Nothing beats having a few beers on a hot day (or any day). It’s a drink we crave after enduring a long, busy day or week. Seeing the satisfaction each swig gives you, your furry friend will surely want to have a sip. The question is: Can dogs drink beer?
Besides improving our mood, drinking light to moderate amounts of beer may offer a couple of health benefits – for humans, at least. However, it’s a different story for dogs.
If you wish to find out if it’s safe to give your dog beer, read on. Your go-to site for anything dog-related, you can count on Dog Food Guide to provide you with all the nitty-gritty details about beer – its effects on your dog’s health, what to do if your dog drinks beer, and more.
Must-Know Beer Facts
Besides water and tea, beer is among the most consumed drinks and alcoholic beverages on the planet. It is primarily made of cereal grains – think barley, wheat, corn, or oats. This is brewed and fermented with hops and other flavoring agents like fruits and herbs.
Besides being one of the top drinks, beer is also among the oldest alcoholic beverages. Fact is, beer has been mentioned in the oldest writings like the “Code of Hammurabi” and “The Hymn to Ninkasi.”
Given its long-term presence worldwide, it’s not surprising to know that over 100 beer styles exist. Nonetheless, all beers start either as a lager or an ale.
Is Beer Healthy?
We all know the drawbacks of having too much beer. However, most are unaware of the FEW health benefits that beer may provide when ingested in small quantities or in moderation.
Interestingly, beer contains a couple of vitamins and minerals. This includes magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, and calcium. Some beers also contain disease-fighting antioxidants. As such, drinking beer in moderation may :
- Regulate blood sugar levels
- Improve heart health
- Enhance bone strength
Can Dogs Drink Beer?
The short answer is a big NO.
Beer may be popular and all, but it’s not the healthiest drink for you and your dog. Despite the few nutrients it has in store, beer is still a drink your dogs should pass up.
Unfortunately, this beverage is highly dangerous to dogs. In fact, giving your dog even small amounts of this drink is not recommended since this can easily wreak havoc on your dog’s immune system and overall health.
So, make sure to keep that cold one for yourself and away from your pup. And as always, if you’re planning on popping a can of beer, make sure to drink responsibly, especially when you’re around your furry best friend.
What Makes Beer Dangerous To Dogs?
Any beer aficionado will agree that beer is a great way to end the day or the week. It may not be hydrating, but it is refreshing. Besides that, it also makes us feel relaxed and good.
However, we are all aware of the dangers linked to drinking beer. Because of its alcohol content, beer can be addictive, and binge drinking beer can lead to various health and mental problems. This includes weight gain, liver damage, alcohol dependence, depression, and even alcohol poisoning.
Alcohol has the same effects on dogs, but it’s much worse. A dog’s liver is not designed to process alcohol the way humans can.
Simply put, your dog doesn’t have to finish one beer to feel the impact of alcohol in their central nervous system. Your dog may already show signs of intoxication after having a couple of sips.
Alcohol Toxicity: What You Need To Know
Compared to humans, your dog is deemed the “lightest” of all the lightweight drinkers.
Given their size, the rate at which a dog digests alcohol is faster. And when they do metabolize it, dogs often absorb it as pure ethanol, resulting in ethanol toxicity or alcohol poisoning. But like humans, the effects vary from dog to dog.
Risk Factors Of Alcohol Poisoning In Dogs
Wondering how much alcohol is dangerous for dogs? Well, it’s hard to give an exact figure since the effects of alcohol vary depending on the following factors:
Your Dog’s Body Weight
Small dog breeds are more susceptible to the effects of alcohol than large dogs. Simply put, larger dogs would most likely feel A-okay after having a few slurps of beer or other alcohol, but the exact amount will already make your small dog feel tipsy.
Alcoholic beverages (beer included) are not made the same—those with a higher alcohol-proof level (think wine and craft beer) are more dangerous than those with lower levels (like light beer).
If your dog accidentally drinks beer with a high amount of alcohol, expect your dog to quickly feel the effects of alcohol.
Amount Of Alcohol Consumed
Like humans, the more alcohol a dog drinks, the more dangerous it gets.
Other Unlikely Causes Of Alcohol Poisoning
Aside from the obvious sources of alcohol, there are certain foods that contain alcohol that you should keep out of your dog’s reach. This includes bread dough and extracts or flavorings like vanilla and almond.
