Can Dogs Drink Alcohol?

We like sharing with our furry friend’s majority of the foods and drinks we consume. While they can be harmless to dogs most of the time, some can have adverse effects on their health. Alcohol is one of them as it is toxic to dogs and can even be fatal to them.

While some dogs might enjoy consuming various alcoholic drinks, it will be best not to offer them such drinks. You can provide your dog with an alternate drink that is homemade from a fruit that is not toxic to them.

What Occurs When a Dog Drinks Alcohol?

Alcohol contains an intoxicating agent known as ethanol which causes alcohol intoxication in dogs. If untreated, it can cause organ failure, affecting your dog’s quality of life.

Is It Okay for a Dog to Have a Sip of Alcohol?


Most dogs will wag their tails and show interest when you are consuming anything. While it can seem harmless for them to take a sip, it is never okay to let your dog drink alcohol. As a dog owner, you are responsible for keeping your pet safe, and that includes not offering them something that can jeopardize their health.

Can Dogs Get Drunk?

Dogs can get drunk from having foods and drinks that contain alcohol. There are several signs of canine intoxication. They include:

  • Staggering
  • Drooling and nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Slow breathing
  • Bad breath
  • Tremors
  • Increased thirst
  • Diarrhea

Effects of Alcohol Consumption

Alcohol can have long-lasting damage to your furry friend beyond getting drunk for a while. Some of the effects of alcohol poisoning on canines include:

Increased Sugar Levels

Pancreas assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels in the bloodstream. Alcohol is associated with liver and pancreas damage. If a dog’s pancreas is damaged, it can experience hypoglycemia or blood sugar issues.

If your canine is diabetic, they might experience more significant complications if their bodies won’t manage to balance sugar levels. Most vets advise pet owners to safeguard their alcohol completely so that their dogs don’t accidentally consume it.

Damaged Central Nervous System

One of the best ways to know how alcohol affects a dog’s body is by understanding the alcohol effects on a dog’s nervous system. A key sign of intoxication in canines is their loss of coordination and consciousness. Over time, alcohol can damage the central nervous system.

Alcohol will damage a dog’s frontal lobe, which is the part of the brain that executes functions such as performance and social behavior. The damage to the frontal lobe will change a dog’s general behavior, and it can become depressed or hostile.

Disrupted Digestive System

A dog’s regular consumption of alcohol can damage its digestive system with time. You will only notice the side effects after the damage is done, and continued alcohol consumption will only worsen the symptoms.

The damage to tissues in a dog’s intestines can prevent proper digestion and absorption of food, causing malnutrition.

Your dog can also develop ulcers and internal bleeding, which is dangerous if not diagnosed and treated. Other effects on the digestive system include bloating, gas, and a feeling of fullness in the abdominal region.

Circulatory System Issues

If you are used to sharing alcohol with your pooch, they are susceptible to developing heart-related problems. One of the common complications is anemia, where your dog has a low blood count. Other circulatory system issues include:

  • Stroke
  • Heart failure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart attack

Weakened Skeletal And Muscle Systems

Just like humans, alcohol can affect a dog’s bone density. This will lead to your dog having thinner bones, consequently increasing their risk of developing fractures. Alcohol can also cause dogs to have muscle weakness and cramping every time they engage in physical activities. Though these health issues can be treated, they can take longer to heal.

Compromised Immune System

Dogs have a lower alcohol tolerance than humans, affecting their natural immune system and leaving them vulnerable to infections. A dog’s weakened immune system might have a hard time fighting off fatal diseases such as liver and colon cancer.

Inflammatory Damage

A dog’s liver is responsible for removing toxins in the body. In the case of alcohol poisoning, their low tolerance to it makes it harder for them to metabolize and get rid of ethanol.

This will increase your dog’s chances of developing liver-related diseases and chronic inflammation. When there is a development of scar tissues, it can damage the liver permanently.

When a dog’s liver becomes damaged, it can be life-threatening because of waste and toxin build-up in their bodies.

How Can I Treat Alcohol Poisoning in a Dog?

Canines with alcohol poisoning commonly suffer from low blood sugar, dehydration, and low body temperature. It is essential to give the appropriate first aid before rushing them to the vet for further treatment.

Start by giving your dog clean water and wrap them in a blanket if their temperature drops. Offer dog-friendly cookies if you see them showing signs of weakness.

Is Alcohol Drunkenness Different in Humans and Dogs?


Both dogs and humans show similar signs of intoxication from drinking alcohol. While you might find the symptoms amusing because of how your dog acts when drunk, your dog can get metabolic acidosis from even a small amount of alcohol. Their body tissues can be bathed in acid, causing an array of issues and, depending on the levels of ethanol, even cause death.

How to Prevent a Dog from Drinking Alcohol?

You need to take the necessary precautions to ensure that your furry friend doesn’t drink any alcohol.

  1. Clean after alcohol spills
  2. Avoid leaving alcoholic drinks unattended
  3. Keep all forms of alcohol out of your dog’s reach
  4. Talk to your guest about the importance of not offering alcohol to dogs

Final Thoughts

Alcohol might not be harmful to humans when moderately drunk, but it is an extremely toxic drink to dogs. Your dog can develop several health issues from having some, and not even a single sip is recommended! If your dog drinks alcohol accidentally, reach out to a vet immediately.

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