Can Dogs Get Drunk? (Answer + Safety Guide)

The holiday season is fast approaching, and that means we will be stocking up our bars in preparation for the influx of family and friends. A little beer or whiskey here and there is good for relaxation, but what happens when your dog licks on your leftover glass on thanksgiving night? 

Dogs can get drunk, just like humans. But, alcohol is much more dangerous to dogs than humans since dogs cannot digest and process alcohol the same way we do. Additionally, alcohol is highly toxic to dogs and can result in sudden death. 

Let’s go over what you can expect if your dog gets drunk and the best precautions and prevention measures. 

What Happens When a Dog Drinks Alcohol?

It is easy for your canine friend to access a sip or two of beer on the patio, especially after a drinking party. While it seems all fun and games for a dog to take a sip of alcohol and stagger away, the reality is that a potential danger is in the making. 

First, dogs are relatively smaller, meaning small doses of alcohol can get the dog quicker than the same would for you. That said, your dog can get drunk by taking a tiny bit of alcohol, something you might not consider impactful for you. 

Additionally, dogs seem to be super sensitive to the effects of alcohol. And ethanol poisoning is not limited to beer and cocktails that you may be drinking but also food that may have infused alcohol. 

So, what happens when your dog drinks alcohol? The internal dog’s temperature drops dangerously low, and so does the blood sugar. These effects, together with a racing heart, can result in a coma, seizures, and possible death. 

When a dog drinks alcohol, the question is not the type of alcohol consumed but how much was consumed. According to the  AKC, it is hard to know whether the amount consumed is at dangerous levels. 

As such, the health and weight of the dog are evaluated in relation to the type and volume of alcohol consumed. A small dog that consumes small amounts of alcohol would therefore be considered a more dangerous situation than if larger dogs consumed the same amount. 

The amount of ethanol needed to cause intoxication depends on the concentration of the sailed alcohol type. The oral lethal dose is 5.5 to 7.9 grams per kg of 100% ethanol. Here is a detailed description of ethanol concentrations in various alcoholic drinks. 

What Are the Signs of a Drunk Dog?

Your drunk dog will most likely behave as you if you got drunk, except that the dog will become severely ill with high concentrations of alcohol. Here are the signs and symptoms you should look out for. 

  • Drooling and nausea.
  • Behavioral changes.
  • Staggering. 
  • Lack of coordination. 
  • Vomiting
  • Increased heart rate. 
  • General fatigue and weakness. 
  • Drowsiness. 
  • Excessive panting
  • Trouble breathing
  • Collapse or coma.
  • Death resulting from respiratory arrest. 

How To Treat a Drunk Dog?

Unfortunately, your dog got access to alcohol, but this does not mean you are doomed. The first thing you need to do is get all other sources of alcohol out of your dog’s reach. Ensure they cannot access any open or closed bottles of alcohol by storing them on high shelves. 

Call your vet immediately for professional advice if you suspect your dog might have drunk alcohol. They will likely request you to take the dog to them for a thorough checkup to assess the extent of intoxication and start treatment immediately. 

While you wait to go, give your dog fresh water to drink. Remember, the body temperatures drop significantly low after drinking, and the blood sugar drops too. On this note, give the dog warm water to warm it up and a few dog biscuits to spike blood sugar levels. 

This home treatment can help your canine companion recover, but it is advisable to see the vet as soon as possible. If your dog is staggering and the heart is still racing after this home remedy, this could mean the dog is highly intoxicated. 

In such severe cases, the vet might run a test to assess the extent of the influence of alcohol. After the assessment, they might administer injections to flush out the alcohol from the system. This is the most effective treatment method, but it only works within 20 to 40 minutes of the dog drinking alcohol. 

Other treatment options for extreme cases include intravenous fluids to flush out the alcohol from the system, intravenous glucose to raise blood sugar to normal levels, and drugs to manage seizures. 

How to Prevent Your Dog From Drinking Alcohol

We all agree that alcohol is not meant for dogs and has severe issues with dogs’ kidneys and other systems if consumed. For this reason, avoiding giving your dog hard liquor or alcohol-infused foods would be best, even if you are sure the concentration is low. 

Remember, a small amount of alcohol does not have the same effects on dogs as on humans. And dogs are pretty small, and their systems cannot process and synthesize alcohol as we do. 

Keep all forms of alcohol away from areas your dog can access. Keep alcohol bottles on top shelves where your dog cannot access them, tip them over and have a lick. 

Do not leave alcoholic beverages unattended, especially during parties. Your dog has no control over what is right and wrong, so they might want to try anything on leftover cups and glasses. 


1. How is Drunkenness Different in Dogs and Humans?

Watching your dog stagger can seem like a joke until it is not. The effects of alcohol in dogs are far much pronounced than in humans. Alcohol causes metabolic acidosis, which means the body tissues soak in the acid. 

This results from a racing heart, reduced blood sugar, and inability to breathe. If not resolved in time, the dog risks suffering seizures and respiratory failure, leading to sudden death.  

2. How Much Beer Does It Take To Get a Dog Drunk?

The amount of beer likely to get your dog drunk is about two to three bottles. But How much your dog gets drunk will depend on the size of the dog, the size of the beer bottles, and the concentration of alcohol in a can of beer. 

3. What Happens if My Dog Licks Alcohol?

Your dog might not have a reaction from a few licks of alcohol, but considering that the effects of alcohol on dogs are much heightened than in humans, you might want to intervene immediately. You can give your dog water and contact your vet to ensure your dog is not intoxicated. 

Final Thoughts

Dogs can get drunk. Alcohol can pose potential health risks since dogs cannot handle alcohol like humans. On that note, if your dog drank alcohol, the best approach would be to contact a vet for a comprehensive assessment and prompt treatment if necessary. 

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Maureen G.

Maureen has been a Content Writer in the pet niche for over 5 years. She has vast knowledge on dog-related topics including dog breeds, dog health, dog care, and nutrition. With keen interest on the evolving world of dogs, Maureen stays on top of developments, specifically designer dogs. She is a part-time volunteer in dog shelters and rescue centers, therefore conversant with the day-to-day lives of dogs.

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