Common Symptoms Of Alcohol Toxicity
Dogs can lose coordination and become either aggressive or fearful. They may also exhibit the following signs:
- Slowed reflexes
- High body temperature
- Excessive thirst and increased urination
Unfortunately, other symptoms are hard to detect. This includes a sudden drop in your dog’s blood pressure, low body temperature, and low blood sugar. If left untreated, these can result in severe cases of alcohol poisoning, which include:
- Seizures or muscle tremors
- Loss of consciousness
- Cardiac arrest or heart failure
Hops Toxicity: What Is It?
If you’re a guy or gal who is into homebrewing or craft beer, then you’d know what hops is. Hops are the green, cone-like flowers of the Humulus lupulus plant. This gives beer its bitter tanginess or robust flavor and earthy or fruity aroma.
Now, many are aware of the toxic effects of ethanol or alcohol on dogs. However, only a few know the real deal behind hops.
Like alcohol, hops are highly poisonous to dogs, and consumption may result in life-threatening toxicity. If, by any chance, your dog ingests hops, watch out for the signs below. Symptoms often appear 30 minutes up to 8 hours after consumption.
- Spike in body temperature or malignant hyperthermia (over 105°F)
- Excessive panting or rapid breathing
- Stomach upset like diarrhea and vomiting
- Increased heart rate
My Dog Drank Beer! What To Do If Your Dog Drinks Beer
Although it’s rare for dogs to like beer (or any alcoholic beverages) given its somewhat bitter taste, it’s still possible for a dog to have a little beer in their system. After all, dogs are curious critters.
Dogs love to explore stuff using its mouth. And when your dog sees you chugging down a bottle of beer, your dog would probably beg you to give him some. On the one hand, your dog might find cocktails or anything that’s sweet attractive (despite the alcohol content).
So, what should you do if your dogs drink beer despite taking the best precautions?
According to PetMD, a dog that is mildly exposed to alcohol often recovers without treatment, and “sleeping it off” somewhere safe is enough. However, if you want to be on the safe side, you might want to contact your vet or the Pet Poison Helpline and go from there. Early detection, after all, increases your dog’s chances of survival.
Treatment Of Poisoning In Dogs
Your vet will most likely induce vomiting. It’s recommended not to do this on your own unless your vet instructs you to do so.
Aside from inducing vomiting, rehydration measures, intravenous fluids, and other supportive treatments might also be adminstered.
How To Prevent Poisoning In Dogs
Don’t worry. You can still enjoy your IPA while you’re out and about with your dog. Aside from not giving your dog ale or not letting your dog drink alcohol, here are some of the things you can do to keep your pets safe:
Keep a watchful eye on your beverage. Given dogs’ curious nature, your dog would want to try whatever it is you’re having. So, if you’re having some beer, make sure it’s out of your dog’s reach.
Clean up spills immediately. Dogs are quick in cleaning up whatever touches your kitchen floor. So, avoid spilling your beer as much as possible. Since spills often happens when you’ve had too much, make sure to drink moderately when you’re with your dog.
Let your friends know. Some of your pals might think that it’s okay to let your dog have a few sips. To avoid this, make sure to tell them that your dog shouldn’t have any.
Give your dog its own non-carbonated, alcohol-free, and hops-free beer. Yes, such a thing as dog-friendly beer exists. You might not like its taste, but your dog will surely love it. And you know what, there are a couple of good dog beer products to choose from.
Dog beer (like Bowser Beer and Busch Dog Brew) is simply flavored meat broth in a can. The packaging looks a lot like your typical beer, so make sure to read the labels. You don’t want to end up drinking dog brew while your dog drinks the real thing.
If you plan to give this as a special treat, you can pour its contents into your dog’s bowl. Alternatively, you can also add this to your dog’s dry kibble.
Food For Thought
Beer is one of the things your dogs can live without (even if your dog loves it), and we bet that your dogs will thank you for not giving them any. But if you insist on having your dog as your drinking buddy, make sure to buy them their own dog pilsner.
At the end of the day, all your dogs want is some TLC. Whether you’re giving them dog ale or water, they’re going to feel happy and relaxed knowing that you’re there with them.