What Happens If a Dog Drinks Alcohol?

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No ifs, ands or buts about it: alcohol is extremely dangerous to dogs. Beer alone can cause serious complications and deadly symptoms, and most beer contains around 3 percent to 5 percent alcohol -- liquor often ranges from 30 percent to 80 percent. Liquor consumption means an immediate vet visit.


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Alcohol affects dogs in almost an identical fashion as it affects you -- think drowsiness, slow reflexes and a drunken gait. Once your pup has consumed too much alcohol, he suffers from alcohol poisoning, which results in vomiting, difficulty breathing, coma, heart attack and, as the
symptoms foreshadow, possibly death.

What to Do

A drop of liquor isn't going to cause harm to your dog. But lapping it out of your glass or drinking a spill from the floor can have devastating effects in short order, especially if he's a small breed and is drinking on an empty stomach. Load him up in your car and drive to your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. If the amount your pup drank results in alcohol poisoning, your quick action can ward off dangerous and life-threatening symptoms via medication, activated charcoal and intravenous fluids.


By Chris Miksen


WebMD: Top 10 Dog Poisons
PetMD: Ethanol Poisoning in Dogs
Canidae Natural Pet Foot Responsible Pet Ownership Blog: Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

About the Author
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.