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Dogs and alcohol

Updated on February 7, 2013

Dog and alcohol is definitely a bad combination. Some people may think that teaching the dog to drink beer especially from a can is highly entertaining. Apparently, these people are not aware of dog alcohol poisoning. For dog owners out there…be aware that alcohol can kill your dog!

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Alcohol Poisoning Alcohol Poisoning

Dog owner should think twice about training the dog to ingest beer, wine or any alcoholic beverages if they know about the serious consequences of this amusing trick. Alcohol is on top of the list of substances toxic to dogs. Dogs do not tolerate alcohol very well. The dog can be poisoned by the same amount of alcohol that would not have an intoxicating effect on humans. This situation arises from the fact that toxicity of alcohol would depend on the dosage as compared to body weight. As dogs’ body weights are considerably lower as compared to humans, disastrous effect of alcohol on dogs would be greater.

Causes of alcohol toxicity in dogs

The most common cause of alcohol poisoning in dogs is ingestion of alcoholic beverages. However, alcohol poisoning can be due to other causes too. Ethanol, also known as grain alcohol or ethyl alcohol, is commonly used as medication solvent. Apart from being food motivated, dogs are very curious animals too. The unusual scent of medications left lying around can entice a dog to have a taste test. Toxicity can also occur when the dog is exposed to products high in ethanol content. Poisoning will occur when ethanol is absorbed by the skin. An uncommon cause of alcohol poisoning is ingestion of yeast dough. Whenever an opportunity is presented, a dog would not pass up the chance to filch anything that can be eaten. The dog can eat the yeast dough left on the counter to ferment. Once ingested, yeast dough will ferment inside the dog’s stomach and produce ethanol that will poison the dog.

Signs of alcohol toxicity

Dogs that have ingested alcoholic beverage will be noticed to have the odor of alcohol in the breath or in the mouth. The dog would have a drunken gait and would be noticed to urinate frequently. Other signs are excessive drooling or vomiting. Alcohol affects the nervous system thus behavioral changes will be noticed in the dog. The pet would either be too depressed or excited. Sizeable amount of alcohol absorbed by the body would cause the dog to have slow pulse rate. The dog may get into coma, have cardiac arrest and die.


Supportive treatment for alcohol toxicity includes administration of activated charcoal and intravenous fluid therapy. Activated charcoal is administered to detoxify the dog’s gastrointestinal tract. The administration of intravenous fluids will correct fluids and electrolyte abnormalities. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation may be necessary if the dog has suffered cardiac arrest.

alcoholic dog stumbeling the streets.


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    • mothsong profile image

      mothsong 6 years ago

      I like your hub--too many people think that it is funny to give pets alcohol and do not realise the damage that it can cause. This hub highlights the dangers of giving alcohol to pets and will hopefully enlighten anyone who is not aware of how problematic it can be.