Does My Dog Know When I'm Drunk?

By Ashley Tyler

You just Ubered home from a long night of drinking with your friends and walk in the door expecting your pup to jump all over you with excitement the second she sees your face. But she doesn't. And if you think you spotted a disapproving look on her face, you're probably right.

You might be able to fake being sober around your friends, your parents and maybe even the police — but you'll never be able to fool your dog.

They can smell it on you.

It's no secret that dogs have a powerful sense of smell. According to an article published by PBS, "they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in us. And the part of a dog's brain that is devoted to analyzing smells is, proportionally speaking, 40 times greater than ours."

There are numerous reports about dog's being able to sniff out everything from minute traces of narcotics to the early stages of cancer, so assuming that they can't smell the alcohol on you is just plain crazy.

Up close dog nose
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They can smell it on your breath, oozing from your pores — they'd even be able to smell it if you were underwater. Marbach Road Animal Hospital puts it all in perspective by explaining, "dogs can pick up scents that are diluted to 1 or 2 parts per trillion; This allows them to smell things buried as far as 40 feet underground!"

Basically, as soon as you walked in the door your dog knew something was different because the scent they usually associate with you is totally off and out of the ordinary.

They can read your body language

man holding a bottle of whiskey and cigar
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Your dog is no dummy, especially if they are one of the top 10 smartest breeds, but either way, just know that they know exactly what you've been doing for the past 5 hours.

Forbes Magazine reports that when you drink alcohol it affects things like your medulla, which controls automatic body functions like breathing, and body temperature. This will also make you feel sleepy, which your dog will take as a definite red flag if it happens during a normal awake time.

Alcohol also takes a toll on your cerebellum, which is responsible for your movement and balance. So when you stumble and fall into the coffee table next time you've knocked back a few too many, you'll know who to blame (hint: it's not the table).

Your dog can detect even the smallest change in your demeanor and body language. Our body language tells our dog what to expect and if "your body language is unintentionally intimidating, erratic, or contradicts the cues you are trying to give, the result can be a very confused, uncertain, frightened, or aggressive dog."

The website Responsible Drinking elaborates by explaining that being drunk also causes you to be more likely to: make poor decisions, become forgetful, have slurred speech, poor reaction time and a slew of other implications that will make your dog's ears perk up as she silently judges you inside her head.

Asian Handsome Man in bed with tablets
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Not to mention the fact that you'll likely have a killer hangover the next morning and sleep in later than usual, forcing your pup to either wait longer to be let outside or go on the floor and potentially get in trouble for it because your head's going to be pounding too much to clean it up. You'll also be groggy and less willing to play with your dog or take them on a jaunt to the dog park.

dog pee
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If you aren't able to take good care of yourself, there's no way you'll be able to take good care of your pooch. Once in a while is one thing, but after doing it repeatedly, your pup will definitely know what to expect (or not expect) from you the next time you stumble through the front door.

Maybe that's why she got mad and ate your favorite pair of shoes after last weekend's all-nighter.

Are you interested in learning more about what you're reading? Then scroll through this article about what it means when your pet doesn't remember you. Also, like us on Facebook and join our newsletter to learn more about your pet's behavior.