Homebrewing beers at home have become an increasingly popular hobby among beer enthusiasts.
As there is an increase in people brewing beer, an increase in emergency calls to vets has been observed, concerning their pets ingesting beer. Dogs are quite curious about what we do, they explore and stick things in their mouths.
Although it is unlikely that our dogs get bored with drinking water, there are times that dogs become curious about what we drink. No matter how we tell our dogs “no”, they always try to lick it.
Whether you are homebrewing beer or having a drink with friends, beer should never be offered as a treat. You have to be careful when drinking beer or alcoholic drinks, especially those that are fruit-based because it attracts their smell.
Are Dogs Allowed to Drink Beer?
No, dogs are not allowed to drink or even sip a beer or alcoholic beverages. A tiny sip may seem harmless, but it brings a higher risk to the health of your dogs.
Beers have ethanol. Even beers of low alcohol content do not excuse it. When dogs ingest beer, the ethanol is rapidly absorbed by their digestive tract, which is dangerous for dogs, as they cannot metabolize alcohol.
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Ethanol in beer can depress the CNS (central nervous system) of our dogs. Although the kidneys and lungs of our dogs try to eliminate the toxins, enough alcohol may cause their organs to fail to function, which may lead to death.
What does beer have that is dangerous for dogs?
Besides alcohol, beers have a staple ingredient called hops. Hops are used to stabilize and flavor the beer. The hops have a life-threatening effect on dogs. It increases their body temperature which is way beyond the normal temperature, a body temperature of 107 Fahrenheit degrees for dogs is already life-threatening.
If you are homebrewing, you may also have trouble with your dogs consuming yeast. They may vomit, have difficulty breathing, or suffer from diarrhea, which may lead to severe conditions.
It is your responsibility to let your dog stay away from alcohol. If your dog accidentally drinks or sips a beer, it will manifest intoxication and neurological problems.
What Happens When Dog Drinks Beer?
Dogs cannot metabolize alcohol. As a result, a small amount of beer can make a dog feel tipsy or drunk. The symptoms may vary depending on the amount of beer they have consumed. Some factors like the dog’s weight and stomach condition may heighten or lessen the effect.
Signs of alcohol intoxication include:
- Excessive panting
- Seizures and muscle tremors
If your dog drinks a large amount of alcohol, it might lead to alcohol poisoning or organ failure and death in severe cases. These symptoms start to show rapidly 30 minutes after they have a drunk beer.
Symptoms may be delayed up to 8 hours, but this is rare. The vet can run tests to check the blood alcohol level and confirm the diagnosis and treatment your dog needs.
Things to Do When Dog Accidentally Drinks Beer
Sometimes, even when you are cautious while drinking beer or homebrewing, your dog still somehow gets to drink or take a sip of it. If you notice your dog drank beer, remove the beer and place it somewhere, it is out of reach.
There are no home remedies for beer consumption or alcohol ingestion. This situation is time-sensitive, so it is imperative to bring your dogs to the veterinary clinic immediately.
As the symptoms get worse, their condition becomes more dangerous. Do not believe in letting your dog vomit at home. Inducing vomit may get your dog at risk for aspiration pneumonia or chemical burns to its digestive system.
Let the vets do the pre-treatment and monitoring of your dog’s condition. It is also important to have these information at hand to provide to the veterinarian:
- Product ingested
- How much the dog consumed
- The time of exposure
- Abnormal signs your dog is manifesting, if there are any
Some dogs might not have an early onset of symptoms. If you have noticed your dog has drunk beer and there are no symptoms yet, it is best to call your local veterinarian to know what is the best action or pre-treatment to do.
Other Beverage Dog Should NEVER Drink
We also want to remind dog owners that other than beers or alcoholic drinks. There are other beverages that your dog should never drink. Some beverages are most likely best occasional treats that can help your dogs hydrate and replenish their electrolytes, but these beverages should never be on the list:
- Chocolate drink
- Grape juice or wine
- Any drink with added salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners
- Contaminated water
The same with beer; these drinks have ingredients that are toxic for your pets and may harm their circulatory and neurological condition. If you are looking for a drink that is tasty and healthy for your dogs, there are a few that you can serve to them.
Healthy Beverage for Dogs
It is nice to let your dogs try on different beverages besides water. Beer is definitely not on the list, but here is a safe list of drinks you can try out and know which your dog enjoys the most.
- Unsalted meat broth: An unsalted beef marrow or chicken broth is a tasty treat that dogs surely love. The dog-safe broth is available at the grocery, or you can prepare one. You have to make sure that no bone remnants are in the broth.
- You can give your dogs an unflavored Pedialyte: It is safe for them to drink and quickly rehydrate. Make sure to ask the vet for the right dosage for your dog.
- Nut milk: Dogs are lactose intolerant, and their gut does not respond well to dairy products. If you want your fur best friend to enjoy milk, nut milk is safe. Just ensure it is unsweetened, does not have added ingredients, and is not macadamia milk.
- Dog-safe vegetables and fruit juice: It has to be pure juice from dog-safe fruits and vegetables. Some fruits and vegetables are toxic to dogs.
- Coconut water: Unsweetened coconut water rehydrates your dog and contains essential vitamins and minerals that can make your dog healthier.
Giving your dog a sweet treat can prevent them from being nosy while you are homebrewing or make them behave while drinking with your family or friends at home.
Is there a dog beer?
There is, and this is the only beer your dogs can drink. Craft breweries have thought to prepare a beer for dogs.
But dog beer is not the same as the ones humans drink, its ingredients vary. Dog beers are free from alcohol and hops, and their main ingredient is water. Besides water, some dog beers have dog-safe vegetables, fruits, and bone broth.
Even when dog beer is safe for dogs and contains several nutrients, it is not enough to become an alternative for a balanced diet. Dog beer should be treated like dog treats and should only be given within reasonable limits.
How to Prevent Dogs from Drinking Alcohol
As we are focusing on human beer in this article, you should know some tips on how to prevent your dogs from drinking alcohol.
- Keep beers out of reach: Whether you store commercial beers or homebrew beers, hide them in places that are out of reach. Placing your beers in a cabinet or refrigerator helps prevent your dogs from knocking them over or sinking their teeth into the can.
- Do not leave beers unattended: Keep your glass on sight to ensure your dogs do not take some of your beer. If there are any leftovers, throw them out before going to bed.
- Take care of spills instantly: You have to keep your dog away near the spill before cleaning it up. It is more important to prevent your dog from taking a sip of the spilled beer than your stained rug.
- Inform your guests: If you have guests at home, you better tell them that giving their beers to your dog is unacceptable. It is also better to lock up your dog in the room away from guests to avoid beer consumption. Some guests might forget your advice when they become heavily intoxicated.
Now that you are aware of what may probably happen when your dog drinks alcohol, you have to keep them away when you are homebrewing or having a gathering at home. If accidents happen, then you know how to handle the situation swiftly.
Homebrewing is a fun activity that beer lovers can do, but if you have a pet around, it is something that you should not take lightly. You have to become cautious during the process, even when you are enjoying your home-brewed beer because your pets are not safe from beer; dogs cannot drink beer.
As a homebrewer, Michael would get frustrated about the lack of brewing information on the internet. After hundreds of gallons of spoilt batches, Micheal had enough. And he founded Unknown Brewing as a resource for homebrewers.