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Can Dogs Drink Beer? Is Beer Safe for Dogs?

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By Nicole Cosgrove

a glass of beer on a wooden surface

Given that dogs playing poker serves as the basis for one of the most famous paintings in history, you’d think that pups would love beer. Some do, in fact — and that’s a big problem, as alcohol of any kind is extremely dangerous for dogs.

While beer is definitely bad for dogs, exactly how bad will depend on a variety of factors. In the article below, we’ll explore why beer is so dangerous and what to do if your dog has had a bit too much to drink.

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Is Beer Safe for Dogs?

The primary ingredient in beer that could prove dangerous to dogs is alcohol. There are other problematic things inside, like hops, but those are mainly only an issue if your dog gets into them during the brewing process.

Alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning in dogs, and that condition can be fatal in a short amount of time. It can cause dangerous dips in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature; it can also lead to respiratory failure and seizures.

How much beer your dog can drink before alcohol poisoning sets in will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of beer, the size of the dog, and how much they consumed. However, don’t assume that any amount of beer is safe.

That being said, a tiny bit of beer isn’t likely to cause serious issues. It’s larger quantities that should concern you, but you should watch your dog closely, regardless of how much they’ve had to drink.

Beer variety
Image credit: PeterKraayvanger, Pixabay

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs?

As mentioned, if your dog has had a tiny bit of beer, you probably don’t have anything to worry about. Just watch them closely to make sure they’re not behaving strangely.

If they’ve had more than just a little sip or you don’t know exactly how much they drank, then you need to be on the lookout for the symptoms of alcohol poisoning:

  • Lethargy
  • Lack of coordination
  • Excessive drooling
  • Weakness or collapse
  • Vomiting
  • Lowered respiratory rate

If you notice any of the above symptoms, call poison control or your vet as soon as possible.

Sick Dachshund
Image credit: llaszlo, Shutterstock

My Dog Drank Some Beer. What Should I Do?

If your dog drank some beer, it’s important to take immediate action. The first thing you should do is gather as much information as possible, as your vet will need all the help that they can get when treating your pup.

Start by noting how much they drank, if you can. Check the label of the beer to see how much alcohol is inside, and look to see if there are any other problematic ingredients. Also, take note of what symptoms your dog is exhibiting, if any.

Call poison control or your doctor, and give them all the information you’ve collected. They’ll let you know how serious the problem is, and whether you should seek immediate medical attention.

If they decide that you should head to the vet, gather up your dog and leave immediately. The longer you wait, the worse your dog’s chances of recovery will become. Head into the vet’s office and share all the information you have.

Depending on how your dog is faring, your vet may want to admit them for treatment and testing. They’ll likely want to run blood tests, put your dog on IV fluids, and administer other medication as needed. As long as your dog hasn’t ingested too much alcohol or waited too long to get treatment, their chances to fully recover are high.

How Do I Stop My Dog From Drinking Beer?

Most dogs have no interest in beer, but some will drink it if they can. As a result, you should never leave an open container out where your dog can get it unless you’re certain that they won’t sample it.

Beyond that, the most common way that dogs get into beer is when people offer it to them willingly. This isn’t funny —it can be lethal to your pet, so never do it.

beer mug close up
Image credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Also, if you see other people in your home doing it, stop them immediately. Remember, they’re actively trying to hurt your dog, so treat the situation with the severity it deserves. It’s not a joke, and you’re not overreacting by putting a stop to it.

You should also be careful about other sources that may have alcohol; for example, many desserts — like rum cake — have alcohol inside. As a result, you should always check the ingredients on anything before sharing scraps with your pup.

Ultimately, the only way to be completely sure that your dog won’t ingest alcohol is not to bring any inside your home. Most people aren’t willing to go that far, so you’ll just have to stay focused to ensure your pooch won’t drink any accidentally.

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So, What’s the Verdict? Is Beer Safe for Dogs?

While it may be tempting to share your favorite adult beverage with your best friend, you should never give your dog beer. The alcohol inside can be extremely toxic to them, and it could even prove fatal.

Beer isn’t as bad as some other alcoholic beverages, but it’s still something to be taken seriously. If you suspect that your mutt has had some of your beer, contact your vet or poison control immediately, and watch your dog for any signs of alcohol poisoning.

There’s no reason that your dog can’t survive a run-in with a beer, but that will ultimately depend on your reaction to the situation. The more proactive you are, the better your dog’s chances of recovery will be, so don’t dawdle.

Featured Image Credit: Frantisek_Krejci, Pixabay

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