My chocolate Lab loves beer! If he hears someone open up a cold one, he comes running! I’ll often pour some in a bowl for him to enjoy–especially when we’re watching football. Is this ok? A little beer every now and then won’t hurt him, right?
Enjoying a Frosty One With Fido in Forest West
Dear Enjoying a Frosty One,
It’s adorable that you enjoy spending quality time with your Lab. However, I hate to break it to you, but beer (or any alcoholic beverage) is really not OK for your dog. One of the main ingredients in beer also happens to be one of the most toxic to dogs — hops.
Hops are super toxic
It’s unclear why hops are so toxic to dogs, but the consumption of hops causes violent physical reactions in many canines. We’re talking not only about immediate physical symptoms such as vomiting, wild fluctuations in body temperature and labored breathing, but also potential, long-term kidney damage.
Dog physiology is, in any number of ways, very different to that of human owners. While humans build up a tolerance to beer and wine through responsible consumption over time, a dog’s kidneys were not meant to filter the alcohol content of alcoholic beverages. Dogs’ intolerance of alcohol in part derives from their size. It takes a much smaller amount of alcohol to poison a dog than it does an adult human. So even a little bit of alcohol can cause great harm to the animals in our homes.
Well, what about wine?
Now that we’ve ruled out beer for your dog, what about wine? There are no hops in wine …
There’s no question that seeded or seedless, the grape is nature’s candy; grapes are a sweet, juicy, delicious fruit. While the reason why is still a mystery to veterinary science, there is no question that to many dogs grapes are also toxic. That rules out anything made with or from grapes, from raisins to wine for your pooch to enjoy.
So, the short answer to your question is that, no, alcohol is never OK for your pet. I would suggest finding an alternate special treat to share with your Lab during the Super Bowl — like a favorite chew bone or toy.
However, if having a beer with him is that important of a tradition, a quick internet search for “dog beer” turned up many options for specialty beer, made just for dogs — many of which are made from broth, brewer’s yeast, carrots and potatoes — all safe for your four-legged, football-watching buddy.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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