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People toasting the new year with dog nearby

Holiday beverages toxic to pets

Q: I make craft beer, and my two young Lab mixes, Avery and Rogue, are attracted to the hops. Are hops toxic to dogs?

A: Hops, both raw and spent, are extremely toxic to dogs. Reports of poisoning have increased in recent years with the growing popularity of home brewing.

Soon after the ingestion of hops, the dog develops malignant hyperthermia, a condition in which their body temperature soars to over 105 degrees. Heart rate and breathing rate increase, and the dog may salivate excessively or vomit. Even with immediate, aggressive treatment, the condition is sometimes fatal.

New Year’s Eve is a good time to remind everyone—even those without furry family members—that alcoholic beverages are toxic to pets. If you go to a party in the home of a family with a pet, don’t leave your glass unattended.

Unfortunately, dogs are very susceptible to the effects of alcohol, which depresses the central nervous system. Signs of intoxication become evident within 30 to 60 minutes. Death, though uncommon, has occurred.

Over the holidays and throughout the new year, protect Avery and Rogue from hops, beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages.

Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at

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