Can Dogs Drink Coke?

Can Dogs Drink Coke?

We’re all guilty of giving our dog the odd scrap from the table or a cheeky biscuit here and there — after all, what harm can it really do? Despite our tendency to give our canines people food, we need to be wary. Some foods and drinks we consume are not healthy or safe for our dogs.

Dogs should not drink Coke. Coke is packed with caffeine and sugar, which can cause adverse reactions, both short-term and long-term. Too much Coke may result in a number of ailments, the most severe being caffeine toxicity. While a small amount is unlikely to have lasting effects, it’s best to avoid giving your dog Coke.

As all know, Coke isn’t particularly healthy for humans either, so it’s no real surprise that it’s bad for dogs. However, the reality is that while Coke may be unhealthy for humans, it can actually poison your dog.

Why Is Coke Bad for Your Dog?

Coke is considered bad for your dog because of two main ingredients — the first being caffeine and the second being sugar.

The Caffeine Content

The caffeine content in Coke is around 34mg per 330ml (source).

If ingested, and depending on the amount, dogs may suffer from several unpleasant reactions, the mildest of which include hyperactivity and restlessness. The most serious reaction is caffeine toxicity, a severe and life-threatening condition for dogs.

The Sugar Content

In addition to the high caffeine content, Coke also has around 37mg of sugar per 330ml. This is equal to ten teaspoons of sugar in a single can (source).

Sugar is as bad for dogs as it is for humans. Not only can it cause hyperactivity, but it can also contribute to severe long-term conditions, such as obesity and diabetes. Even a small amount of sugar can disrupt the natural balance of the microorganisms in a dog’s gut, causing diarrhea (source).

Furthermore, sugar in a dog’s diet may also trigger cavities and tooth decay, which can cause discomfort and may require teeth to be removed.

Both caffeine and sugar are designed to target the central nervous system to generate energy in humans. When given to dogs, the effects of caffeine and sugar are magnified to the point of being incredibly dangerous.

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Image by C Drying via Unsplash

Caffeine Toxicity

You might not be able to survive the day without your caffeine boost, but your dog certainly can. Caffeine toxicity is caused when an animal ingests too much caffeine. Unlike humans, caffeine can have a number of serious consequences when ingested by a dog.

Caffeine has been known to cause irreversible damage to a dog’s heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and central nervous system (source).

Caffeine is so dangerous for your dog because it causes their heart rate to increase, making the dog hyperactive, jittery, and restless. Furthermore, caffeine affects the dog’s GI tract, which can cause vomiting.

The effects of caffeine on dogs can appear within half an hour after the dog has ingested caffeine and may last up to 12 hours.

Symptoms of Caffeine Toxicity

The symptoms of caffeine toxicity in dogs range from mild to severe based on how much the dog has consumed and its size — the more caffeine the dog has ingested, the greater the toxicity. Symptoms include the following:

  • Hypersensitivity 
  • Restlessness 
  • Vomiting 
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Tremors
  • Hyperthermia
  • Seizures
  • Collapse  

What to Do if Your Dog Is Experiencing Caffeine Toxicity?

If your dog is experiencing caffeine toxicity, the best thing you can do is contact your veterinarian immediately. 

As an immediate step, you can induce vomiting and administer several doses of activated charcoal to help decontaminate. The dog will need a medical professional as soon as possible to administer an IV. The dog will also require sedatives, heart and blood pressure medications, anti-seizure meds, and antacids (source).

The prognosis for dogs with mild caffeine toxicity is good. However, for those with severe cases, it is almost always fatal.

A famous advert with a little boy and his dog taught us all that “chocolate isn’t good for dogs,” and it’s a lesson we should all bear in mind. Coke, chocolate, coffee — anything with a high caffeine content — does not set well with your dog.

Even though a small amount of caffeine probably won’t produce severe reactions, it is best to avoid giving your dog any caffeine. Dogs and cats have a higher sensitivity to the effects of caffeine than humans.

Other Beverages You Shouldn’t Give Your Dog

As a dog owner, you’ll want to avoid any beverages that contain caffeine. This includes coffee, tea, and many sodas. In addition, you want to avoid giving your dog too much sugar.

Drinks such as lemonade and fruit juice can often cause a spike in the dog’s blood pressure. Furthermore, substances such as citric acid can cause stomach upsets in dogs. Grape juice, in particular, is known to be toxic to dogs and can cause kidney failure. 

Alcohol is also considered to be toxic to dogs. The ethanol in alcohol causes intoxication, which can lead to organ failure and, if untreated, death.

Milk is considered okay in small quantities. As dog’s age, they tend to become lactose intolerant, struggling to properly digest milk. As such, too much milk can cause bloating, gas, and other digestive issues (source).

If you’re interested to know more about what your dog may and may not drink, check out this article on dogs and sparkling water.

Final Thoughts

While it may be difficult to say no to those big brown eyes, it’s our responsibility, as dog owners, to do so. When it comes to what you can give your dog to drink, water is the best way to go. 

Always try to keep any products with a high sugar and caffeine content out of paws’ reach, and if your dog does show signs of being unwell, make sure to take them to the veterinarian.