Dog Tips

Dog Drank Alcohol? What’s Next? Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

As pet owners, we want to protect our furry friends from any substance or consumable that can hurt them. However, sometimes this can be difficult in a crowded house cracking open beers on Super Bowl Sunday or when a glass of milk or wine is spilled on the counter with a thirsty pup waiting below. It may even be that your favorite Turkey Day recipe has alcohol in it and Fido takes a bite.

No matter how careful of a canine owner you are, accidents inevitably happen. Spot Pet Insurance is here to help you navigate all aspects of being your pets’ caretaker, even when a scary incident puppy alcohol toxicosis takes place.  

Alcohol can be dangerous for humans in excessive quantities, but boozy beverages are far more toxic to your dogs. Although it can seem like a funny idea to give your dog a sip of your drink, the bottom line is that alcohol is never okay or safe for canines. Dogs should be treated in the same way as you would a child when surrounded by alcohol in order to ensure top-tier protection.   

Our furry friends often tend to be more attracted to drinks with a strong, enticing smell, such as fruity seltzers, beer, or cocktails. Be sure to be extra careful when drinking those pup-attracting drinks. If your dog does get into the leftover open beer cans or is found licking up a spilled cocktail off the ground, call your vet and seek a professional opinion before attempting to handle the situation on your own.

Alcohol poisoning only occurs based on the quantity consumed and the size of your dog. The severity of the situation can vary drastically. Although professional care might not always be necessary, it is better to be safe than sorry when dealing with alcohol and your pup.  

How Dangerous is Alcohol for Dogs?

Like we mentioned, your dog’s breed and size play a huge part when determining how dangerous alcohol consumption can be. Alcohol is usually absorbed in dogs’ bodies within 30 minutes. It is important to remember that products such as rubbing alcohol and antifreeze can also have the same effects as alcoholic beverages.

The alcohol toxicity is measured by the amount of ethanol content in the drink. It is believed the lethal oral dose of alcohol is around 5.5 to 7.9g/kg of ethanol, according to the American Kennel Club. Beer typically contains around 4-6 percent ethanol, wine contains about 10-20 percent, and vodka and tequila have around 40-50 percent, for reference. Due to these varying ethanol amounts, which vary even more based on the quantity consumed of each drink, alcohol is generally never considered safe for dogs under any circumstance.  

Signs of Alcohol Toxicity in Dogs

There are several signs and symptoms that will usually appear within 30 to 60 minutes that will let you know your pup may have gotten into an alcoholic substance. The impact can often be mild, as dogs sometimes just respond to alcohol as a human would. In the least severe outcome, pups can become drowsy or start to lose their balance due to the alcohol’s effect on their central nervous system.

However, more severe symptoms that can be a sign of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, diarrhea, excessive panting, loss of bodily control, depressed behavior, difficulty breathing, irregularly slow heart rate, seizures, drooling, or loss of consciousness. In extremely severe cases, death can also occur due to respiratory problems, low body temperature or blood sugar, or high acidity in the body. 

What to Do If Your Dog Consumes Alcohol

Don’t immediately panic if you suspect your dog drank alcohol. It is important to stay calm and immediately seek out the help of your veterinarian to get recommendations on how to handle the situation. The veterinarian will assess the amount and type of alcohol your pup consumed and either tell you to bring your dog in immediately for treatment or suggest waiting and monitoring before bringing them in for a checkup.  

If your dog is experiencing alcohol poisoning, and it was consumed in under two hours or less prior to the visit, the veterinarian will sometimes induce vomiting to attempt to remove the alcohol from your pup’s system. They will also work to increase your pet’s body temperature and stabilize ventilation, as well as provide electrolyte-packed fluids to return their kidneys and other organs to normal. These fluids will also help resolve the dehydration your dog is facing from alcohol.  

Preventing this Scenario

The best treatment for alcohol poisoning in canines is preventing the situation from taking place in the first place. Make a point to keep any form of alcohol, whether it be beverages or household products, stored properly and out of the reach of your curious pup. When drinking alcohol, be conscious of where you set your drinks and do not leave uncovered drinks unattended around dogs. It is also key to remember to throw away any unfinished drinks before going to sleep after a night of drinking as well.

If you’re drinking with friends at your house, make sure they are also taking into account your pet’s safety and understand how to safely drink around your dog. If there happen to be any spills, immediately locate your pooch and remove them from the premises so they can’t enjoy licking up the drink. It can often be easier just to lock your dog in a secure or separated area than your guests to avoid any accidents.  



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