in their pets. They search for “caffeine toxicity in dogs and cats calculators” and other things. They will be able to handle the situation better before the vet arrives if they understand the criticality of the dog’s condition.


Steps to Take After Dogs Consume Coffee Grounds

If you’ve found out that your dog or other pet consumed coffee grounds, here are some steps to take before the intervention of a Veterinarian.

  • Secure Both Your Dog and The Coffee Grounds

You should do this first. As a pet owner, you should be calm and collected with your pets. You shouldn’t make the mistake of leaving the pet roaming around in the same vicinity as the coffee grounds while on the phone with a vet. It is advisable to put the pet in a safer room and put away the coffee grounds.

  • Examination

The next thing to do is to examine your dog to check for signs of distress or any of the side effects mentioned earlier.

  • Gather evidence

This step is important because you wouldn’t want to have your dog misdiagnosed based on your misinformation. It is better to have the right and needed pieces of information before contacting the Vet. Check to see remnants of tea bags, coffee grounds, or any material that contains caffeine.

  • Contact the Vet

Now, you can contact your veterinarian and explain the situation to the doctor. You can also ask for advice on what to do moving forward. In the case of toxicity, the Vet will urge you to come to the clinic promptly before the side effects progress.

  • Prevention

After treating your dog, you should pay attention to your pet’s surroundings to prevent future occurrences. Ensure you do not repeat the same mistakes and take proper precautions to limit your dog’s access to coffee grounds and other caffeinated contents.


What to Expect During Your Dog’s Treatment by a Veterinarian 

While it’s better to let the Good Doctor do their job, it is better to know what you might expect. The doctor will begin by checking for abnormalities in the physiological parameters.

These parameters include body temperature, fecal content, heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, etc. After checking these parameters, treatment is then aimed at preventing further absorption of the caffeine. To do this, the Vet might incite vomiting and sometimes administer activated charcoal.

These treatments work when the dog is brought in promptly. In the case of the dog having consumed the coffee grounds hours ago or already manifesting side effects, further treatment is needed.

Further treatments will include intravenous administration of fluid. This aims to keep the blood pressure stable, prevent dehydration, and hasten metabolism and excretion of caffeine. Some other tests may also be conducted in addition to the treatment to identify the dog’s health status.


Final Thoughts

It is worthy of note that while coffee grounds might be good for humans and plants, they’re harmful to pets. For the pet’s welfare, owners should take into account all caffeinated edible and non-edible items in the house. Nevertheless, in the event of caffeine toxicity, it is wise to ask a Vet for advice and potential treatment.