What To Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol 

Four Minutes
Dec 18, 2023

Say you’re hosting the perfect New Year’s Eve party with all your best friends, including your dog. While the champagne was only intended for human attendees, your dog accidentally drank alcohol. What do you do if your dog gets a sip (or a full glass) of one of your celebratory drinks?

Can dogs drink beer? What about wine? If you’re wondering if alcohol is bad for dogs, you’ve come to the right place. Beer, wine, and other alcohols are toxic to dogs and can cause an upset stomach, seizures, difficulty breathing, and more.1 Let’s take a deeper look at what happens if a dog drinks alcohol and how to treat your pup.

What To Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol

If your dog gets a few sips of wine, beer, or spirits, the first thing you should do is call your vet or the pet poison helpline. If you have a MetLife Pet Insurance policy, you may also have access to our 24/7 online vet chat through the MetLife Pet app.

Tell the vet how much your dog weighs, what kind of alcoholic drink they got into, and how much they drank. Pay special attention to any chocolate liqueurs or artificial sweeteners in the drink, since both are also toxic to dogs. Then, describe any symptoms your dog is having so the vet can gauge the severity of the poisoning. They may tell you to monitor your pup or, in more severe cases, bring them to an emergency vet. Either way, follow their instructions.

Taking your dog to an emergency vet can be scary, but it’s likely the best way to protect them. Vets are here to help! There are a few dog alcohol poisoning treatments your vet may recommend. They may induce vomiting to clear the toxin from your dog or put them on intravenous fluids to replenish them. Intubation may also be necessary depending on your dog’s symptoms.1

Accidents Happen, Pet Insurance Can Help

Be Prepared

Why Alcohol Is Toxic to Dogs

There are a few ingredients in alcohol that make it toxic to dogs: the ethanol in all alcoholic beverages, the hops used to brew beer, and the grapes in wine.2 As with many poisons, the amount of alcohol your dog ingests matters. A smaller dose may only cause an upset stomach, while a larger dose of any of these ingredients can affect their central nervous system, cause organ failure, or lead to death.1

It’s not just drinks you should watch out for either, since you can find ethanol in lots of different things. Rubbing alcohol, syrups, hand sanitizer, and even raw bread dough all contain ethanol.3

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

So what happens if a dog drinks alcohol? The signs of alcohol intoxication can show up moments after your dog ingests some. While stomach irritation is the most common symptom, alcohol can also affect other organs or even irritate your dog’s eyes if they get splashed.1

How much alcohol will kill a dog and how much will just make them sick? The severity of your dog’s reaction to alcohol may vary depending on their size and how much they drank.4 This can range from mild to critical. According to the American Kennel Club, 5.5 – 7.9 g/kg of 100% ethanol is considered a lethal dose. Here are some common dog alcohol poisoning symptoms to watch out for:4

  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness or collapse
  • Lack of coordination
  • Slowed breathing
  • Seizures
  • Low body temperature
  • Low heart rate
  • Low blood sugar
Dog drinking from a glass of alcohol

Preventing Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs

Your dog may be welcome at your holiday party, but it’s important to keep anything alcoholic away from them. Prioritize your pup’s safety whenever there’s alcohol around.

Keep any alcoholic drinks out of reach, never leave your drink unattended, and tell any guests to do the same. If something spills, don’t let your dog lap it up. Grab your dog quickly and put them in a different room until you clean it up.

If you want to include your dog in the festivities, you can provide them with their own fun drink. Give them chicken broth or, if you’re feeling really fancy, dog beer. Some breweries make a special brew with water, bone broth, fruits, veggies, and glucosamine for dogs. Dog beers are a safe alternative, so your pup can celebrate with you.4

Does Pet Insurance Cover Alcohol Poisoning in Dogs?

Alcohol poisoning in dogs is scary, but vet bills don’t have to be. If your dog drank a beer, dog insurance can help cover the cost of an emergency vet visit and any treatment your dog may need. Between our comprehensive coverage and 24/7 online vet chat, consider if MetLife Pet Insurance is worth it for you this holiday season.

Get started with a free quote today to celebrate the holidays with confidence.

Pet Insurance Can Help Cover Pet Injury & Illness Costs


**As with any insurance policy, coverage may vary. Review our coverage and exclusions.


1 “WHAT HAPPENS IF MY DOG DRANK ALCOHOL?,” Pet Poison Helpline, 2022

2 “Can Dogs Drink Alcohol?,” Great Pet Care, 2022

3 “Hold the Eggnog: What to Do If Your Dog Drank Alcohol,” Outward Hound, 2022

4 “What to Do if Your Dog Drinks Alcohol,” American Kennel Club, 2023

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