I get many questions regarding what someone’s pet should and shouldn’t have, ranging from foods to medications. And although many answers include “in moderation”, there are quite a few that are a sweet, simple, emphatic, “NO”. This is one of those answers! Not just because it can make them sick, but because alcohol poisoning can kill your pet. Here’s why:
Every Main Ingredient in Alcohol is Toxic to Your Pet!
Are you a wine enthusiast? Grapes are the main ingredient for wines, and are just as toxic in liquid form as they are solid or dried. Fan of beer? Aside from the grain and yeast, you should worry about hops. These can cause a range of symptoms (see below), including liver and kidney failure. Ethanol in general is a big no-no!
What Does it Do?
Your pet’s liver is WAY too small to process alcohol, and they don’t have the capacity to become more tolerant to it like we do. When their liver is forced to try and work with something it can’t process, it can fail. And once liver function is destroyed, you don’t get it back! The same goes for the kidneys, which filters everything from the bloodstream
Your pet’s nervous system also gets hit, causing everything to slow down, as well as cardiac arrest from blood that has gotten too acidic. Since everything else is dropping, the blood sugar will also tank, causing seizures.
It’s Not Just in Your Beer:
- Rum-soaked cake. Want to share? Invite me over, I’ll help you out! 😉
- Unbaked dough containing yeast. Not only can it cause ethanol poisoning, but it can also expand in the stomach and cause Bloat.
- Hard liquor on your carpet can be soaked up through their skin. They’re THAT intolerant.
- Nighttime cough syrup
- Really, anything that has alcohol on the ingredient list… you’d be surprised!
Did They Get Into it by Accident? What to Watch For:
- Vomiting or attempting to vomit
- Distended stomach/bloat
- Elevated heart rate
- Weakness, loss of coordination
- Difficulty breathing
- Decreased body temperature, blood sugar, and blood pressure
Fortunately, most pets can be treated for alcohol poisoning, as long as the signs are recognized and you get Fido to the vet ASAP! They may need to stay the night on IV fluids, support for blood sugar and pressure, and a dose or two of activated charcoal. Activated charcoal, while not very appetizing, can help soak up the alcohol from your pet’s bloodstream. Just remember that time is of the essence!