It’s that time of year, post-Christmas and people all over are pledging to have a dry January. This is a good idea for many people. It gives your liver the opportunity to recover from excessive alcohol consumption over the Christmas period.

What about dogs and alcohol? Well in the first instance I hope you haven’t been feeding your dog alcohol over the Christmas periods as it features as a no no on our list of foods/drinks to avoid (which can be viewed here).

We have all experienced a ‘social’drinker justifying the benefits of alcohol and why a little is actually good for you. We are not going to get into that debate here, instead we will explore this urban folklore when it comes to dogs. Let’s be honest, managing your dog’s alcohol intake is a lot easier than managing your own!

To be absolutely clear, alcohol is toxic to dogs. The stronger the alcohol the greater the affect will be. This doesn’t mean giving your dog a little taste of weak beer is ok. Even small amounts of alcohol can be toxic and the effect is unpredictable and will vary with different dogs (in the same way alcohol affects humans differently).

The science, like humans it is the ethanol content in alcohol that will impact the body. The ethanol will affect the bodies central nervous system usually slowing it down. This leads to the usual signs of being drunk, staggering and drowsiness for example. If an excess of alcohol is consumer then this can lead to serious problems.

The nervous system can slow so much that the heart and breathing slow and eventually lead to metabolic acidosis. This is a condition where the blood is too acidic and can lead to a heart attack and potentially death.

Remember alcohol is present in many other formats than beer, wine and spirits. Alcohol can be present in foods as well as many cleaning products and medicines.

As much as alcohol poisoning is rare in dogs, you should always be vigilant to reduce the risk of your dog getting access to alcohol. If your dog has inadvertently had some alcohol, they can usually sleep it off in much the same we a human would. However, if in doubt you should seek your vet’s advice immediately.

If you do feel your pet is missing out on a festive glass of something then look for dog friendly alcohol-free drinks, such as dog beer or pawsecco.


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