Food just tastes better with Coke. This sweet, fizzy carbonated drink goes well with almost anything – be it pizza, burger, steak, ice cream, or even a bowl of ramen.
And since it tastes so good, something like this has to be shared. As such, pet owners wonder: Can dogs drink Coke? Can dogs drink soda and other sugary drinks?
Truth be told, many of the food and drinks we humans enjoy are harmful and even toxic to dogs. This includes grapes, coffee, and tea.
If you want to know if coke (or any other soda) is good or bad for dogs, read on. We are here to answer all the doggo-soda-related questions you can think of and more.
What You Need To Know About Coke
When it comes to soda, Coke is the first thing that comes to mind. A product that’s been around since 1886, this sugary human drink is loved by many.
In fact, the term “Coca-Cola” is the second-most understood word around the globe, and its logo is known by over 90% of the people worldwide.
A drink initially marketed as medicine for “nervous affections” and “fatigue,” Coca-cola was invented by pharmacist John Pemberton.
Interestingly, Coke originally contained small quantities of cocaine, which was not considered illegal at that time. Don’t worry, though, because cocaine has been removed from their recipe since 1903.
Coke now contains non-narcotic coca plant extract instead of the addictive, psychoactive drug cocaine. Nonetheless, the Coke we love and can’t live without remains addicting since it still includes caffeine and sugar – both of which are habit-forming substances.
Coke Nutrition Facts
Health-wise, it’s not surprising to find out that Coke and other commercial brands of soda offer low nutritional value. Still, we crave it despite the few “health” benefits it provides.
For one thing, this sugar-filled drink comes in handy whenever we need a quick energy boost, making it an effective pick-me-up on a hot summer day. Besides that, it can also help with stomach blockages, thanks to its acid content. So, when you’re feeling full and bloated, drinking Coke might just be the solution.
Despite all this, Coke is still a beverage that we should consume in limited quantities. Despite its zero-fat content, this drink contains a chock-full of simple sugars and calories – both are linked to various health problems.
Can Dogs Drink Coke (Or any soda)?
If you want a short answer, the answer is NO.
Apart from getting a sugar rush, your dog will most likely feel A-okay after having a little sip of Coke. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s alright to give your dog soda every once in a while.
Like humans, sugary human beverages (like Coke) offer dogs little to no health benefits. They may not be toxic to dogs, but given its sugar and caffeine content, your dogs are better off living without having a taste of soda.
Why Should You NOT Give Your Dog Coke?
Apart from its not-so-impressive nutritional profile, letting your dog drink soda is a bad idea because of the following reasons:
Carbonated Beverages May Cause GI Problems
The fusion of acid, sugar, and caffeine in Coke and other fizzy beverages might be too much for your dog’s stomach to handle, wreaking havoc in your dogs’ digestive system.
So, in cases wherein your dog drinks soda, abdominal pain, upset stomach, diarrhea, and vomiting are some of the symptoms to watch out.
It Includes Too Much Sugar
Although dogs need sugar (think natural sugars) in their diet, your dog does not require to consume the type of sugar found in sugary treats like ice cream, candy, and COKE.
Besides giving your dog an upset stomach, a dog drinking too much soda is also prone to experience the following health problems because of the high amounts of sugar in the drink.
If you think that sodas will keep your dog hydrated, think again. Coke and other sodas may seem like a great thirst quencher, but they do the exact opposite. Caffeine is a diuretic that increases urine production. Apart from that, excess sodium and sugar can also trigger dehydration.
Like humans, you can also expect your dog to gain weight if your dog consumes a lot of sugar-loaded drinks and treats. In the long run, the added weight can lead to various debilitating health conditions, including joint problems, diabetes, difficulty breathing, lethargy, and heart disease.
Cavity & Tooth Decay
Yes, your dog can also have tooth decay and cavities when they drink too much soda and eat a lot of sweets. So get your dog’s toothbrush ready and make sure to clean your dogs’ teeth thoroughly when your dogs drink soda by accident.
