What to Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol

What to Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol

Here’s what you need to know about alcohol poisoning in dogs, including what to do and the importance of veterinary intervention:

Why Alcohol is Dangerous for Dogs

  • Small Amounts Are Toxic: Dogs metabolize alcohol differently than humans, making them far more sensitive. Even a little bit can be harmful.
  • Serious Effects: Alcohol poisoning in dogs can cause:
    • Nervous system impairment (loss of coordination, lethargy)
    • Dangerously low blood sugar
    • Metabolic problems that can be life-threatening
    • Digestive upset (vomiting, diarrhea)

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning

  • Vomiting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures and tremors
  • Breathing trouble
  • Unconsciousness
  • Behavioral changes
  • Drooling excessively

What To Do If Your Dog Drinks Alcohol

  1. Contact Your Vet Immediately: This is an emergency. Don’t wait for symptoms, especially if your dog consumed more than a tiny taste.
  2. Emergency Vet if After Hours: Get help as fast as possible if your regular vet clinic is closed.
  3. Bring the Packaging: If possible, have the container of the alcohol source with you for quick identification.

How Vets Diagnose & Treat Alcohol Poisoning

  • Vet Assessment: They’ll check vital signs, look for signs of alcohol toxicity, and may run blood tests.
  • Stabilization is Key: First goal is to address breathing issues, temperature problems, and low blood sugar.
  • Inducing Vomiting: May be done if ingestion was recent and the dog isn’t already symptomatic.
  • IV Fluids: Help with hydration, elimination of alcohol, and kidney function.
  • Supportive Care: May involve seizure medication or airway support. Skin may be washed if there was topical exposure.


  • Mild Cases: Effects may wear off in a few hours.
  • Serious Cases: Hospitalization for 24+ hours might be needed.
  • Rest at Home: Provide a quiet, comfortable space for your recovering dog.

Key Takeaways

  • Alcohol poisoning in dogs is a serious emergency – don’t delay getting help.
  • Even small amounts are dangerous, so prevention is crucial.
  • Keep alcohol products (drinks, hand sanitizer, etc.) out of your dog’s reach at all times.

What Happens When Dog Drinks Alcohol?

Dogs should not have access to alcohol because it can seriously poison them. Seizures and respiratory problems are two indications of poisoning that may require hospitalization and supportive treatment.

Although alcohol can poison dogs, did you know that yeast can also poison dogs? Dogs who consume rising bread dough may become poisoned by the alcohol produced by the fermenting yeast. Alcohol poisoning is caused by alcohol’s quick bloodstream absorption.

Alcohol can be harmful to your dog’s health in little doses. In both mild and severe situations, side effects could include:

Impaired Central Nervous System:

Just as in people, alcohol can slow down and damage the central nervous system in dogs, which can lead to sluggishness and poor coordination. Even with a tiny amount of alcohol, dogs will have far more severe symptoms.


Drinking alcohol might cause an abnormally low blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia can cause weakness, lassitude, and convulsions.

Metabolic Acidosis:

Dogs that consume alcohol may develop metabolic acidosis, a potentially fatal illness. pulse attacks, dangerously low blood pressure and pulse rate, respiratory depression, and hypothermia are just a few of the negative consequences of this sharp increase in acidity.

Digestive Difficulty:

Alcohol can cause your dog’s gastrointestinal tract lining to get irritated quickly, which can lead to excessive drooling and stomach distress, including vomiting and diarrhea.

Symptoms of Alcohol Poisoning:

Dogs who consume alcohol may experience symptoms minutes after consumption. The amount consumed determines how severe the poisoning is. It is likely that a dog’s stomach will become upset, which may cause vomiting. Vomiting too much can make you dehydrated and put you at risk for aspiration. Splashes of alcohol-containing beverages into the eyes may cause inflammation. Signs of alcohol toxicity in dogs include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dehydration
  • Mood changes
  • Hypersalivation
  • Loss of control

What To Do If Your Dog Drinks Alcohol?

The first thing you should do is notify your veterinarian and ask for advice if, in spite of your best efforts, your dog manages to get intoxicated.

Some veterinarians may advise you to bring your dog in for a checkup right away, depending on the amount and substance of alcohol consumed; others may advise you to wait and see if your dog reacts before making an appointment.

Generally speaking, you should take your dog to the vet as soon as possible if he consumes more than one tiny taste of alcohol or if you are unsure of the amount he consumed.

You ought to go to an emergency veterinarian center if the veterinarian’s office is closed. Treatment for alcohol toxicity in dogs must begin right away.

In order to ensure that a veterinarian is available for you as soon as you arrive, you should notify your veterinarian or the emergency clinic about your dog’s unintentional consumption of alcohol while you’re on your way there.

Diagnosis of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs:

It is crucial to seek emergency veterinarian care if you know or think that your pet has ingested alcohol or has been overexposed to it. Even though your dog might exhibit symptoms as soon as a few minutes after consumption, you should visit the clinic as soon as symptoms start to show.

The veterinary team will benefit from having the packaging—such as the rubbing alcohol container, flea spray, or bottle of cough medicine—with you so they can accurately identify the sort of alcohol poisoning you have.

Your pet’s vital signs will be taken by your veterinarian, who will also check for respiratory issues and irregular heart rates. Hepatic and renal function can be evaluated with a blood test. The degree of intoxication in your dog will be indicated by their symptoms, and you might even detect an alcohol odor on their breath.

Treatment of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs:

Your dog’s stabilization will be the veterinarian’s top priority. The veterinary team may induce vomiting if the alcohol was consumed less than 120 minutes ago (especially if your furry family member is asymptomatic).

To get your dog’s body temperature back to normal, you must also provide enough ventilation and reset their body temperature. The majority of dogs that die from alcohol poisoning do so as a result of low blood sugar, respiratory difficulty, and dangerously low body temperature.

To restore your dog’s kidney function and urine output to normal, intravenous fluids with electrolytes will help (as well as aid in the elimination of alcohol).

It’s possible that your dog was dehydrated, which exacerbates the sickness the alcohol caused. If the symptoms are severe, tracheal intubation and seizure medication may be required. Your pet’s skin and coat will receive a gentle shampooing if they have experienced dermal exposure.

Recovery of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs:

It is known that in animals suffering from alcohol poisoning, the brain is affected first, then the respiratory system, and finally the cardiovascular system.

It may take some time for these places to heal in addition to other body processes. Within four hours, effects from mild to moderate exposure can subside.

A dog that has a more serious condition might need to stay in the hospital for at least 24 hours. Your pet will appreciate a cozy, peaceful place to sleep when they get home. In the future, exercise caution when keeping alcohol-containing products out of the reach of kids and animals.


Remember to keep all alcoholic beverages and other items out of your dog’s reach to lower the danger of alcohol poisoning. This includes purses, which all too frequently include bottles of instant hand sanitizer inside of them. Never give raw yeast products or bread dough to your pet.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at ItsAboutDog.com.

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