Can Dogs Get Drunk from Beer, Wine and Other Types of Alcohol?

No matter who you are, you probably enjoy taking a sip of alcohol from time to time. There is nothing wrong with that, except if you go overboard and are faced with a headache the following morning. But what happens if you leave a can of beer at the slurping reach of your canine friend? Can dogs get drunk and can alcohol cause them damage?

Can Dogs Get Drunk?

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Believe it or not, dogs can get drunk! If they get a hold of that glass of drink, you are probably in for a disaster. Be aware that, even though getting tipsy is probably amusing for you, this is a potential hazard for your dog.

Dogs are really sensitive to alcohol and get intoxicated quickly. This is also due to their small size, at least compared to humans.

You may also wonder can dogs get drunk from eating foods that contain alcohol, such as rum-drenched chocolate.

The answer to this is also ‘Yes’. In fact, dogs seem to be really interested in any food that has alcohol in it. This is usually due to its sugary taste and yeast dough.

Even though you might think that your dog is funny when tipsy, this can be a serious issue. First off, the dog’s temperature can drop low, as well as his blood sugar levels.

Also, his heart will start pounding faster, and that is never a good sign. After drinking alcohol, your dog can be close to a coma, seizures, or even worse.

Keep in mind that alcohol isn’t only found in beverages. For example, medicinal syrups, fermenting bread dough, and rubbing alcohols also contain ethanol.

This is why it isn’t safe to leave any sort of liquid where your dogs can reach it. They are opportunistic eaters – we could even call them scavengers. In their heads, everything is food and they won’t think about the consequences.

Can Dogs Drink Wine in Small Amounts?

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Giving your dog a sip of wine seems harmless. In the end, isn’t drinking wine in small amounts beneficial for health? Not really, if you are a dog or any other animal. It is never okay to let your pets drink alcohol, even if it’s just a sip. Putting your canine friend at risk is never okay, especially if you do it for giggles and laughter. You are the one in charge of your dog’s health. This also includes keeping him away from any alcoholic beverage.

Dogs’ liver kidneys aren’t able to process even the smallest amount of alcohol. Similarly, humans aren’t able to process cellulose – only we probably won’t die from it. If you want to give your dogs something that’ll make them act similar, give them aniseed treats. Anise serves like catnip for dogs and they will go crazy for it! And it is perfectly safe for dogs.

Even some other ingredients that can be found in alcoholic beverages can be poisonous for dogs. Did you know that grapes that wine is made from can cause kidney failure?

Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

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There is not enough valid research on the question can dogs get drunk, probably because most owners won’t report it. They fear repercussions and being judged, but also a lot of them won’t even recognize the symptoms. In the end, a drunk dog might simply look anxious. However, alcohol is really toxic to all animals, including dogs.

Even the smallest amounts of alcohol, such as those found in alcoholic chocolates, can damage your canine friend’s health. The main intoxicating agent in most drinks, ethanol, can cause serious damage to internal organs. So then, can dogs drink beer, a drink with less ethanol than stronger beverages?

Beers are brew with hops, which is another toxic food for dogs. So, no, dogs can’t drink beer or any other similar drink. The percentage of alcohol isn’t the main issue.

Some signs of an intoxicated dog are:

  • Disorientation
  • Vomiting
  • Panting
  • Restlessness
  • High or low body temperature
  • Seizures and twitching

From looking at these symptoms, you might think that dogs get intoxicated similarly to humans. However, it is much, much more dangerous. Although you might laugh at first, these symptoms mean the dog’s organs are struggling. Alcohol can cause metabolic acidosis, a condition that occurs when there’s too much acid in bodily fluids.

This causes a domino effect and soon, your dog’s heart will start pounding and his blood sugar levels will drop. In return, this can cause respiratory failure, which is the main cause of death in drunken canines. This is why you should never leave your alcoholic beverage unattended where your dog can reach it.

If your dog is left untreated, or if he’s really sensitive to alcohol, his organs might fail. This is why it’s important to go to a vet immediately if your dog has these symptoms. Especially if there is any clear suspicion that he had a way of slurping from your beer can!

What to Do if My Dog Does Get Drunk?

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No matter how much you try to hide your favorite drink, your dog might get a hold of it. If you find your beer glass empty with no one else in the house but you and Rex, should you panic? That depends.

First off, remove all alcohol sources away from your dog’s reach. The last thing you’d want is for them to take more when you’re not looking.

Try to determine how much did your dog actually drink. No matter what the answer is, you should phone your vet, especially if you have a smaller dog. Bigger dogs will usually be okay after having just a sip, but it’s better safe than sorry.

Give your canine friend some water to drink. This will help him to faster expel all the alcohol and it will help with possible dehydration. Just like humans like to drink water after a few drinks, so should dogs.

Then, try to warm up your dog. Alcohol tends to lower his temperature, as well as glucose. Try offering him a few dogs treats, just to see his reaction. Having other food in his guts other than alcohol will help him digest everything and make alcohol pass quicker.

If you notice any symptoms of alcohol poisoning, take your dog to a vet without any delay. Especially if the dog begins staggering or if you notice excessive panting or heartbeat.

If the dog drank alcohol only a few minutes ago, the vet might help him by giving him an injection. This will make your dog sick and cause him to vomit, expelling alcohol from his stomach.

Keep in mind that this only works for some half an hour after drinking. Anything later than that and the alcohol has already been absorbed.

If this has happened, then your dog might get some intravenous fluids. They will help flush the alcohol from the blood system. Other things that are added intravenously are glucose and seizure-suppressing drugs.

Is There an Alternative to Alcohol?

We have already mentioned anise, but there are other treats you can give your dog instead of alcohol. If you can resist having a drink with your four-legged friend, there are dog beverages such as BarkBrew.

It looks like beer, but instead, it’s made without any alcohol or hops. It’s not carbonated and it even contains glucosamine, which is important for joint health in dogs. You can find it in two tastes – beef and chicken – and your dogs will love it!

Another similar alternative to this is Snuffle Dog Beer. In short, there are plenty of products your dogs can drink that won’t cause them any harm.

Bottom Line

If you were ever wondering, can dogs drink beer, or can dogs drink wine, now you know the answer. Dogs should never, ever, drink anything with alcohol in it.

Even if it happened once in the past and your dog got sober without any health issues, consider him lucky. We would never recommend doing anything that can harm your dog’s health, especially not for fun.

If you think that your dog is missing out by not drinking with you, there are several safe alternatives. Alcohol doesn’t have the same impact on dogs as it would on you. Your dog won’t get happy and tipsy but might die instead. What might seem like a fun evening for you is a health hazard for your four-legged friend.

Don’t ever try to see if dogs can get drunk by yourself. Even just a sip can damage your dog’s liver and can cause respiratory failure.

Enjoy your beer and give your dog a few beef treats. They would be a lot happier this way. And if your dog does end up taking a sip – contact your vet immediately! Because, your dog is amazing!