- Not a substitute for professional veterinary help.
We’ve all heard about the health benefits of wine for humans, but what about our canine companions? Can dogs drink wine, and does it benefit them the same way it benefits humans? Is there a safe amount of wine dogs can drink?
While we may all know an owner who swears that their dog enjoys their vino, it turns out that wine isn’t a harmless beverage for dogs.
Dog livers aren’t built to process alcohol, and while some dogs may not show any overt signs of distress when imbibing the fruit of the vine, if too much is ingested, serious health problems could arise.
Read on to learn more about why wine isn’t good for your dog.
Why Can’t My Dog Drink Wine? She Loves It!
While it’s nice to think our furry best friends can enjoy all of the things we humans enjoy, alcohol is where we have to draw the line. (Just like chocolate.)
First, wine is made from grapes, which are known to be extremely toxic to some dogs. While there are no studies that show wine is as toxic to dogs as grapes, it’s a good idea to be cautious, as kidney failure can result from grape toxicity.
What’s more, in an article on PetMD, Dr. Christine Rutter of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University says that because “a dog weighs substantially less and is not used to consuming alcohol…the processes that break down alcohol are not regulated in a dog in the same way as a person who consumes alcohol once in a while.”
Thankfully, most pets simply don’t enjoy the taste of alcohol, so they generally don’t consume enough to be deadly.
Is Wine Dangerous for My Dog?
As with most toxic things, it’s the dose that determines how dangerous a substance is. According to the AKC, the published lethal oral dose for alcohol in dogs is 5.5 to 7.9 g of 100% ethanol. One milliliter of ethanol is equal to 0.789g or roughly 0.028 ounces.
That means a standard 5oz glass of wine at 20% ethanol by volume, has enough ethanol in it to intoxicate and possibly poison a dog, depending on breed and size.
It’s good to keep in mind, that while larger dogs are less at risk of ethanol poisoning, no amount of alcohol is deemed safe to give your dog. And while your dog may not exhibit symptoms at the time, prolonged exposure to alcohol may have effects that have not been studied yet.
Can Dogs Get Drunk?
In a word, yes. Dogs can become intoxicated just like humans, often becoming uncoordinated and lethargic. Some people think this behavior is hilarious, but it’s good to take a step back from your own experiences with alcohol and think about how your dog feels.
Dogs don’t know what being drunk is. All they know is that they now don’t feel well, and their body isn’t working the way it usually does.
The sudden disorientation can be very frightening, and they may panic and cause injury to themselves trying to “escape” the problem. This can lead to hiding or even increased aggression, which can make taking them to the vet harder if their symptoms progress into dangerous territory.
Ethanol Poisoning: What to Watch Out For
Ethanol toxicosis is no joke. If your dog ingests more ethanol than their system can handle, they may react much like a human that has been overserved.
Watch out for the following symptoms:
- Stumbling/Loss of coordination
What do you do if you’re suspicious your dog has gotten into the wine?
The experts at PetMD advise that if your dog is only exhibiting mild symptoms and didn’t consume a large amount of wine, letting them “sleep it off” may be the best course of action.
You will, however, want to keep an eye out for those symptoms worsening.
Some additional, serious symptoms are:
- Extremely slow and shallow breathing
- Muscle Tremors
- Decrease in body temperature
- Slowed heart rate
- Loss of consciousness/fainting
If your dog starts to show these symptoms, or you suspect they’ve gotten more than a few laps out of your wine glass, it’s best to have them be seen by a vet as soon as possible. Ethanol toxicity can be treated through IV fluids and medication but has the potential to be fatal if treatment isn’t sought.
The Bottom Line
Prevention is key when it comes to alcohol poisoning in dogs. It’s not recommended to share alcoholic drinks such as wine with your dog, and important to inform guests of the dangers so they aren’t tempted to give your dog a sip.
You’ll also want to make sure you don’t leave wine glasses out where your dog can access them, and guard your drink if there’s potential your dog will try to get a taste.
It’s natural to want to share fun moments with your pet, but we have to remember their particular health needs and the dangers some things humans enjoy pose for them.
For More Information
Top image via axel grollemund on Pexels.