Hold the Eggnog: What to Do If Your Dog Drank Alcohol

The holidays are a time for hanging out with friends and family, exchanging gifts, and relaxing at home. They are also when people throw holiday parties.

Perhaps you’re going to some or planning celebrations at your home. You may be serving festive food as well as alcoholic beverages like spiked eggnog for Christmas or champagne for New Year’s Eve.

Since your dog is going to be around, you’re worried about him accidentally ingesting alcohol drinks, detergents, or antifreeze that could give them alcohol poisoning. Whether you’re trying to protect your dog from drinking alcohol or he’s already had some by accident, make sure you know what steps to take in either scenario. 

What to Do If Your Dog Drank Alcohol

dog sitting by wine glass

If your dog drank any type of alcohol – whether it was a glass of wine or beer or some spiked eggnog – it’s important to take him to the veterinarian right away. If your vet is closed because it’s after hours, then take him to the emergency vet that’s open 24/7. You can also call the Pet Poison Helpline any hour of the day at (855) 764-7661 for advice, but they’re probably going to recommend you go to the vet. Just note that there is a $75 incident fee. 

No breed can safely digest any amount of alcohol. Within the first 30 to 60 minutes of ingestion of alcohol, pet parents may notice the following signs of alcohol poisoning in their pups:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Excessive drooling
  • Decrease in heart rate 

Alcohol toxicity could happen if your dog ingests alcohol or it’s absorbed through his skin. The liver will metabolize alcohol into metabolites that can lead to central nervous system depression, hypothermia (low body temperature), hypoglycemia, and metabolic acidosis, or acidic changes to your dog’s blood. 

In severe cases, your dog could potentially slip into a coma. In the worst-case scenario, the alcohol poisoning might end up being fatal. It depends on how factors like how much alcohol your dog ingested in relation to his body weight, the kind of alcohol ingested, and how quickly you treated it.

Note that if your dog got into a mixed drink that had even a small amount of xylitol, a natural sugar alcohol, in it, your dog could experience seizures, liver failure, or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It can also prove to be fatal. Many sugar-free syrups that you put into food or alcohol contain xylitol.

Preventing Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs 

dog drank alcohol

If your dog drinks alcohol, it’s critical to get him treatment as fast as possible. But you can prevent this scenario altogether by putting some safeguards in place.

If you’re going to a holiday party, keep your dog at home. You may be afraid that he’s going to experience separation anxiety, which stems from stress and boredom. It’s a good idea for pet owners to give their dogs toys to play with while you’re gone to keep them occupied.

For instance, a plush dog puzzle like a Hide A Squirrel will eliminate boredom, encourage positive play, and feed your dog’s natural hunting instincts. All you need to do is fill the toy with squeaking stuffed animals that your pup won’t be able to resist.

If you’re hosting a holiday party, keep your dog in another room altogether. You may want to consider putting him in his crate just for the duration of the party and leave him with his favorite toy. You can also give him some tasty dog food or treats and a bowl of water to ensure he’s properly fed and hydrated.

If he’s in another room, he won’t have access to human food, which could make him sick, too. You can avoid exposing him to any alcohol or human food that’s bad for dogs.

If you don’t want to put him away, make sure that everybody keeps their drinks high up on a table or countertop where your dog can’t access them. You can also tell your guests to be aware that your dog is around and that they should be extra vigilant. If there are kids there, ask their parents to watch them at all times so that they don’t accidentally spill food or even non-alcoholic drinks that could be toxic for your dog.

Other Types of Alcohol Toxic to Dogs

cleaning supplies. is pine sol safe for pets

Keep in mind that alcoholic beverages aren’t the only types of alcohol that are hazardous to your dog. Ethanol, which is in alcoholic drinks, is also in fermenting bread dough or raw bread dough, oral liquid medications, hand sanitizers, and some rubbing alcohols.

Additionally, isopropanol, which is acetone, is bad for dogs. You’ll find acetone in nail polish removers, some rubbing alcohols, and some external flea sprays. Methanol, which is found in windshield washer fluid, is hazardous to dogs, too. 

It’s critical to keep these items away from your pup at all times. This means locking up cabinets or putting them on shelves where your dog cannot reach them. 

Ensuring Your Dog Is Happy and Healthy During the Holidays 

dog with family members petting him at a gathering

The holiday season is busy and an interruption of your daily routine – which means your pup’s routine is going to be different as well. Dogs need a normal schedule, so try to stick to it as much as possible. Make sure your dog gets ample exercise and playtime and serve him high-quality dog food and treats on the same schedule as usual.

If he’s going to be spending more time alone at home, you can get him an awesome gift for the holidays: The Original Calming Donut Shag Cat & Dog Bed by Best Friends By Sheri. This is perfect for cold weather and, really, any time of year. Thanks to its round shape, the high-quality Donut Cuddler dog bed is ideal for dogs who love to curl up and relax. The raised rim creates a sense of security and provides head and neck support, and the super soft filling offers joint and muscle pain relief. Your dog will feel comfortable and cozy when he’s enjoying his bed.

When you are home, make sure that you cuddle your dog and give him as much attention as possible. After all, he’s an integral part of your family, which means that this time of year should be special for him, too.