I know that you consider your dog a buddy, but sharing a beverage with it is questionable, and many people have no clue can dogs drink beer. Therefore, you should check it and learn about how much beer can a dog drink without negative consequences to its health.
Believe it or not, canines can suffer from alcohol poisoning and other harmful alcohol intake effects like humans. If you notice any worrying symptoms after your dog has tasted beer, you need to take it to the vet right away for treatment, observing, and rehydration measures.
Can Dogs Drink Beer?
A canines’ livers are not designed to process any alcohol. So, your dog can suffer from alcohol poisoning like you, but it is more susceptible to intoxication because of its size. Drinking can be dangerous for your buddy, especially if you have a small or toy breed.
Another problem is the amount of alcohol consumed. For example, craft beer always contains a higher alcohol level than a commercial one.
There is one more thing! When your dog that weighs 20 pounds (9 kg) drinks only one can of beer in 5 minutes, it is the same as a man weighing 200 pounds (91 kg) drinks ten beers for the same time. Can you imagine that shock for a dog’s body and the level of weakening its immune system in a short period?
In most cases, it will take only 15 to 30 minutes from the start of beer drinking until the dog’s CNS (central nervous system) shows the first signs of depression. As soon as you notice increased urination and slowed reflexes, you need to take your buddy to the vet before it is too late.
Dogs have lived with humans for thousands of years, and it is natural for both species to share many things. Unfortunately, drinking beer is one of the things that can be harmful to your four-legged friend.
Keep in mind that your dog’s exposure to this beverage is only possible through you. Basically, your pet doesn’t need to drink alcohol at all but won’t refuse to share any activity with you because it loves you and enjoys your company.
As you can guess, the possible toxicity will always be your fault when it happens the first time. Once your dog tries beer, it will probably like the drink’s taste and try to get it once more. Therefore, you need to be careful and avoid leaving a glass of beer where your pet can effortlessly catch it.
Beer Ingredients Toxic for Dogs
Most owners are not aware of how potentially toxic some beer ingredients can be to their dogs.
The dog’s body can’t adequately metabolize ethanol. You should know that 1 ml of 100% ethanol is equal to 0.789 g, and the oral lethal dose for canines is 5.5 to 7.9 g/kg. As you can see, the amount of ethanol necessary to cause intoxication in dogs will vary depending on its concentration in beer.
Keep in mind that it is also crucial what breed you have. The alcohol quantity consumed per 1 pound (0.45 kg) of dogs’ body weight will determine the toxicity level.
For example, your 6 pounds (2.7 kg) heavy Yorkshire terrier will be in far more danger than your Labrador weighing 76 pounds (34.5 kg) after consuming the same amount of ethanol. According to experts, the ideal amount of beer your dog should drink is actually ZERO. Let me explain.
Your liver will process approximately 90 to 98% of the alcohol you drink, thanks to enzymes that rapidly metabolize alcohol. On the other hand, your dog’s liver can’t process alcohol, and it will quickly and permanently damage this organ. The result will be rapid and often fatal toxicity.
2. Hops (Humulus lupulus)
This plant’s female flowers are a necessary ingredient in brewing along with grain, yeast, and water. It adds a bitter tanginess to the final product but is also highly toxic to canines. Ingested in small quantities, hops provoke:
- Uncontrolled body temperature oscillations
- Malignant hyperthermia with body temperature rising above 105 F (40.5 C)
Unfortunately, larger hops quantities will potentially cause permanent kidney damage in your pet. Therefore, you should be careful, especially if you brew beer at your home. This ingredient can harm your dog in both ways while drinking beer and consuming fresh or dried hops prepared for production.
It seems that hops differently affect various breeds, and cause symptoms of varying severity, depending on the dog’s size and the quantity of consumed hops. Some breeds are more susceptible to this plant, including:
- Siberian Husky
- Alaskan Malamute
- Saint Bernard
- Golden Retrievers
- Labrador Retrievers
- English Springer Spaniel
- Border Collies
- Chow Chow
Sometimes, it won’t kill the dog but will cause severe damage to its body. In other words, there is no entirely safe amount for your dog to consume.
This process often leads to bloat in canines. If you have a dog breed prone to this condition, you can quickly put it in danger. The problem is produced gasses that cause swelling and prevent the vital organs from the blood supply.
What happens if a dog drinks beer?
In most cases, you can see the first signs of alcohol poisoning only 15 minutes after your dog has drunk beer. Be careful when:
- It starts to pant, stagger, shake, drool, and stumble
- Its reflexes begin to slow down
- It becomes confused
- It shows a lack of focus and problems with coordination
- The urination increases
Then, the dog will show the typical symptoms of alcohol toxicity, such as:
- Low blood pressure (Hypotension)
- Low blood sugar (Hypoglycemia)
- Muscle spasms
- Respiratory and kidney failure
- Rapid heart rate
- Seizures and fainting
The only chance your dog has in such a situation is immediate medical help. If you react inadequately, your pet will pass away because of cardiac arrest. Even if it survives, the significant kidney and liver damage will become a lifelong problem.
What to Do When the Dog Accidentally Drinks Beer?
Despite your best precautions, your dog can reach the glass and drink beer. In such a case, you should be prepared for different results, depending on the amount consumed. Beer will primarily affect CNS and then the whole body.
Impact on CNS
The first dog’s response to beer occurs after alcohol reaches the central nervous system. It will slow down, lose coordination, and become drowsy.
Any additional drinking will depress the nervous system, negatively affect breathing, and slow the heart rate. The real problems will come with body temperature fluctuation and blood chemistry alteration.
Since beer is a diuretic, it will cause dehydration and failure of dog’s body functions, including digestion, nutrient absorption, body temperature regulation, and fatal kidney impairment.
Drinking beer leads to sudden hypoglycemia (drop in blood sugar). As a result, it will lose coordination and consciousness, followed by seizures and brain damage. If your pet is diabetic, any amount of beer can be deadly.
The best solution is to take your buddy to the examination when it has drunk more than one sip, or you are not sure how much it can be. As soon as the first symptoms of poisoning occur, you should put the dog in the car and go to an emergency veterinarian clinic and ask for help.
Make sure to protect your dog from taking any alcohol, particularly beer, during hot summer days. There are a few proven tips on how to do that:
- Place beer in a fridge or cabinet, far away from the dog’s reach
- Always keep an eye on a glass of beer when your furry friend is around
- Immediately clean any beer spills no matter how much it is
- Ask your guests to avoid offering beer to your dog, even a sip
- Keep in mind that everyday household products and food contain ethanol, so keep them in a safe place
- Train your dog to avoid beer
Beer Alternative Harmless to the Dog
Luckily, you can find commercial, non-carbonated, hops-free, and alcohol-free dog beer types available on the market nowadays. Offer this beverage to your buddy as a special treat. You can use it in a few different ways, including:
- Pouring dog beer into the bowl
- Spraying dry kibble with this product
- Flavoring malt and beef with dog beer
- Freeze it to make a chilly summer treat.
Many dog owners are confused with this beverage’s smell and appearance. So, is it really beer? Actually, it is not. It is a meat broth made of malt barley and beef broth mixture, but your dog will undoubtedly adore it. Plus, it comes in a similar can, so your buddy will believe you share the same stuff.
As you can see, the ultimate option is to be responsible and avoid giving your dog any beer except a special dog beer. Your buddy deserves to be protected from alcohol poisoning and the severe consequences it may cause. After all, you can do so many wonderful things together, so risky behavior is not an option for a dedicated dog owner.