You may have alcohol around the house when you have guests over or if you’re simply trying to relax after a long day or week. You are enjoying your drink and turn around to find your dog is drinking some alcohol, too. Questions may quickly raise such as, “what can happen?” and “what should you do?” A dog drinking alcohol is a veterinary emergency that you should take seriously. In enough quantities, alcohol can be toxic to humans, let alone our little canine companions, who are much smaller than we are, and with an even lower tolerance. 

How Can Dogs Be Poisoned by Alcohol? 

Dogs can experience alcohol poisoning from products other than an alcoholic drink. Dogs can accidentally consume alcohol from ingesting different products, from fermented dough to antifreeze, and more. Beverages such as beer, wine, distilled liquor, as well as rubbing alcohol like isopropyl alcohol which has 100% alcohol concentration can cause intoxication and alcohol poisoning in as little 30 minutes. All these alcohols can be severely toxic if a dog consumes them, even in small quantities. 

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs 

Alcohol is rapidly absorbed in your dog’s bloodstream and can cause dangerous drops in blood sugar, blood pressure, and body temperature. Compared to a human, a dog’s small body size will result in fast absorption of alcohol. Their liver will absorb the alcohol and they can experience seizures or respiratory failure. Low blood sugar and a reduction in body temperatures can result in other severe clinical signs. Other symptoms include: 

  • Depression or lethargy 
  • Incoordination 
  • Drooling 
  • Vomiting 
  • Weakness 
  • Collapse 
  • Decreased respiratory rate 
  • Hypoglycemia 
  • Hypotension 
  • Hypothermia 

Treatment for Alcohol Poisoning 

If you discover your dog has ingested alcohol, Pet Poison Helpline®’s 24/7 hotline is always on call to help you with such an emergency. You should get your dog to a vet as soon as possible before the effects of alcohol can cause further damage to organs and body systems. Your vet will likely induce vomiting. IV fluids and other medications may be administered to address other clinical signs. Your dog should be able to recover after receiving proper medical care in a timely manner. Call Pet Poison Helpline® at (855) 764-7661 with any questions or concerns regarding alcohol poisoning in pets.