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Dog Alcohol Poisoning

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Dog Alcohol Poisoning

Dogs cannot tolerate ingesting alcohol as well as humans do as their metabolisms are not adapted to processing alcohol as ours have over mankind’s development. Depending on the amount consumed, a dog can suffer from alcohol poisoning rather quickly. Though we may like to enjoy the occasional beer or glass of wine, it is important that we keep such beverages away from the dogs residing in our home.

Absorption Rate

When alcohol is consumed, its primary ingredient, ethanol, begins to be absorbed into the dog’s body. The rate at which this occurs in a dog will depend on the weight of the dog. Smaller dogs will be poisoned with alcohol sooner than larger dogs. If the dog has an empty stomach, the rate of absorption is increased. The overall health of the dog can also determine how quickly it will become intoxicated by consuming the alcohol.

Contents of Alcohol

As mentioned above, ethanol is the main substance that allows an alcohol drinker to become intoxicated. Different alcoholic beverages contain various amounts of ethanol. Beer, for example, only contains approximately 5-7% ethanol. Wine may contain up to 9%. Whiskey, vodka, and other strong alcoholic drinks can contain anywhere from 30-90% ethanol. Therefore, which type of drink that is consumed by the dog can have an effect on if (as well as how quickly) the dog will begin to suffer from alcohol poisoning.

Lethal Doses of Ethanol for Pets

For larger dogs, ethanol is known to be lethal if the dog consumes about 5 ½ grams of the substance per kilogram of the weight of the dog. For example, a 10 pound dog would probably not survive if more than 25 grams of ethanol were consumed. To understand the amount, consider that a 12 ounce beer has about 14 grams of ethanol in it. A smaller amount of ethanol would be seen as lethal to most puppies, as they are typically smaller than most adult dogs.

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

The symptoms of alcohol poisoning can become apparent in dogs within 30 minutes of consuming the drink, especially if the dog had an empty stomach. For full stomachs, the symptoms may hold off for 1-2 hours. The initial signs of alcohol toxicity changes in mood, such as appearing confused or overly excited. The dog may begin staggering, have Dog Seizures, or experience Dog Increased Urination or at least the frequency of urination. If the poisoning continues, the pet often suffers from Dog Difficulty Breathing, decreased body temperature, or even a heart attack.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If any of these signs are apparent, the first step is to get the dog to a veterinarian's office immediately. The vet will consider the dog’s history, and may run various tests to confirm alcohol poisoning. He will also check the state of the dog’s internal organs. The treatment method will vary based on how far the toxicity has progressed. Recovery usually happens within 8-12 hours, given that the dog has been evaluated by a vet in time.

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