Expert Author Peter Demmon

Dogs are known scavengers. They will eat or taste just about everything that they find. This can make it potentially heartbreaking and expensive for a dog owner. Not only should a dog owner make a point of not feeding specific foods to their dog, but they should also make sure that the dog will have absolutely no access to certain foods. If you do a cursory search on the Internet for a comprehensive list of foods that your pet dog should not eat, the main culprits make themselves immediately obvious. Most of the foods that are not good for dogs will not kill your pet outright with a limited dose, but they can be fatal if abused. In part two of this series, I am going to address alcohol.

Dogs simply do not process alcohol the way that humans do. They require a lot less before they get "tipsy." The ethanol in alcoholic beverages is actually toxic for a dog. The complications (depending upon the dosage) can be rather severe. Furthermore, a tipsy dog isn't funny, but more of a statement of how irresponsible his owner is. Most disturbing is that a person who actively attempts to get their dog drunk is running the serious risk of killing their pet.

When a dog consumes too much alcohol, an amalgam of standard poisoning effects come into play. Vomiting, diarrhea, ataxia (lack of muscle coordination), urination issues, and dehydration are the main symptoms. Drunken responses such as heavy breathing, lethargy, slower reflexes, and impaired mental skills also become obvious. The dog's heart rate adjusts and fluctuates with the alcohol content, and the dog's kidneys now work overtime to flush the alcohol out of the system. Unfortunately, high doses of alcohol can lead to seizures, collapse (blackout), coma and possibly even death for a dog. The thing is that dogs require a lot less alcohol in order to be put over the threshold of alcohol intoxication or poisoning.

The concept of one drinking an alcoholic beverage with their dog, or at least, a beverage referred to as a "beer" is something that has captured the minds of many different dog owners and breweries. If you do a search online for beer for dogs online, you will definitely find some non-alcoholic, non-carbonated suds for your pet. Perhaps this is the solution for dog owners that just have to tilt one back with their dog. Other than that, the stuff is dangerous. In fact, it is generally accepted that a dog that has ingested enough alcohol to have him act "off" is grounds enough to take him to the vet.

In the case of alcohol poisoning, there are a few different things that a veterinarian might do. One is to do an ethanol blood test to determine how much alcohol is in the dog's system. If the amount of alcohol in the dog's system is lethal, the veterinarian may have the drunken dog ingest some activated charcoal. Activated charcoal, while not specifically useful in the absorption of alcohol, will probably do the trick. It works for both human beings and dogs as a decontaminant. It literally absorbs the poison that is in the stomach and in the intestine. Interestingly enough, the power of activated charcoal against poisons was demonstrated in front of the French Academy of Medicine in 1931. A man named Professor Touery drank a strychnine/ charcoal cocktail to demonstrate the value of the charcoal. He lived, and that is how activated charcoal became a catch-all for consumed toxins. Unfortunately, this is just about the best that a drunken dog can get from a vet outside of some intravenous rehydration.

One other suggestion that comes up regularly is the idea of forcing your dog to vomit if he has consumed a lethal amount of alcohol. There are several sites online with explanations on how to achieve this. However, forcing a dog to vomit sounds potentially dangerous, and possibly something that should be done with the assistance of a vet. Most vets have a number that can be called 24 hours a day for the determination if an animal should be taken in for observation or treatment. If a forced vomiting is necessary, the vet will explain that over the phone.

The best solution for this issue is prevention. Alcohol that humans drink isn't the only issue with dogs and alcohol poisoning. Mouthwash contains alcohol as do other bathroom items such as aftershaves and perfumes. The truth of the matter is that a dog is going to probably sample anything that smells amusing and is available. It is up to dog owners to make sure that these items are out of dog-reach. If you determine that your dog has consumed an unspecified amount of alcohol do yourself and your dog a favor and take him to the vet immediately.

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