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 alcoholic beer?
Giving your dog too much alcohol, including beer, can cause 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, beer can bring about the same serious damage to dogs’ organs including kidneys, the liver and the brain as it can in humans.
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 way too far! But if you can safely give your dog with a very moderate among of beer then it may be harmless.
Beer Health Risks
Liver damage – A dog’s liver is smaller than that of a human. They’ll have a harder 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 the 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 when a dog becomes dehydrated and can even lead to death.
Physical depression – When they drink too much beer their central nervous system slows down and becomes depressed. Canines lose coordination, their heart rate and breathing will slow down and they can slip into a coma.
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 drastically. Low blood sugar causes K9 seizures and brain damage.
Kidney damage – Your dog’s kidneys filter blood, balance water and electrolytes in the blood stream. Kidneys also regulate acid-based concentrations. The alcohol in beer can disrupt or damage the canine kidneys. Without proper kidney function, your dog will get very sick or die.
If a dog drinks beer or some other alcoholic beverage, ethanol is absorbed into their body. A canine’s metabolism is not able to process ethanol as well as you. Size matters greatly when consuming alcohol. A smaller dog will get alcohol poisoning more quickly than a larger breed.
The better your dog’s general health, the longer alcohol takes to affect the dog. Let’s not test their health this way. If any dog drinks too much beer, either on purpose or by accident, alcohol poisoning is likely. Symptoms to look out for, before it’s too late, in such a situation are:
- Changes in mood
- Loss of coordination
- Increased urination
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased body temperature
If they consume 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. If your dog has recently eaten, they may not experience symptoms for one or two hours. Observable drunkenness is much more serious than visible drunkenness in a person due to their poor ability to handle the effects.
Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning
If you think your dog might be sick from drinking beer or some other alcohol, 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. They’ll also likely give your dog IV fluids to rehydrate and stabilize blood sugar levels.
If you got your dog 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!
Bottom Line on Dog & Beer
Giving beer to a dog is a bad idea. The risks that you’d 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.