Alcohol and Your Dog

Alcohol and Your Dog

The super bowl is right around the corner, and it’s time to party! While you are preparing for your socially distanced celebrations, I want to highlight an issue that seems like a common sense thing, but for some reason is not. That issue is whether or not it is okay to give your dog alcohol.

To put it plainly… No. The answer to that question is no, N.O.

It is never okay to allow your dog to drink alcohol. It may seem like a funny joke to you or your friends, but it is an irresponsible and borderline abusive way to treat your animals. Alcohol is toxic to dogs, and in the same way that chocolate and onions are life threatening foods for your dog, Alcohol can cause many problems with your dog’s health. To purposefully give your dog beer or wine is to knowingly be putting your dog at risk for a host of symptoms that could be fatal in the worst case scenario.

Thankfully, most pet owners would never wager the health of their dog for any amount of alcohol based simply on principle. For one, giving a dog alcohol could be fatal. For two, your dog’s brain does not possess the ability to understand the causal relationship between drinking alcohol and the inebriating effects of the drink that come along with it. This sudden change in their perception and the way they experience the outer world can be highly confusing and stressful for your pet.

For anyone who may still be on the fence about this specific issue, let me do some educating and explain what alcohol has the potential to do to your dog’s body and organs. Allowing your dog to become intoxicated on alcohol can cause vomiting, feelings of disorientation, high temperatures, restlessness, seizures and muscle spasms. If you suspect that the pooch has gotten into your hooch somehow, the best thing you can do is to immediately contact your veterinarian for information on what your next steps should be in handling the situation. If left untreated high levels of alcohol can result in the death of your dog due to respiratory failure, or coma.

Luckily, most dogs are not automatically drawn to alcohol because they find the taste to be unpleasant, but fruitier beers and cocktails may be more enticing to your dog because of the sugar and other flavors contained within. Additionally, many craft brews can actually hold other harmful additives besides just alcohol. For example, many stout beers use chocolate as a flavor component, which is also toxic to dogs.

I’ve also seen a few people raise the concern that their pet is (pardon the pun) a party animal, who routinely goes from guest to guest, working the room with pleading eyes, begging for snacks from party goers. The problem here is that if you are having a party, then you are probably consumed with hosting duties all evening, and can’t spend the night chasing your dog around the house preventing them from getting into trouble. In that case, the best thing you can do to prevent your dog from getting drunk while you aren’t watching is to make sure that all forms of alcohol are kept far out of your pet’s reach. I’d recommend putting drinks high up on a counter, or some other place where you can leave them knowing they are safe from your mischievous mutt.

It also helps to have a conversation with your party guests. Simply ask them not to give your dog alcohol. Again, it probably seems like this is kind of an obvious thing for most people reading but in my experience… it bears repeating. Make sure your guests are aware that your dog is around, and ask them to make sure to mind their beverages accordingly. As the host, make sure to keep an eye out for spills and to clean them up before your dog can get to them.

Failing all of this, you can also always just lock your dog up in a separate room away from the comings and goings of the party, but I personally find this to be more distasteful than just having friends over who know how to behave in your space, and around your dog. Giving dogs alcohol isn’t just dangerous for them, it’s also highly disrespectful to you, especially if you’ve made a point to ask partygoers not to let your dog drink from their cups.

So that’s really all that needs to be said on this topic. This is all pretty simple stuff. To refresh: Don’t let your dog drink. Don’t leave drinks unattended. Hide the alcohol from your dog. Ask your guests to do the same. Not to put too fine of a point on this subject, but this is common sense and failing to exercise that part of your brain in this specific instance could cause the party to come to an end prematurely. Don’t let that happen, drinking is for (HUMAN!) adults.

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