The Dangers of Alcohol and Pets

Dr Ariete Da Silva is a qualified veterinarian from the AACL in Epping. She’s teamed up with us to tell you everything you need to know about alcohol-related dangers for pets.

While alcohol toxicity in dogs and cats is rare, mostly because they are smart enough not to like the taste, the consequences of accidental exposure can be severe, and even result in death. Alcohol poisoning is more commonly seen in dogs.

Signs of alcohol poisoning

Symptoms of alcohol toxicity can be seen within 30-60 minutes of consumption and include nausea, vomiting, excessive thirst, dehydration, appearing off balance or disorientated, tremors, depression or weakness, difficulty breathing, and, in severe cases, pets may even become comatose or unresponsive.

Alcohol irritates the stomach and intestinal tract directly, and can result in nausea and vomiting. Vomiting while intoxicated is concerning because there is always a risk that vomitus can accidentally be inhaled which can result in a lung infection. Alcohol is also a potent central nervous system depressant which decreases essential life sustaining activities in the brain and spinal cord.

Other household products that can lead to alcohol intoxication

All common alcoholic beverages are considered potentially toxic to your pets. However, there are a few standard household products that may also cause alcohol intoxication. These include: mouthwash, perfume, aftershave, cologne, hand sanitisers, certain cleaning agents, certain liquid medications and even rotting or fermenting fruits. Raw bread and pizza dough can also result in toxicity when consumed. In these cases, you can often see a bloated abdomen or pets becoming very sensitive to touch around the abdomen. This is because excessive alcohol and gas are produced simultaneously as the dough is fermenting in the stomach.

What to do in a case of emergency

Management of alcohol intoxication consists mostly of supportive and symptomatic treatment. This includes intravenous fluids to correct dehydration and help the kidneys dispose of toxic products faster, medication for nausea, vomiting, tremors, seizures and breathing. If detected early enough (within the first 15-30 minutes) emesis (vomiting) can be induced to expel the ingested alcohol. In the case of dough ingestion, your pet’s stomach may need to be flushed to remove the dough and wash out the alcohol that has been produced.

If you are concerned your pet may have ingested any alcohol-containing products you should seek the assistance of your veterinarian as soon as possible. In emergencies and if you can’t reach your veterinarian, make sure that you call an emergency after-hours veterinary clinic for advice on how to induce emesis in your pet at home. Do not attempt to induce emesis in a dog that is already vomiting, weak, seizing, or unable to lift its head, stand, or swallow normally. Even if you have effectively induced vomiting and your pet does not show any or mild symptoms, you should still seek veterinary attention to err on the side of caution. This is another reason you should buy a pet insurance policy. It can help you get your fuzzy wuzzy the best veterinary care. 

In most cases, chances of recovery are good, depending on what complications have occurred during the time of intoxication. Recovery can take anywhere from 12-24 hours if no concurrent problems are detected.

Make sure you store all alcoholic beverages, household, cosmetic and cleaning products containing alcohol in a place where your pets will not be able to access them. Do not leave bread dough out to rise where they can reach it and ensure you dispose of rotting or fermenting fruits appropriately. Always keep a close eye on your pets when entertaining guests or keep them in a separate area.

Ensure your Pet Is Covered

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Disclaimer: Rogz Pet Insurance is not responsible or liable for any advice or any other information provided herein.


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  3. (n.d.). Frontiers in Veterinary Science. [online] Available at: [Accessed 17 Feb. 2022].
  4. Paul Pion, D.V.M. and Spadafori, G. (2017). Veterinary Partner. [online] Available at: