Hops (Beer)

Pictured: Hops (Beer)

Poisonous to: Cats, Dogs

Level of toxicity: Generally mild to severe, depending on the amount ingested

Common signs to watch for:

  • Elevated body temperature (with temperatures exceeding 105⁰F/40.6⁰C)
  • Increased breathing
  • Racing heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Abnormal clotting
  • Death

Humulus lupulus, commonly known as hops, is a plant used in the process of brewing beer. As home brewing increases in popularity, more dogs may be at risk for exposure. Hops plugs (which typically are dried) tend to be more toxic than hops pellets. The exact toxic principle is unknown, but may be related to essential oils, resins, phenolic compounds, or nitrogenous constituents within the plant. When ingested by dogs (or rarely, cats), signs of hop poisoning include malignant hyperthermia (with temperatures exceeding 105⁰F/40.6⁰C), increased breathing, a racing heart rate, anxiety, vomiting, abnormal clotting, and even death. Death has been reported in dogs poisoned by hops within 6 hours of ingestion (without treatment). Any breed of dog may be affected, but breeds predisposed to malignant hyperthermia (e.g., greyhounds, Labrador retrievers, Saint Bernards, pointers, Dobermans, Border collies, English springer spaniels, and northern breeds) are at higher risk for toxicity.

Poison type: foods

Alternate names: beer, brewing, malignant hyperthermia, Humulus