Can I Give My Dog Beer?

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 a good idea to give your K9 pal a beer? Many of us have seen dogs being fed beer in movies and in funny home videos, but giving a dog beer is a really bad idea.

Giving your dog beer, or any alcohol, can actually cause symptoms ranging from vomiting to brain damage and even death. No matter how much they beg, all alcoholic beverages should be considered a big “NO!” for your pet.

Beer can cause the same damage to a dog’s kidneys, liver, and brain as it can in humans. But because dogs are smaller in size, the damage happens much quicker and can be deadly to your dog.

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 definitely be on the list of things NOT to feed your dog. If you see them acting drunk then you’ve gone too far. Sadly, that’s what some people are aiming for, watching a drunk dog as a form of entertainment.

Beer Health Risks

Liver damage – A dog’s liver is much smaller than that of a human and will have a much harder time processing the alcohol in beer or alcohol. Just like humans, liver damage is irreparable and can be fatal. Unless you want to put Fido on dialysis, keep them away from the beer.

Dehydration – Drinking beer instead of water will not hydrate your pet. Dogs need plenty of water to stay healthy and drinking beer not only depletes them of water but also essential electrolytes. Minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium are lost when a dog becomes dehydrated and can lead to death.

Physical depression – When a dog drinks beer it causes their central nervous system to slow down and become depressed. This causes the dog to lose coordination and can even slow their heart rate and breathing down to the point where they can slip into a coma.

Cardiac Arrest – High levels of alcohol in your dog’s blood stream can make their blood too acidic and can induce cardiac arrest.

Low blood sugar – Beer or alcohol can also cause your pet’s blood sugar to drop drastically. A low blood sugar count can cause seizures and brain damage in your dog.

Kidney damage – A dog’s kidneys are designed to filter blood, balance water and electrolytes in their blood stream. Kidneys also regulate acid-based concentrations in a dogs’ body. Even small amounts of alcohol found in beer can disrupt or damage the kidneys of a K9. Without proper kidney function, your dog will get very sick or die.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

If a dog drinks beer or other alcoholic beverages, the main ingredient, ethanol, is absorbed into their body. A canine’s metabolism is much different than that of a humans’ and is not able to process ethanol as well as you. Size does indeed matter when consuming alcohol and a smaller dog will get alcohol poisoning much more quickly than a larger dog. Also, the better your dog’s general health, the longer alcohol takes to affect the dog. Let’s not test their health in this way.

I know that if my dog drinks beer either on purpose or by accident, alcohol poisoning is very likely. You should know the symptoms to look out for so that you can get your dog the help they need before it is too late in such a situation.

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

If your dog consumes even a small amount of alcohol on an empty stomach, you may begin to see symptoms of alcohol poisoning in as little as thirty minutes. However, if your dog has recently eaten, you may not experience symptoms for one or two hours.

Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning of a Dog

If you think your dog might be sick from drinking beer or some other alcohol, it is important that you get them to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. 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 various internal organs. Treatment may include giving the dog activated charcoal, which can help remove the alcohol from your dog’s blood. The vet will also likely give your dog some IV fluids to help keep them hydrated and keep their blood sugar levels normal.

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

Bottom Line on Giving a Dog Beer

Can you give beer to your dog? This is a definite “NO!” The answer is easy. All the risks that you put your dog through by giving them beer just aren’t worth it. You can enjoy time with your dog in many ways, but save the beer drinking for when you are with your human pals.

Add Your Own Answer to Can I Give My Dog Beer? Below

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Evan July 6, 2013

Unscientific fear mongering. 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.


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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