Does Your Dog Drinks Alcohol?

Nov 7, 2023 | Dogs & Puppies | 3 comments

The image of a dog accidentally getting its paws on a cocktail or wine might seem funny in cartoons, but it’s no laughing matter in real life. Alcohol, specifically ethanol, can be highly toxic to our furry friends, and even a tiny amount can lead to serious health issues. If you’ve ever wondered, “Is it ever OK to let my dog sip my drink?” or “Is beer bad for dogs?” – read on.

Join us as we navigate the dos and don’ts of alcohol and dogs, ensuring your pet’s health and happiness remain a top priority. 🐾🍹

Ethanol Concentrations in Drinks

Understanding the ethanol concentrations in various drinks is vital. Generally, alcohol by volume (ABV) is the standard used to measure the amount of alcohol in a drink.

  • Beer: 4-6% ABV
  • Wine: 12-15% ABV
  • Spirits like vodka, rum, and whiskey: 40-50% ABV (though some can be much higher)

The higher the ABV, the greater the risk of poisoning for your dog. Thus, a tiny sip of whiskey could be much more harmful than a lick of beer. However, no amount is truly safe.

Sharing Your Beverage with Dog

Our furry friends possess a significantly lower tolerance for alcohol than humans do, meaning what might barely affect us can be hazardous for them. Water remains unparalleled for keeping your pet hydrated and healthy.

Before you consider treating your dog to anything other than water, it’s critical to thoroughly assess the ingredients and understand their potential impact on your dog’s health. Introducing substances other than water into your pet’s diet without proper knowledge can inadvertently put their well-being at risk.

Dogs livers don’t metabolize ethanol as efficiently as ours, making them more susceptible to its toxic effects. Plus, with their smaller body weight, even a tiny amount can lead to a high blood alcohol concentration.

dog drinking beer picture

Is Beer Bad for Dogs?

You might think, “But it’s just beer with a lower ABV!” True, beer generally has a lower ethanol concentration than spirits. However, it’s not just about the ethanol. Beer also contains hops, which can be toxic to some dogs, leading to malignant hyperthermia, where the body temperature rises rapidly and can be fatal. So, even if your dog doesn’t show immediate signs of alcohol poisoning, there’s still a risk of hop toxicity.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Toxicity in Dogs

If your dog has consumed alcohol, be on the lookout for these signs and symptoms:

  • Incoordination or difficulty walking: Often, this is one of the first noticeable signs. Your dog might seem unsafe or unable to stand.
  • Depression or lethargy: Your dog may appear unusually quiet, listless, or unresponsive.
  • Vomiting: Alcohol irritates the stomach lining, and your dog might vomit.
  • Increased urination: Alcohol can lead to diuresis, where the dog urines more frequently.
  • A slowed respiratory rate can lead to respiratory failure if not treated promptly.
  • Seizures or tremors: In severe cases, dogs can experience seizures or muscle tremors.
  • Decreased body temperature: Your dog might feel cold to the touch.

If you notice any of these symptoms or suspect your dog might have ingested alcohol, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet clinic immediately. Time is of the essence.

Dog drinks alcohol picture

What to Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol?

  • Don’t panic: Stay calm and collected. Your dog will need you to be focused.
  • Do not induce vomiting unless instructed by a vet: While it might seem like a good idea, it can be dangerous or ineffective, depending on the amount and type of alcohol consumed.
  • Contact your vet immediately: Provide them with as much information as possible – the type of alcohol, the estimated amount consumed, the weight of your dog, and any symptoms you’ve noticed.
  • Monitor your dog’s behavior, breathing, and any other symptoms.
  • Keep alcohol out of reach: Prevention is the best remedy. Ensure all alcoholic beverages are stored safely away from your pet’s reach.

While a sip of your drink might seem harmless, the potential risks to your dog are significant. Be cautious, prioritize their health, and keep that glass of wine or beer safely out of their reach. Your furry friend depends on you to keep them safe!


American paws divider



Can dogs have non-alcoholic beer?

Non-alcoholic beer still contains trace amounts of alcohol and other ingredients that might harm dogs, like hops. It’s best to avoid giving it to them.

What should I do if my dog accidentally consumes alcohol?

If your dog drinks alcohol, it’s crucial to act quickly. Please remove any remaining alcohol from their reach, monitor their symptoms closely, and contact your veterinarian immediately for guidance. Even small amounts of alcohol can be harmful to dogs and require prompt attention.

How can I tell if my dog has ingested alcohol?

Signs that your dog may have consumed alcohol include disorientation, staggering, vomiting, excessive drooling, and changes in behavior. Seek veterinary assistance immediately to prevent potential health complications.

What are the potential risks of alcohol ingestion for dogs?

Alcohol ingestion can pose serious risks to dogs, including alcohol poisoning, respiratory depression, seizures, and even coma or death in severe cases. It’s essential to recognize the signs of alcohol ingestion and seek prompt veterinary care to mitigate these risks.

Can dogs tolerate any amount of alcohol?

Alcohol affects dogs differently than it does humans due to their size, metabolism, and lack of tolerance. Even a small amount of alcohol can cause significant harm to a dog’s health.

What steps can I take to prevent my dog from accessing alcohol?

To prevent your dog from drinking alcohol, store all alcoholic beverages securely out of reach, especially during gatherings or parties. Be vigilant about spilled drinks and empty containers, and educate guests about the dangers of sharing alcohol with pets. Consider providing safe alternatives, such as water or pet-friendly treats, for your dog to enjoy.

Can I celebrate with a dog without an alcohol ingestion?

You can celebrate safely with your dog by ensuring they can access plenty of fresh water and pet-friendly activities and treats. Keep alcoholic beverages well out of reach, and supervise your dog closely during gatherings or celebrations.



  1. William

    I’m always worried about my dog getting into things he shouldn’t. Thanks for the tips on what to do if this ever happens. It’s great to have a resource like this for pet owners.

  2. PartyPupParentPaul

    Our mischievous pup once got into a beer

  3. Pam

    My pup once got into a beer at a family gathering. scary thing your advice was spot on.


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