Dogs can become intoxicated by consuming alcohol. What are the risks, and how does this intoxication manifest itself in dogs?
Alcohol and dogs: where is the risk?
The most common alcohol in our daily life is ethanol. It is “food” alcohol found in alcoholic drinks left within reach of its truffle, fermented fruit rotting in the trash, an orchard or compost, or raw bread dough. And, it’s in all of these forms that a dog can absorb it. Be especially wary of alcoholic drinks such as fruit juice cocktails which are very appealing to dogs because of their sweet taste, which masks the taste of alcohol. Dogs are also very fond of raw bread dough. Not only a source of ethanol, but it can also continue to swell in the dog’s stomach and cause severe damage.
Ethanol or another form of alcohol, methanol, is also found in many other products such as perfumes, antiseptics, methylated spirits and windshield washer fluids. Unfortunately, methanol is also toxic to dogs if swallowed.
Finally, isopropanol is a third source of alcohol, which can be responsible for intoxication in dogs. It is found in some flea sprays, and intoxication then occurs through the skin.
What are the toxic doses of alcohol for dogs?
Alcohol toxic doses are not well defined, but lethal doses in dogs are known, understand the amounts at which a dog has a significant risk of dying if absorbed. They are of:
15 ml of 40% alcohol per kg for ethanol,
4 to 8 ml of methanol per kg of body weight.
What are the signs of alcohol poisoning in dogs?
Alcohol acts on the central nervous system as well as on the metabolism of the animal.
The first symptoms of alcohol poisoning appear very quickly, between 30 and 60 minutes, after ingestion because it is absorbed by the dog’s digestive system very quickly. The signs can be digestive, nervous, respiratory, cardiac and metabolic. The dog may suffer from disorientation, uncoordinated movements, tremors. He can vocalize or get excited and then downcast. He may also have difficulty breathing, suffer from intense thirst followed by the urge to urinate (polyuropolydispia), heart problems, hypoglycemia and hypothermia.
In severe poisoning, the dog may go into a coma and convulse.
My dog has been drinking alcohol: what to do and what remedy?
If your dog has become poisoned with alcohol, the only thing to do if liquor is to call your veterinarian or a veterinary poison control centre as soon as possible.
While waiting to take him to a veterinarian, you can give a dog who has eaten raw bread dough icy water to drink to slow the fermentation of the yeast.
If the poisoning occurred through contact with your pet’s skin, you could perform skin decontamination on your dog by washing him with Marseille soap or his usual shampoo. Before taking him to the veterinarian.
There is no antidote, but your veterinarian can initiate treatment for your pet’s symptoms. Except in cases of severe poisoning, the animal’s prognosis is generally good and even more so if the animal is taken care of quickly by a veterinarian.