Drinking coffee lately has been an awful time for me. I used to be able to chug the stuff without any noticeable side effects, but doing so now often sends me into an anxiety-fueled panic attack of my own making. I would never wish this feeling upon another living being—especially not a dog.
Which is all to say, I was quite alarmed when a coworker's tweet recently alerted me to the existence of what is advertised as "coffee for dogs." The alleged product is called Rooffee, a strange name bearing an upsetting resemblance to "roofie," the colloquial term for rohypnol, or the date-rape drug.
I can't say this is the worst startup I've come across this year, but I did have a couple of questions about Rooffee, the most important of which was: Is this a joke?
I am bewildered to report that the answer is an emphatic no, at least according to Rooffee's creator, Lithuanian-born former-model Agota Jakutyte. When I reached out to Jakutyte via email Wednesday, she explained that the name was an unfortunate coincidence.
"Maybe because I do not watch TV, or read our local papers, I haven't heard about roofie before," she told me, referring to the date-rape drug. "I simply combined ROOTS + COFFEE…That's how the name ROOFFEE was born."
I guess that explains it. Now, back to the whole giving dogs caffeine part.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) warns on its website that coffee (as well as chocolate) can cause vomiting, seizures, and even death when ingested by pets. Rooffee, thankfully, does not contain any actual coffee. It does contain a bunch of herbs and vegetables like dandelion root, hawthorn, chicory, burdock, and carrots, according to Jakutyte. The mixture is intended to be drank by both pets and their humans.
From some basic research I did online, it does appear that these ingredients—though it's unclear exactly how safe they are (or not)—are often fed to canines. Dandelion root, for example, is found in products marketed toward pets. Bizarrely, Jakutyte also mentioned that Rooffee is helpful for weight loss.
"It also helps to lose weight not only for people but for pets too. Dogs are less hungry and less food obsessed," she told me. Rooffee was starting to remind me of FitTea, an herbal supplement hawked by Instagram celebrities as well as the Kardashians.
Rooffee is made using the same methods as regular coffee. In a video promoting the product, Jakutyte prepares the drink using a simple French press. Jakutyte, who already runs a natural shampoo company for dogs and humans, plans to raise funds for Rooffee via Kickstarter. She also told Buzzfeed that she plans to change the product's name.
That's probably a good place to start.
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