Although I hardly ever do it, there is something very seductive about sitting in or outside of a coffee house and having the time to relax and just watch the world go by.
What would make it even more special for me would be to take my dogs there.
Not because I like the idea of my dogs being fawned over by other customers but because it gives me a chance to take them out on another walk!
But the trouble with taking dogs to these kinds of places is that they are full of wonderful aromas, scraps of food or the remains of cups of coffee.
My dogs are Golden Retrievers which ups the “anti” is this respect.
It is well known that coffee is toxic for dogs but how dog friendly are coffee creamers that so many of us use?
To start with I want to kind of define what I mean by coffee creamers…
What is a coffee creamer?
Coffee creamer is a milk or cream substitute that can be added to coffee or tea.
In the U.S. it is available as a powder or as a liquid and most varieties are dairy free.
One of the original coffee creamers was Coffee-mate, a powdered creamer made by Nestle.
By all accounts, it is still one of the best selling coffee creamers on the market today.
Having described exactly what a coffee creamer is, in the next section I want to look at just how much of it is bought by Americans every year.
How popular is coffee creamer?
Because so much coffee is drunk in America, the market for coffee creamers is absolutely huge.
The two leading brands are Coffee-mate and International Delight, although Coffee-mate dominates this market with a share that is twice that of International Delight.
And when we put it like that, the likelihood of a dog eating or drinking some coffee creamer somewhere in the U.S. seems highly likely.
But are these products potentially dangerous to dogs?
In the next section I aim to find out as I look at the ingredients in detail.
What are the ingredients in coffee creamers?
In this section, I want to look at the ingredients used in four coffee creamer products: Coffee- mate, International Delight, sugar free coffee creamers and chocolate flavoured creamers.
And by looking at these three products we will get a real sense of the main ingredients that are used in the coffee creamer market
And the effect that they might have on your dog.
With 11 powdered creamers and 26 liquid creamers in their range, it is not hard to see why Coffee- mate dominates the market.
And I will look at their “Golden Goose”- the original powder.
It contains two main ingredients- corn syrup solids and hydrogenated vegetable oil.
Neither of these two ingredients are toxic to dogs.
Then there are six other “ingredients” which make up no more 2% of the product.
The good news is that none of these are toxic for your dog but the bad news is that they have more in common with chemicals than real food!
Sodium caseinate is one of these ingredients and this is a substance that is derived from cow’s milk.
Other ingredients include glyceride and phosphate.
Let’s move on and look at our next which is a liquid not a powder.
The International Delight product that I want to take a look at is a liquid creamer with a French vanilla flavour.
As I said earlier, this manufacturer isn’t as big as Coffee-mate but in its creamer range it still boasts twenty different flavours.
It has three main ingredients: water, palm oil and cane sugar.
Once again, these ingredients aren’t toxic for dogs but they are extremely unhealthy.
Cane sugar is even worse than corn syrup when it comes to carbohydrates as it is 100%.
And palm oil has the same fat content as vegetable oil.
And like the Coffee-mate powder, it contains several other ingredients which are present but in tiny amounts.
Again sodium caseinate makes an appearance as does a glyceride and a phosphate.
And this closer look reveals just how similar these products truly are.
Sugar Free Coffee Creamers
This might seem like a strange choice to zero in on and I haven’t chosen it because I’m a fan of sugar free creamer myself.
Or because there has been some bizarre study which shows that dogs lean more towards snacking on sugar free coffee creamers than other sorts of creamers.
The reason why I have included it in my list is because there is one sweetener which is used in some sugar free foods that will simply kill your dog.
And that product is xylitol.
Although this artificial sweetener is harmless to humans, it is a poison to dogs which can cause them serious harm.
Even in quite small amounts.
And so I thought that I should check the sugar free creamer market to see if any of them contain xylitol.
The really good news is that none of the most popular products (Coffee-mate and International Delight) use this ingredient.
Xylitol is only one of many artificial sweeteners available and it is the only one that is toxic for your dog.
The artificial sweeteners that both manufacturers use are sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
Chocolate flavoured creamers
As I have said, the market for coffee creamers is huge and the range of flavours is enormous.
And some of those flavours are chocolate.
Which is bad news for dogs because chocolate contains a compound that if eaten in sufficient quantities is toxic for a dog.
All the ins and outs of why chocolate is so dangerous to dogs are explained in this article.
But I bring some good news.
None of the three or four chocolate flavour creamers made by International Delight contain any cocoa.
And although the chocolate flavours in the Coffee-mate range do contain cocoa, it is used in such small amounts that your dog would need to have inhaled a whole 32 oz. bottle of creamer to put themselves in any danger.
What should I do if my dog ate coffee creamer?
To finish off this article, I want to talk about what you should do if your dog ate coffee creamer.
And yes, you guessed it, there isn’t a simple answer that I can give to you.
I suspect that for most dogs, the amount of coffee creamer that they consume is so small that it won’t make too much of a difference.
It might make them vomit or have a small dose of diarrhea.
But, if your dog has eaten a small dose of coffee creamer with a fairly large serving of coffee then you should take note.
If your dog drinks too much coffee or eats too many coffee grounds then they might be in danger.
This is because coffee is toxic for dogs.
Exactly how much danger your dog might be in will depend on how big they are and how much coffee they have drunk- or more specifically how strong the coffee is.