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Party beverages unsafe for dogs

Q: We’re having a pool party, and our two Labradors have been known to drink beer and wine left sitting around. How bad is alcohol for them?

A: The amount of alcohol ingested and the dog’s body weight determine toxicity.

To keep your dogs safe, discard beverages when guests wander away, and encourage your Labs to swim or chase balls instead of scavenge for leftovers. Serve drinks in plastic, not glass, to protect canine and human feet from broken shards.

Beer and wine irritate dogs’ stomachs, causing nausea (manifested by drooling), vomiting and diarrhea. Once it’s absorbed into the blood, alcohol produces disorientation and loss of coordination. Large amounts of alcohol in dogs can cause low body temperature, respiratory depression, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest and death.

It would be a shame to have to interrupt your party to take your dogs to the emergency clinic, so warn your guests to protect your pets from accidental alcohol ingestion.

Editor’s Note: Signs of intoxication in dogs can present within 30 to 60 minutes of consumption. Know what to look for in case of accidental ingestion.

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


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