Can My Dog Drink Alcohol?

Here's why you should think twice before sneaking him that sip of beer 🍻

dog drinking a mug of beer

If you're unwinding with a beer or a glass of wine, it might be tempting to sneak a sip to your dog.

You might think, “Could one tiny sip really hurt?” Well, the answer is definitely YES, it can.

The Dodo spoke with Dr. Bernadine Cruz, a veterinarian at Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in California, to find out why your dog can’t be your drinking buddy.

Dogs and alcohol

First things first: Alcohol is toxic to dogs.

That means you shouldn’t just avoid cracking open a cold one for your pup — you should also make sure to clean up any cups, cans or spills before your dog can get to them. 

“Dogs can be attracted to the sweet taste … [of] a mixed drink [or] beer,” Dr. Cruz told The Dodo. “Depending on the quantity the pet is exposed to, the signs and severity of the signs will vary.”

Dogs can even absorb alcohol through their skin, so it’s super important to keep all alcoholic drinks away from your pup.
Signs of alcohol toxicity in dogs

“At a lower dose [of alcohol], dogs can become drunk and ‘look’ funny,” Dr. Cruz said. “They can become disoriented [and] frightened.”

But when your dog is suffering from alcohol toxicity due to ingesting a higher volume of alcohol, he might show more serious symptoms like:

  • Drooling
  • Incoordination
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unconsciousness

According to Dr. Cruz, symptoms can show up as quickly as 30 minutes after your pup has been exposed to alcohol.

Dangers of alcohol toxicity

If your dog isn’t treated, alcohol toxicity can lead to some really scary — and even fatal — health effects. These include:

  • Low body temperature
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Stupor
  • Low blood sugar
  • Coma
  • Death

What to do if your dog drinks alcohol

The absolute first thing you should do is contact your vet, immediately.

They’ll most likely tell you to come to the hospital ASAP (there’s a small chance they might talk you through making your dog vomit at home, but you should never try to do that without a vet coaching you through it).

While you’re waiting to get treatment, there are some things you can do to help your dog out:

  • Keep him warm
  • Help him safely down the stairs or off of furniture
  • Keep his head up in case of vomiting
  • Give him water
  • Feed him honey if he seems very weak (he might have low blood sugar)

But the best thing to do to keep your dog super safe is to make sure he can’t get his paws on any alcohol in the first place.