A dog that enjoys alcohol is more common than you think.
My friend’s pup would knock over a beer bottle she set down on the table.
Then, Fido will have a taste of the spilled beer.
It was a behavior that worried my friend…
Until I told her why her dog does that.
Wanna know too?
Continue reading to find out:
- If dogs can handle alcohol well.
- 5 mind-blowing reasons why dogs like beers.
- Whether dogs can become addicted to beer or not.
- How much beer is dangerous for dogs (and when you should be worried).
- And many more…
Table of contents
Can dogs drink beer?
Dogs can’t drink beer. They have smaller and weaker livers, so they can’t handle alcohol well. As a result, they’ll be intoxicated faster and longer than humans. Also, ethanol in alcoholic beverages is toxic to dogs. And it can be lethal when ingested in large amounts.
Why dogs like beer – 5 reasons
#1: They’re enticed by its sweetness
Okay. First things first.
Dogs want a sip of your beer, not because they wish to get drunk…
But because it tastes sweet.
You may have spilled a beer before. Then your pooch licked it up and found it sugary.
“Do dogs have a sweet tooth?”
Experts say that canines are most fond of sweet food.
And this is because their tastebuds react highly to ‘furaneol.’
“What is it?”
Furaneol is a chemical found in fruits.
And it’s believed to be a familiar flavor to dogs.
It’s because, in the wild, canines eat whatever fruit is available nearby if meat is scarce.
But aside from sweetness…
Fidos can also taste if something’s sour, bitter, or salty.
However, they can’t taste the latter well.
“Why does beer taste sweet?”
It’s because sugar is a vital ingredient in making beer.
To create one, you must first make a ‘wort.’
It’s a product of extracted sugars from the grain.
And then you’ll boil the liquid and add hops to it, making the wort bitter.
Then to convert the wort to beer, you have to ferment it.
Now, during the process, the yeast eats the sugar in the liquid. Then it’ll produce alcohol and carbon dioxide.
So this is the main reason dogs are drawn to beer like bees to honey.
Fun fact: Unlike us, dogs have taste buds intended only for tasting water. Experts say these are at the tip of the tongue. And these also make dogs drink more water whenever they eat sweets and salty food.
It’s believed to be nature’s way of keeping Fidos healthy.
By drinking more fluids, they’ll be able to flush away any substances they ingested.
But if your dog drinks a lot of water at night, it can be due to other reasons. Say dry air, UTI, or diarrhea.
#2: They’re attracted to its ‘malty aroma’
Beer has a strong scent that some people may or may not like.
Others describe it as a ‘malty aroma.’ While some say it’s similar to the smell of overripe fruit.
But whichever the case is, one thing’s for sure.
Its sweet, interesting smell allures our furry friends. So they’d like to try it.
“Why do beers smell sweet?”
The yeast that ferments beer also gives off a ‘fruity aroma.’
So this is why some people compare it to rotten fruit. And why it smells sweet.
Also, besides the scent of beer…
Some dogs can also be attracted to the smell of other fluids like rainwater. And they may even prefer it to tap water.
If you want to know more, read this article: Why do dogs like drinking rainwater?
#3: They’re curious about it
Dogs have up to 300 million receptors in their noses, making them smell 10,000 times better than us.
And that’s why they mostly use their sense of smell to explore the world.
Now, dogs being dogs…
They’ll sniff anything that they can smell. And Fidos will also lick whatever is around them.
So the moment you sit down and crack a beer…
Your pooch will be able to detect it right away.
And your dog will have so many questions in their head…
“Woah. Where is that interesting scent coming from?
Is it inside the can that my human holds?
Hmm…I wonder what it tastes like.”
So your Fido will stare at you. Then they’ll use their puppy eyes to beg for some beer to feed their curiosity.
#4: They only want what their parents are having
Now, apart from being curious…
Some dogs may also want to be involved in whatever their humans do.
May it be eating a delicious steak, watching Netflix in bed, and even popping some beer.
This kind of Fidos will also follow you everywhere you go – even to the bathroom.
And the dogs might be doing this to receive attention from their humans. Or it’s only a specific trait in their breed.
So if this is why your pooch begs you for some beer…
They’re not as attracted to the drink as dogs who are lured to it by its scent or taste.
So you don’t have to worry about your dog getting ‘hooked’ to it.
Now, why did I mention this?
It’s because, in some cases, dogs also like beer because…
#5: They’re ‘addicted’ to it
Lastly, if humans can be obsessed with beer…
Can dogs turn into alcoholics too?
Based on Dr. Hansen, there are anecdotal records of dogs who are encouraged to drink at parties.
As well as stories of Fidos who enjoy stealing a sip of their human’s beer.
And there are drunk fruit-eating monkeys too who love alcohol in rotting fruits.
So when you consider these things…
He says that dogs can become hooked on alcohol.
And a beer’s sweet scent and taste aren’t helping to repel them.
But let me be clear here.
Dogs don’t become dependent on alcohol like some humans
Canines only like the beer’s sweetness and aroma. And if they repeat the behavior, it’s more likely due to reinforcement.
Meaning, they were allowed to do so in the past.
So if your dog already tried drinking some beer before and you didn’t scold them for it…
They’ll likely do it again.
But as I said earlier…
A dog’s liver can’t handle alcohol
A sip of beer may not put their life in danger right away.
But if a dog continues doing so, or if they ingest a drink with higher alcohol content…
It can cause symptoms ranging from simple dizziness to severe breathing problems.
Scientists found that even the monkeys I mentioned above have brain damage.
And the study says that it’s due to their regular consumption of alcohol.
“What are the effects of alcohol on dogs?”
You can find ethanol in alcoholic drinks.
So dogs can ingest it through beers. But it can also be absorbed by their skin.
And when it enters their body…
It’ll affect their central nervous system.
PetMD says that this may occur within 15 to 30 minutes after consumption when a dog’s stomach is empty.
While it can take up to 2 hours on a full stomach.
And the first common symptom of ethanol poisoning in dogs is drowsiness.
They’ll lose coordination like a drunkard.
Then the Fido may experience these other signs:
- Involuntary peeing/defecating.
And if a dog ingested large amounts…
They might have:
- Slow reflexes.
- A low body temperature (‘hypothermia’).
“How much ethanol is deadly for dogs?”
According to experts, to experience the severe signs above…
A dog must consume 0.24 to 0.34 oz/lb (7 to 10 ml/kg) per their body weight of 100% ethanol.
And beers usually have 3% to 9% of ethanol. So a sip won’t be fatal to our furry friends.
But still, drinking alcohol shouldn’t be encouraged.
“What to do if my dog drinks beer?”
If your pooch is only drowsy, let it rest and drink lots of water.
Usually, dogs with mild cases of alcohol poisoning recover fast.
But if your Fido drank a large amount, and they’re showing other signs too…
Seek a veterinarian asap.
Warning: Severe cases of poisoning may lead to death in dogs. And vets say that this is due to respiratory failure.