Dogs and Caffeine
Any dog owner would know about the inquisitive nature of the pet. Dogs would “discover” things and get into situations where they would find themselves in tight spots. A dog owner’s responsibility goes beyond providing the pet with its basic needs. It is also the responsibility of a pet parent to vigilantly care for the dogs. Dogs have the inclination to eat anything thus poisoning is one of the most common causes of dog deaths. Dogs can be poisoned by toxic chemicals. Poisoning can occur when dogs ingest common human foods that are known to have toxic effects on these animals.
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Caffeine is a chemical naturally produced by coffee beans, tea and cacao beans. The pleasing bitter taste in some soft drinks is due to the addition of caffeine. In lower doses, caffeine has the effect of producing peacefulness, pleasantness and even elation. Caffeine is an addictive stimulant. A daily dose of 250mg can already lead to caffeine intoxication. In humans this substance stimulates the nervous system and has mood altering effects. Caffeine has the unpleasant effect of causing palpitations, irritability, nausea, nervousness, anxiety and tension. Caffeine intoxication can cause increased urination, insomnia and hallucinations. Caffeine is generally safe for humans but this substance has toxic effects to dogs and to other pets.
Caffeine poisoning in dogs has no antidote! Caffeine is potentially fatal when ingested by dogs as enough amounts can lead to the death of the pet. A 150 mg dose of caffeine per kilogram of body weight can already cause poisoning.
Beneficial use of caffeine to dogs
Caffeine can be administered to dogs suffering from various degrees of cardiac function insufficiency. As a mild but effective stimulant, one grain of caffeine found in a level teaspoon of instant coffee will improve general circulation by stimulating the heart to accelerate its blood pumping function. Caffeine also has the effect of stimulating the muscular contraction and expansion of the intestines. This motion in the intestines that is known as peristalsis propels waste materials towards the rectum and anus.
Toxic effects of caffeine
Caffeine, in the right dosage would have beneficial effects to the health of the dog but coffee is really not good for these four legged friends. Dogs’ systems cannot handle this substance. Caffeine directly affects the heart muscles thus an overdose would have dangerous effects on the dog. Too much of this substance will cause the dog to have rapid heartbeat thereby causing blood pressure to drop. The dog will be in a very excited state so that rapid pulse frantic breathing and muscular tremors will be noticed. In severe cases of caffeine intoxication, the dog can bleed heavily. Caffeine affects the central nervous system thus the dog can have seizures.
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