Unfortunately, the answer is no – coffee ice cream is not safe for dogs to eat.
All dog parents can agree that it almost feels wrong saying no to those puppy eyes when canine companions ask for a bite of ice cream.
You sit down to enjoy your favorite flavors on a hot summer day, and they’ll come running to steal a lick or two.
You may have let your four-legged friend taste some flavors here and there, and that’s okay. But coffee ice cream is on a no-no list for dogs.
Is Coffee Ice Cream Safe for Dogs?
No, it isn’t. Here’s why.
Coffee contains caffeine (a stimulant) and xylitol (an artificial sweetener), which can be harmful to dogs in large quantities.
While a small amount of caffeine may not cause any harm, too much can lead to a range of symptoms. These may include restlessness, rapid breathing, heart palpitations, muscle tremors, and seizures.
These symptoms can be serious and even life-threatening in some cases, especially if your dog is small or has a pre-existing health condition.
Xylitol, on the other hand, is notorious for causing intestinal distress and diabetes in dogs, especially with regular consumption.
In addition, ice cream is high in fat and sugar, which can also be problematic for dogs.
Too much fat can lead to obesity, which can, in turn, cause a range of health problems. These include joint pain, heart disease, and diabetes.
Sugar, meanwhile, can cause a spike in blood glucose levels, which can deteriorate the health condition of diabetic or pre-diabetic dogs.
The key takeaway is that coffee toxicity can affect dogs of all ages and breeds. In general, a dose of 140 mg/kg of coffee can be toxic.
Can My Dog Get a Few Licks of Coffee Ice Cream?
If you eat coffee ice cream often, you’d know that the small amounts of caffeine in some ice creams don’t affect us much.
So, many dog parents think allowing their pets to get a few licks might be okay.
However, in most cases, even a hint of caffeine can have grave consequences for dogs. This is especially true with ice creams containing plain or chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Hence, you must avoid allowing even a few licks of coffee ice cream for your dog. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Coffee Toxicity in Dogs?
The symptoms of toxicity depend on the amount of coffee ice cream ingested, as well as the size and weight of the dog.
But, as stated earlier, even a small amount of coffee can harm your furry baby.
Common signs that indicate coffee toxicity in dogs include diarrhea, panting, vomiting, shaking, increased body temperature, abnormal heart rhythm, and excessive thirst and urination.
Some dogs also experience tremors, seizures, and hypothermia.
Additionally, the increased heart rate tends to make dogs hyperactive, irritated, and possibly even aggressive after eating coffee ice cream in large amounts.
These signs usually occur within an hour or two of ingestion and last 12 hours or more.
That said, caffeine can kill dogs or put them into a coma if ingested in large doses. This is why it’s strictly advised to avoid giving coffee ice cream to your dog.
What Should You Do If Your Dog Ate Coffee Ice Cream?
If your dog only got a lick of the coffee ice cream and appears to be fine, you may not necessarily have to visit a vet.
Just keep a close eye on them for the next few hours in case any signs of sickness appear.
Regardless, if you’re concerned about your dog’s health after they ate coffee ice cream, don’t hesitate to call your vet.
It’s always ideal to ask for a professional opinion if you’re confused, because your dog’s health is at risk.
Upon visiting the clinic, you can have the vet identify if your dog has gained weight or developed any other detrimental health effects due to the sugar intake.
They’ll then advise you on the best course of action to ensure your canine companion isn’t left to suffer.
That said, if your dog has eaten coffee ice cream in considerable amounts and is displaying symptoms like those listed above, you must rush to the vet or call a pet poison hotline.
How Do Vets Diagnose Caffeine Poisoning in Dogs?
Once you’re at the vet’s clinic, let the professional know what happened without panicking.
The vet will inquire about the time of coffee ice cream consumption and the quantity your dog ingested. They may also ask additional questions to gain a full understanding of the animal’s condition.
Next, the vet will likely arrange blood work and urinalysis to confirm your dog’s exposure to caffeine. Testing the plasma and fluid content of the stomach will further help them reach a definitive diagnosis.
In case you only suspect your dog ate coffee ice cream, the vet will rule out other conditions before preparing a treatment plan.
Differential diagnoses usually include the consumption of chocolate, lead, nicotine, ephedrine, pesticides, amphetamines, and any other item that could present the same symptoms of toxicity.
How Do Vets Treat Caffeine Toxicity from Coffee Ice Cream in Dogs?
Thankfully, treatment methods for caffeine toxicity in dogs are quite effective.
Your vet will determine the best course of action, depending on the amount of caffeine ingested and the time it took for the diagnosis.
Below are the common methods for treating caffeine toxicity in dogs.
In this method, the vet induces vomiting to remove the toxic contents from your dog’s system.
Activated charcoal treatment is commonly used immediately after the vet has successfully performed emesis.
The professional will leave activated charcoal inside your dog’s stomach to soak up the toxic ingredients. This also helps prevent further absorption of toxins into the body.
To decontaminate the dog’s gastrointestinal system, vets generally opt for gastric lavage. This procedure involves flushing out the stomach’s contents using an endotracheal tube.
Intravenous Fluids Administration
In addition to the treatment methods above, intravenous fluids may be given during treatment to dilute the toxins in the body.
Medications for the Nervous System
If your dog has an increased heart rate or seizures, you can expect your vet to administer medications to slow the heart rhythm and control tremors.
Medications like pentobarbital, phenobarbital, phenothiazines, and diazepam help stabilize the animal’s condition by controlling its central nervous system.
If the above medications fail to stabilize the central nervous system, the vet may administer an anesthetic drug like Isoflurane via general inhalation.
More often than not, vets recommend keeping the dog under observation at the clinic to ensure they’re completely fine before you can take them home.
How Long Does It Take for a Dog to Recover from Toxicity Caused by Coffee Ice Cream?
It usually takes 24 to 48 hours to flush out the caffeine from a dog’s system. The key is to get your furry baby emergency medical attention so that the treatment can start as soon as possible.
During the recovery, you must be extra cautious of what to feed your dog. Your vet might suggest some dietary changes to ensure a smooth recovery.
You must also monitor your dog’s condition until they have 100% recovered. Take them back to the vet immediately if you notice any of the toxicity symptoms coming back or new signs of sickness.
The Bottom Line
In summary, while coffee ice cream may sound like a delicious treat to share with your dog, it’s not worth the risk of potentially causing harm.
Coffee is toxic to dogs, and even a small amount can be dangerous. Plus, commercial ice creams often contain other ingredients that can have a negative effect on your furry baby’s health.
Stick to safe, dog-friendly options instead, so they can enjoy a sweet treat without causing you any worries.
For instance, you could make a dog-friendly ice cream using ingredients like plain yogurt, pureed pumpkin, or mashed bananas. Or you could give your dog a small piece of fruit, such as an apple, watermelon, or blueberry. Just make sure to avoid fruits that are toxic to dogs, like grapes and raisins.
If your dog still manages to get a few licks of your coffee ice cream, you must watch their poop and overall behavior during the next couple of hours.
If they start panting, vomiting, breathing heavily, and displaying signs of aggression and hyperactivity, you’d want to consult a vet immediately.
Get your dog checked for caffeine toxicity, so they can be treated in due time and have their condition monitored to prevent any serious consequences.
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