What happens if dog drinks alcohol?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

If a dog drinks alcohol, it can have severe and potentially life-threatening effects on their health. Alcohol is toxic to animals, including dogs, and their bodies are not equipped to metabolize it efficiently. The effects of alcohol on a dog’s system are similar to those on humans, but they can be even more pronounced due to their smaller size and different physiological makeup.

1. Central nervous system depression: Alcohol acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, causing sedation, disorientation, and unsteadiness on the feet. Dogs may exhibit signs of lethargy, drowsiness, and difficulty walking or standing properly.

2. Vomiting: Alcohol can irritate the stomach lining and lead to vomiting. Dogs may experience repeated episodes of vomiting, which can result in dehydration and electrolyte imbalances if not addressed promptly.

3. Hypothermia: Alcohol can lower a dog’s body temperature, leading to hypothermia. They may become excessively cold, shiver, and show signs of discomfort. Hypothermia can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening if not treated promptly.

4. Respiratory depression: Ingesting alcohol can depress a dog’s breathing, leading to respiratory distress. Shallow or slow breathing may be observed, and the dog may struggle to breathe properly. This can result in decreased oxygen levels in the bloodstream and further complications.

5. Metabolic disturbances: Alcohol consumption can disrupt a dog’s metabolism, leading to an increase in blood acidity and low blood sugar levels. These imbalances can have serious consequences on various organ systems and may contribute to organ failure if left untreated.

6. Central nervous system effects: Dogs that consume large amounts of alcohol may experience depression of the central nervous system, which can manifest as confusion, disorientation, and even coma. Seizures may occur in severe cases.

7. Increased risk of accidents: Intoxicated dogs may become disoriented, uncoordinated, and have impaired judgment, making them more prone to accidents and injuries. They may stumble, fall, or have difficulty navigating their surroundings.

8. Organ damage: Prolonged or excessive alcohol intake can have damaging effects on a dog’s liver, kidneys, and other vital organs. These organs may become inflamed, and long-term alcohol abuse can lead to irreversible damage.

9. Increased risk of death: In severe cases, alcohol poisoning can be fatal for dogs. The exact lethal dose varies depending on the dog’s size, breed, and overall health, but even small amounts of alcohol can be dangerous for dogs.

It is crucial to note that alcohol should never be intentionally given to dogs, as it can have severe consequences on their health. If you suspect that your dog has ingested alcohol or is showing any signs of alcohol poisoning, it is vital to seek immediate veterinary care. The veterinarian will be able to assess the situation, provide appropriate treatment, and support the dog’s recovery.