Coke Contains Caffeine
Unlike coffee, soda drinks contain less caffeine. You can find 34 mg of caffeine in a can of regular Coke, while Diet Coke will have more – 46 mg. to be exact. As such, drinking very small doses of soda would probably leave your dog unharmed. On the one hand, a dog getting into your soda stash is going to be in big trouble.
When it comes to dogs, their’ tummies are not equipped to digest caffeine, making them more sensitive to its effects. We all know that caffeine attacks the central nervous system and provides a temporary high.
Dogs experience the same effects, but they feel it twice (or even thrice) as much. And like humans, that sudden boost can also result in a drop in energy or central nervous system depression in dogs.
Drinking soda (like the whole can or more for large dogs) often leads to serious issues – think caffeine poisoning. In line with this, you can expect smaller dog breeds to be more susceptible to its effects.
So, if your dog ate something that contains caffeine (like a tea bag and a spoonful of coffee grounds) or gets its paws in a can of soda, watch out for any negative symptoms, which include:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Excessive urination
Severe symptoms include muscle tremors, seizures, and even death.
Mild caffeine poisoning has a better prognosis. However, a dog that ingests a lethal dose is in real danger. Nevertheless, whether mild or severe, early detection helps in improving your dog’s chances of survival.
Sodas May Have Other Harmful Ingredients
Besides the added sugar and caffeine toxicity, one more thing you need to worry about is the preservatives and artificial sweeteners that might be included in the mix. This is especially true for sugar-free sodas.
A dog that drinks soda (and other sports drinks) with artificial sweeteners like xylitol may suffer from a condition called xylitol poisoning. Weakness, vomiting, and a sudden drop in your dog’s blood sugar are among its symptoms. Other signs also include incoordination, seizures, and collapse.
Apart from xylitol, some sodas contain aspartame. A sugar substitute commonly used in food and drinks, aspartame may not cause serious health issues for dogs and other mammals, but ingestion can lead to minor stomach problems.
What To Do If Your Dog Drinks Soda?
Now that you know why soda is bad for dogs, you might be wondering what steps you should take if your dog drinks coke or soda accidentally.
Well, if you find your dog having a few licks of soda, there’s no need to hit the panic button. Your dog would most likely still feel good aside from a short bout of sugar rush.
However, it’s a different story if your dogs drink soda – like a whole can or bottle of it. If this happens, keep an eye on your dog’s condition. Once your dog exhibits signs of toxicity, call your vet right away. Alternatively, you can also contact the Pet Poison helpline.
When treating xylitol or caffeine poisoning, the first step your vet will most likely take is to induce vomiting. Other treatments include administering activated charcoal and giving your dog intravenous fluids and supportive medication.
Your Dog’s Health & Other Popular Human Drinks
It’s crystal clear now that any type of caffeinated drink is best kept away from your dog. But what about other popular beverages like:
Caffeine-Free Soda. Despite having zero caffeine, these drinks are still packed with sugar, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners and flavors – all of which are deemed unfit for your pet dog.
Coconut Water. This one is undoubtedly hydrating. It’s a good thing that your dog can drink coconut water every once in a while. If you plan to give your dog a sip, make sure to choose those without artificial sweeteners and flavors.
Fruit Juice. It’s okay to give your dogs sugar-free, naturally-flavored fruit juices like apple and orange juice as long as it’s given in moderation. Note, however, that some juices contain citric acid, which can trigger tummy problems (something you don’t like your dogs to have).
On the other hand, grape juice is something that you should never let your dog drink since this is toxic to dogs.
Can your dog have some Coke? The short answer is No.
Although your dogs love sweets, soda included, sugar just does not go well with your dogs’ tummy and overall health. And it’s not just that. Soda also contains caffeine and artificial ingredients, which are bad for dogs.
So, if you’re dog needs something to quench its thirst, a big bowl of fresh water will do just fine. At the end of the day, water is the best drink you can give to your dog (it also costs less).