Personally, I thought we had solved the age old problem of, "Ugh, I wanna brunch with my dog, but unfortunately they don't have opposable thumbs or are equipped with the proper digestive systems for it" back in 2016, when the Dogs Who Brunch Instagram went viral. Apparently our needs were not fully satisfied, though, because yesterday a press release went out announcing "Rooffee," a coffee for dogs. You may be wondering if you just hallucinated the last few words of that sentence, but this "wild nordic biohack for dog's morning routine" is very much real and even has its own Kickstarter in the works. Oh, confusion; thy name is 2017. (Bustle has reached out to both Rooffee and PETA regarding Rooffee, and will update upon response.)
There's a lot to unpack here, from the unfortunate name of the product to the what on earth it's supposed to do, so let's start with the basics: what exactly is in this "coffee for dogs". According to the Kickstarter created by SHOO, a company that creates all-natural products that are "suitable for all mammals," Rooffee consists of five different "coffee type root drinks" for dogs. The roots are all sourced from nordic flatlands, and consist of dandelion root, burdock root, carrot seed, hawthorn seed, and chicory root. The Kickstarter praises various health benefits like anti-aging, digestive and immune system support, and heart health. Its creator, SHOO co-founder Agota Jakutyte, even lauds its ability to aid with weight loss, because "dogs are less hungry and less food obsessed." True to the company's philosophy of making products for all mammals, human companions can drink "coffee for dogs," too.
As any responsible dog owner (or sad non-dog owner who gets their kicks by petting the neighbor's dog when she passes in the hallway) knows, caffeine is incredibly harmful to dogs. Bustle reached out to Dr. Katy Nelson, host of The Pet Show and ambassador of Freshpet, who advises, "Pet owners should never give actual coffee to pets. Coffee contains caffeine, which can be highly toxic to pets, leading to gastrointestinal upset, cardiac arrhythmias, tremors, seizures and even death."
Curiously (and to the collective relief of the entire internet), although Rooffee markets itself as "coffee for dogs," there isn't any caffeine in it; as many people have noted, the moniker seems more like a viral marketing gimmick than an actual representation of the product. That being said, the lack of caffeine in it doesn't mean there's no cause for concern.
"Use caution with any and all supplements for pets, especially those with no scientific studies proving their efficacy," Dr. Nelson advises. "Always discuss every supplement with your veterinarian prior to giving anything new to your pets. Your vet will know your pets specific needs and medical concerns and will be able to best recommend the proper nutrients to treat those conditions."
The caffeine confusion aside, a lot of the attention that the product is getting online has nothing to do with its ingredients, but its rather unfortunate name. Bustle has reached out to SHOO regarding the name of its product, and will update upon response. In the meantime, it seems from the Kickstarter that the name "Rooffee" is a combination of the words "root" and "coffee".
Jakutyte, who is based in the UK, told BuzzFeed in a statement that she did not know that "roofie" was slang for the date rape drug rohypnol, and that she'll probably change the name of the product.
At least one person has a solid suggestion in the pipeline:
The most important thing to note here is that it is super dangerous to let your dog ingest caffeine, and you should always, always, always check the ASPCA website or with a veterinarian before feeding your dog anything you're unsure about. The next important thing to note is ... if you're going to patent a name for your company, a quick Google search can save a life.