Can Dogs Have Alcohol?
Dogs can truly be man’s best friend. They can do it all with us; hike, surf, hunt, and sometimes even skateboard. However, there are some activities that you may need to reconsider bringing your best friend along. Whether you are throwing a party, practicing home brew, or just enjoying a glass of wine at night, if your pup were to consume some alcohol it may be a cause for you to worry.
A lick of spilled wine or curious friend getting into your stash may cause your pet to stumble, but is it necessarily bad for them? Or will the effects quickly wear off similar to how it affects us humans? Can you give your dog alcohol?
Answer: No! Simple as that and there are no exceptions to this rule. Similar to cats, consuming alcohol is different for dogs than it is for humans for many reasons. The main reasons being dogs are built different. They are much smaller and their liver’s are not built to digest alcohol. So while a human can consume 1 or 2 beers before feeling the effects of the alcohol, a few licks can send your pup into ethanol toxicosis.
While this can be especially true for a smaller dog, even large dogs can easily be affected by alcohol. Take the average golden retriever for example. They can weigh anywhere from 60 – 70 pounds the same size as a small child! Just as alcohol should not be given to children, it should be strictly kept from your dogs.
Not only are there no health benefits for dogs who drink alcohol, often times the ingredients in which they are derived from are toxic to dogs. Take wine for example, wine is created from grapes which are terrible for dogs. While we are not completely sure why grapes are bad for dogs, we do know that consuming just a few can result in kidney failure for your pet. Imagine how many grapes are crushed to make wine? This plus their poor ability to consume alcohol can make for a deadly combination. Just as it does not matter what sort of grapes are consumed for them to be toxic to dogs, it does not matter what kind of wine is consumed for it to be toxic to dogs.
The same can be said for beer. Hops can affect dogs similar to the ways grapes do. Something about their biological systems restricts their ability to digest these grains. Whether you home brew and have hops in your home or if you simply give your dog some beer from time to time, it can wreak havoc on their system.
As mentioned, your pet may experience ethanol toxicosis if they consume alcohol. Ethanol toxicosis is when your pet is exposed to ethanol. This exposure can be through consuming it or via skin contact. The most common symptom slowing down your pets nervous system. This will make them appear sleepy and clumsy. In some instances your pet may even experience damage to cells or a heart attack. While ethanol can certainly be found in alcohol, it can also be found in cleaning products, mouthwashes, medicines, paint, and gasoline.
Things to Consider
If you home brew as a hobby, be sure to keep your hops and product in a secured area. Simply putting it in a bag may not be enough for a dog nose. When determined a dog can tear up a bag or knock over a barrel. So be sure all containers are securely placed.
Some pet owners may find it sweet or funny even to share a bit of their drink with a pet. These owners should be made aware of how dangerous this can actually be for their loved one. Sharing any sort of alcohol, even just a sip, can cause your pet to have a long list of terrible reactions, including:
- Your pet is moving much slower than usual
- Your pet has become uncoordinated
- Body temperature and blood pressure has dropped
- Difficulty breathing
- Your pet begins having seizures
When a human drinks a bit too much we may experience one or two of these symptoms, but we are aware of what is happening. For a pet who was simply curious, this can be a very frightening experience.
Alcohol may be a relaxing way for you to let loose at night, but it can a deadly substance for your very best friend. Keep all alcohol including wine, beer, and even hops out of your furry friends reach. If you do notice your pet may have consumed some spilled wine or is showing any of these symptoms, consider contacting your local vet. A visit to your vet’s emergency room can prevent these symptoms from growing worse, or fatal.