Can I Give My Dog Beer?

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Can I Give My Dog Beer?There’s nothing like sharing a nice cold beer with your buddies after a hard day’s work. Maybe you’d like to share one with man’s best friend, too, but is it really okay to give your dog alcoholic beer?

Dogs who drink too much alcohol, including beer, can experience symptoms ranging from vomiting to brain damage, even death. No matter how much they beg, alcoholic beverages should be off limits for your pet.

Longer term, and just like in humans, beer consumption can bring about serious damage to your dog’s organs including their kidneys, the liver and the brain.

Can I Give My Dog Beer? Answer: No

It may be funny to watch your intoxicated dog stumble around, especially after you’ve drunk your share, but beer should be on the list of things not to give your dog.

If you see them acting drunk, you’ve already gone too far! But if you can safely give your dog with a very moderate amount of beer then it may be harmless.

Beer Health Risks

Liver damage – A dog’s liver is small. They’ll have a hard time processing the alcohol in beer. Liver damage is irreparable and can be fatal. Unless you want to put Fido on dialysis, keep them away from beer.

Dehydration – Drinking beer instead of water will not hydrate your pet. Dogs need plenty of water to stay healthy. Drinking beer depletes them of water and also essential electrolytes. Minerals like sodium, chloride and potassium are lost following dehydration.

Physical depression – When they drink too much beer their central nervous system slows down and becomes depressed. Canines can lose coordination, their heart rate and breathing will slow down and slipping into a coma is possible.

Cardiac Arrest – High levels of alcohol in your dog can make their blood too acidic inducing cardiac arrest.

Low blood sugar – Beer or any other alcohol can cause your pet’s blood sugar to drop. Low blood sugar causes seizures and brain damage.

Kidney damage – Your dog’s kidneys filter blood, balance water and electrolytes in the blood stream. Alcoholic beer can disrupt or damage canine kidneys. Without proper kidney function, your dog will get very sick or die.

K9 Alcohol Symptoms

If a dog drinks beer or wine or any other alcoholic beverage, ethanol is absorbed into their body. Their metabolism can’t process ethanol as well as you. Size matters greatly when consuming alcohol and so dogs will get alcohol poisoning more quickly.

Any dog drinking too much beer, either on purpose or by accident, will likely get alcohol poisoning. Symptoms to look out for, before it’s too late, in such a situation are:

  • Changes in mood
  • Confusion
  • Hyperactivity
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased urination
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Decreased temperature
  • Seizures

If they consume even a small amount of alcohol on an empty stomach, you may begin to see symptoms in as little as thirty minutes. If your dog has recently eaten, you may not notice any signs for one or two hours. Observable canine drunkenness is much more serious than when you see a drunk person because dogs simply can’t handle the effects.

Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning

If you think your dog might be sick from drinking beer, get them to a veterinarian ASAP. Fortunately, most dogs can be successfully treated for alcohol poisoning if taken to a vet in time.

In most cases, the vet will draw blood to measure your dog’s blood alcohol content and check for damage to internal organs. Treatment may include activated charcoal which can help remove alcohol from your dog’s blood stream. They’ll also likely give your dog IV fluids to rehydrate and stabilize blood sugar levels.

If you got your best friend the proper treatment in time, they should begin to recover from an alcohol encounter within eight to twelve hours. This assumes you don’t have a really drunk dog!

Conclusion on Dogs & Beer

Giving beer to a dog is a bad idea. The risks that you’d potentially put your dog through by giving them beer, which is commonly made with barley, just aren’t worth it. Enjoy time with your dog in other ways. Save the beer drinking for when you are with your human pals.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Emma November 10, 2014

A lot of people seem to have different ideas on what the answer to this question is. My neighbor’s dog once knocked over my glass of red wine and began to lap it up. We laughed about it, but stopped him right away because it just didn’t seem like a good thing for him. I’ve heard about people that let their dogs drink beer. My Dad said that he would never do it, but says that a tiny amount shouldn’t hurt them. I think that not even half a glass is an okay amount, purely because dogs are smaller than humans. The smaller you are then the more drunk you get (unless you drink all of the time). Dogs would probably also get liver cancer and such if they binge-drunk like some humans did.

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Jake October 7, 2014

I have a English red lab that has been over 100 pounds since he was 9 months old. He will be 13 on 01/26/15. He has gotten completely hammered on multiple occasions. Some of them by him knocking over beers and drinking some because, well he’s my boy. I don’t give him any unless he wants it. I ask him “you wanna beer?” and if he barks like he does when begging for a treat then I give him one. If he does nothing then I don’t.

He has lived well past the age that even the vets thought he would because of his size. I also have a black lab that is 66 pounds of pure muscle and he doesn’t like beer at all, but he loves hard liquor like brandy. He’s only 4 yrs old but I do the same thing with him. If he don’t want it then I won’t give it to him. But then again Labs are a strong breed and I know my boys like the back of my hand. I have had both of them smashed but it’s funny how they will tell me when they have had enough. However, I would not recommend giving any drank to a dog that is a small or toy breed.

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Victor October 5, 2014

People drink alcohol to temporarily forget their woes, unwind, “chill” and relax. Many humans are constantly hiding behind a mask and most seem unable to let their hair down and unwind without alcohol. Now ask yourself if your dog suffers from the same limitations before feeding them alcohol.

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Evan July 6, 2013

All the reasons you list go the same for human beings, but we drink alcohol all the time. I’m sure occasional doses and a low blood concentration, e.g. <1 g/L, is relatively harmless or does no more harm than it does to a human.

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James July 6, 2013

Evan, I agree with you in principle but I just cannot recommend anyone giving alcohol to a dog. Of course, people do so all the time without incident. This article is intended for people who are on the fence about it.

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Mike May 2, 2014

As little as I know about dog’s organs, I disagree with you Evan. Chocolate is relatively harmless for humans but not so for canines. They have much more sensitive liver and kidneys. Dogs’ kidneys simply can’t stand salty food as normal humans consume. I mean, I drink beer or wine every day and get drunk much more than I should, but never would consider giving my dog even a beer.

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