Can Dogs Taste Beer?

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Introduction

Beer - you either love it or hate it. If you like it, you probably keep some in the house most of the time. Having an icy, cold beer after work, on the weekends, or during a party or BBQ with family and friends is an essential part of the summertime for many people. You may have felt tempted before to give your dog a little lick of beer to see if they like this beverage too, but we highly recommend against that. Beer and alcohol are toxic to dogs, and even the smallest amount has the potential to harm them and their body seriously. 

It is important to remember that many foods and drinks we can consume safely are toxic and very bad for your pooch. Let's talk a bit more about beer and why it is so bad for dogs. 

Signs of a Dog Intoxicated by Beer

We certainly hope you have not given your dog beer to get them intoxicated, but if you have, or if your dog accidentally got into a leftover bottle of beer you left on the table, there are some telltale signs your dog is intoxicated. This is very scary and has the potential for life-threatening, severe side effects. A drunk dog is a dangerous dog, and even the smallest amount of beer can cause behavioral changes, vomiting, and seizures.   

When your dog drinks even a small amount of this alcoholic beverage, it absorbs into their system very quickly. It goes into their bloodstream, and signs your dog is intoxicated and has ethanol poisoning can show up anywhere between 30 minutes and 2 hours. 

If your dog starts showing odd behavioral changes, such as barking, biting, snapping, shaking, recklessness, and unusual movement, this indicates a severe issue. Additional symptoms may include confusion, loss of balance, improper walking, vomiting, urinating much more than usual, or having a hard time peeing. 

If your dog shows any combination of these symptoms and you suspect they got into some beer, you need to speak with your vet right away. This is a hazardous condition, and your dog will need proper medical treatment as soon as possible. 

Body Language

These are some signs you may notice if your dog has had too much beer:
  • Barking
  • Shaking
  • Weakness
  • Lack of focus
  • Snapping
  • Head bobbing
  • Tongue hanging
  • Sleepiness

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you may notice if your dog has had too much beer:
  • Urinating a lot or having trouble urinating
  • Changes in their behavior
  • Stumbling around and changes in their movements
  • Vomiting, dizziness, and confusion

History of Dogs and Beer

Beer has a long and rich history. It dates back to around 5,000 BC where Egyptians wrote down recipes and brewing processes for beer. Back then, beer was not brewed with hops but made with ingredients like sweet dates, tart pomegranates, and even fresh and flavorful herbs and spices. The brewing process was not nearly as refined as it is today, so the flavor of these beers was likely very harsh and pungent. 

Even before the Egyptians wrote down recipes for their beers, we believe that a form of beer was created in Mesopotamia around 10,000 BC where they would ferment ingredients like yeast and barley in bowls. Back then, beer was generally consumed in religious ceremonies and brewed for only special and meaningful celebrations. It is unlikely dogs would have tried and been feed any beer since it was seen as a special and religious-based beverage. 

Today, beer is one of the most popular alcoholic beverages in the world. There are so many different varieties to choose from. From large name-brands to small, independent microbreweries, there is something for almost everyone to love. We also know that that beer and alcohol is dangerous for dogs or any other type of animal to consume, even in the smallest quantities. You should refrain from sharing any amount of beer with your pup to keep them safe and healthy. 

Science Behind Dogs and Beer

Let's go into a little more detail about why beer is so dangerous for your dog. Beer contains something called ethanol, and it is absorbed into your dog's system very quickly. Once this happens, your dog's body has a hard time processing the ethanol because they are not equipt to handle this substance, hence the reason ethanol poisoning is so prevalent in dogs that are fed or accidentally get into a beer. 

If this happens, it is a life-threatening condition that needs prompt medical treatment.  

Furthermore, beer can also have other side effects for your pooch as well. They can start to vomit uncontrollably, which will lead to severe dehydration. Dehydration will leave them weak, lethargic, and very sick. Beer can also lead to brain damage because the blood sugar level may drop so low from the beer it cuts off circulation to the brain. 

Liver, kidney, and heart failure are also common. Your dog's kidneys and liver cannot process and handle beer and alcohol properly, so even a minimal amount of beer can cause these vital organs to fail. We see heart failure as well because the alcohol is absorbed directly into their bloodstream, which affects the function of their heart. 

In some cases, we also see dogs go into comas as well, if enough is consumed, and in the most extreme cases, death is possible.  

Helping Your Dog Steer Clear of Beer

We hope your dog never gets into a beer, but if they do, you should know what to do and how to react. You should always be prepared for these types of situations. The first thing you must do is figure out as quickly as you can that your dog has gotten into a beer, or if it is even possible they did. 

If so, you must take them to the vet or the nearest vet emergency facility right away for the proper medical care. The sooner you get your dog to the vet, preferably before they even begin to show symptoms, their chances of recovery are very high! They will only have to spend a day at the vet getting treatment, and they can go home with you the same day. 

We also recommend keeping any beers, both open and unopen, as far away from your dog as possible, so you do not even get to the point of having to take them to the vet. Keep beers in the fridge or in a cooler that closes tightly so they cannot get into it. Make sure open beers during a party or just at home are left in a place your dog is never able to reach. 

How to React if Your Dog has Beer:

  • Call your vet immediately for advice.
  • Assess how much they have consumed.
  • Take into consideration the weight and size of your dog.

Safety Tips for Keeping Dogs Away from Beer:

  • Keep beer out of reach at all times.
  • Never give your dog a lick of beer.