Nothing would have been more relaxing than having your dog buddy sit with you on a Saturday night in your front porch while both of you are delighting on beers or wine or anything boozy.
But please, hold that thought because you just may not know what alcohols can do to your best friend. You just may not know that you are giving your dog a lethal dose.
A case study by Carrie Lohmeyer-Mauzy, CVT, BS showed what happens when a dog ingests alcohol. As a result of the study, a 1-year-old dachshund which drank about seven ounces of mixed beverage containing whiskey began showing symptoms roughly 20 minutes after.
Some of these signs were depression, vomiting and hypothermia which normally indicates poisoning. In this case where alcohol is involved, the poisoning is called ethanol toxicosis.
So what is in beer that does bad to dogs?
The main ingredients of beer are starch sources (barley, wheat, maize etc.), yeast, hops, and water. Well, starch is good for their health as long as it does not become a major part of their diet since canines require meat on top of their food pyramid.
The only problem with starch is that it is the origin of the poison-making. When yeast is added to starch, the fermentation begins. Yeast breaks down the starch, which is a carbohydrate, into ethanol (alcohol) and carbon dioxide.
That is why when dogs consume foods with yeast content such as bread dough, they experience bloating, which would be painful.
The third ingredient, hops, are partly flowerlike, partly pinecone-looking green vine plants. Its role on beers is to provide that bitter taste to balance the sweetness of starch, which is actually a sugar. Also, hops improve the aroma of the beer.
For humans, this is like the highlight of the booze. This is where one of the flavor comes from.
But for dogs, it makes the poison more powerful. Our little buddies should be kept away from hops because either brewed or raw, they are completely toxic for them.
Lastly, we have water. What harm could it possibly have?
Nothing, except that it serves as the transport medium of the other three ingredients to the body cells.
With water, the three can easily merge and be absorbed by the body. It basically makes the poison more accessible.
With the combination of these four components, imagine what even a drop of beer could do to our buddies. They are much sensitive to alcohol that even the spilt booze on your floorings can harm them as soon as it touches their skin. Yes, it’s damaging both internally and externally so you better keep your beverage securely stored.
How about wine?
Well, wine also undergoes fermentation which has alcohol as its by-product so it is still a NO. Also, this beverage is made from grapes which is not a dog-friendly fruit.
Just like hops, fermented or raw, grapes have bad effects on a dog’s health. Cases on dogs ingesting any product made from grapes resulted in irregular urination and eventually to renal failure.
A dog’s kidneys do not have filtering capacities as strong as a human has. Grapes naturally also have yeast in their skins so the fruit alone can ferment its own self and make alcohol. That is another human food you should add to your keep-out-of-dogs-reach list.
The toxicity effect of alcohol on dogs may vary, as well as their intolerance. It may depend on their sizes.
It is said that the smaller a dog is, the lower its tolerance is. It may also have something to do with their breed.
That does not mean that some dogs have strong resistance and becomes unaffected. It only means they have different clocks. One dog may exhibit symptoms in about 20 minutes while another only gets the effects after 48 hours. Bottom line, just keep the booze away!
Having said all that, I guess you already know the importance of properly storing your alcohols. Keep it out of the dog’s reach.
While you are drinking, make sure to resist the temptation of giving in to those puppy eyes and when all that is left are your bottles and cans, make sure you follow proper disposal.
Always remember that you are doing this for your buddy’s sake. You should know what is good or not for your dog so you can healthily enjoy those more years of friendship to come because we all know, they are more than just a pet. They’re family.