With warmer weather on the horizon, the pull of bringing your pup to an outdoor brewery to enjoy a few cold ones is getting stronger. Or you may just want to give your dog a sip of a cold beer on a warm day. Before you give Spot a sip of your brew, Union Lake Veterinary Hospital is here to answer the question: can dogs have beer?

Survey Says… No

Dogs are much, much smaller than humans, and their physiology works much differently than ours does. Because of this, a very small amount of alcohol will have a huge impact on your dog’s cognitive function and overall health. Since a dog doesn’t understand the concept of being “drunk,” this mental change can make him feel afraid or anxious, which could lead to some aggressive or dangerous behavior.

A dog’s liver is also not designed to process alcohol, so he is very likely to experience alcohol toxicity or poisoning after consuming a seemingly small amount of alcohol. You should not give your dog even a few sips of your beer–some breeds will have a bad reaction to even a few tiny droplets.

Trouble with Hops When Dogs Have Beer

Hops in beer can be incredibly dangerous for your dog, so brews with higher hops counts (like IPAs) are especially bad for our canine companions. This can be especially problematic if you brew your own beer at home–and pay special attention to your hops if you have dogs in your house. If a dog ingests any amount of hops, they could develop malignant hypothermia, which could send their body temperature soaring about 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you suspect your dog has eaten some hops and see any of the following, you need to call the veterinarian right away:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

Even a few sips of alcohol can lead to really bad consequences for dogs. These can all be symptoms of alcohol poisoning in dogs:

  • Lack of coordination (stumbling, falling down, etc.)
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Excessive lethargy

Dogs with extreme alcohol poisoning might have seizures, muscle tremors, or might even faint. It is important to get a dog with alcohol poisoning medical attention as soon as possible.

Beer for Dogs

If you really, really want your dog to enjoy the experience of cracking open a cold one, there are some “beers” made just for dogs. These brews contain canine-friendly ingredients and no alcohol. Try a brand like BarkBrew Beef Ale to let your dog to partake in this enjoyable pastime. You can also invest in some doggy beer bones or even a bear-shaped toy to include your dog in the fun.

Can dogs have beer? Sadly, the answer is no for human beer.

At Union Lake Veterinary Hospital, we want to help your pets feel their best when they’re in our hospital and when they are home with you. From wellness and preventive care to surgery and pain management, we are always here for your pet’s veterinary needs. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (248)-363-1508.