If you are throwing a Halloween party this year, there is a good chance that the alcohol will be flowing fairly freely. However, if you are also a dog owner, you should make keeping the booze away from your animals one of your top priorities. This is because alcohol is toxic to pets.
What effect will drinking alcohol have on my dog?
When your dog drinks alcohol it has the same effects as it does in humans. Body temperature drops, their muscles relax, and they become drowsy and uncoordinated. If a relatively large amount of alcohol has been consumed, their heart rate and breathing can also slow, and their blood sugar level may drop dangerously low. Damage can also occur to your canine’s kidneys and liver as they try to process the alcohol. However, the most serious effect of alcohol consumption in pets is something known as metabolic acidosis. This occurs when your dog’s blood becomes too acidic, and can be life-threatening, often leading to cardiac arrest.
Different alcoholic drinks have different degrees of toxicity to animals – but all should be kept well away from your dog
While you should ensure that your dog has no access to alcohol at all, it is also important to understand that some alcoholic beverages are more harmful to pets than others. This is due to the concentration of alcohol that they contain. Beer contains the lowest concentration of alcohol at usually between 4 and 5%, whereas wine averages 10% alcohol. Unsurprisingly, liquors have the highest concentration, and this makes them the most dangerous to animals including your dog.
Signs that your dog may have alcohol poisoning
The effects that alcohol consumption will have on your pet will largely depend on the type of alcohol that he has drunk and his size. Animals aren’t able to metabolize alcohol as quickly as humans are, and this mean the effects on your dog are more potent than they might be on a human. How severely your dog is affected will vary depending on his size. The smaller your dog is, the less alcohol he will have to consume to suffer adverse effects.
Some signs that your dog may have alcohol poisoning may include:
- Struggling to stand or walk
- Loss of coordination
- Shallow, slow breathing
- Excessive urination
It is important to realise that if your dog has eaten a decent-sized meal before consuming the alcohol the effects may be delayed by several hours. This can make it tricky to make the association between the symptoms and the cause.
Can alcohol consumption in pets be treated?
If you suspect that your dog has consumed alcohol, however little, you should still seek the advice of your vet immediately to prevent your furbaby from suffering any lasting damage. Your vet may prescribe activated charcoal which is used to induce vomiting, and your dog may also need IV fluids and even a ventilator depending on the severity of his symptoms. The sooner treatment is started, the better the chance your pet has of making a full recovery.
Alcohol and animals should never mix, so make sure you let all of your guests know to keep their drinks well away from your pets. Better still, secure your dog in a quiet room away from visitors for the duration of the party. If you would like more advice and support on any aspects of celebrating Halloween with a dog, we would be happy to assist. Please contact our offices in Gastonia, NC for more information.