Holidays are a time of gatherings that often include good times, good food, and adult beverages. However, those adult beverages can be downright dangerous to your four-legged family members. 

Whether it’s the alcohol or sugar content, ingestion can put your pet in immediate danger or cause long-term damage. Here’s how to keep your pet safe during festivities and what to watch for if they get into something they shouldn’t.

How Much Is Too Much?

dog next to beer

Alcohol is toxic to cats and dogs, and too much can be lethal. However, it’s important to consider the amount and type of alcohol your pet ingests and how much they weigh to determine the severity of the situation. The American Kennel Club states that “The published oral lethal dose in dogs is 5.5 to 7.9 g/kg of 100% ethanol. One milliliter of ethanol is equal to 0.0789 g.” With all the various alcoholic beverages available, the difference in ethanol content is extremely varied, so it’s important to be cognizant of how much your favorite drink contains. Here is a helpful guide from the AKC.

It’s also important to note the ingredients in your beverage of choice. Many mixed drinks include Xylitol, high amounts of sugar, or artificial flavorings which can be deadly to pets if ingested. Luckily, most cats and dogs have an aversion to the scent of alcohol.

What Happens If My Dog Drinks Alcohol?

dog feeling sick

First, here’s what not to do: panic.

If your pet ingests any alcohol, no matter the amount, you should begin monitoring their behavior immediately. Whether it’s beer, wine, or liquor, there will be noticeable symptoms if your dog is feeling ill as a result of alcohol toxicity. According to, these can include:

– Vomiting
– Disorientation
– High body temperature
– Restlessness
– Excessive Panting
– Muscle Tremors
– Seizures

If your pet is exhibiting any of these behaviors, or any abnormal behaviors after drinking alcohol, get them to your veterinary provider or an emergency vet immediately. If these symptoms progress without treatment, they could lead to organ failure or even death.

How Can I Avoid This?

dog at a brewery

The first and easiest thing you can do is keep all alcoholic beverages out of your dog’s reach. Whether that means in the fridge, in a cabinet, or pushed far back on a counter, make sure your pet can’t access the area or potentially knock it over. Also, make sure to never leave drinks unattended, even if you’re just getting up to run to the bathroom, and never leave drinks out overnight. 

The most common occurrence of a pet getting into alcohol happens during parties and gatherings. Don’t ever assume that your guests know your pets can’t have alcohol – make it clear to them, and also be sure to clean up anything spills as soon as possible. You could even consider placing your pet in a contained area or a different part of your home during gatherings. 

 Anything Besides Alcohol Be Dangerous?

Dog looking up at camera

Besides the general list of foods toxic to pets, there are several other foods and common household items containing ethanol and similar dangerous chemicals that could be toxic to your pet. 

Here’s a helpful guide from Wag!:
Ethanol (Alcoholic Beverages, Some Rubbing Alcohol, Drug Elixirs, Raw Bread Dough)
Methanol (Antifreeze, Windshield Washer Fluid, Other Coolants)
Isopropanol (Some Rubbing Alcohol, Alcohol-Based Flea Sprays)


There’s no reason why you can’t have both alcohol and pets in your home, but be careful when mixing the two. It only takes a few seconds for your pet to get access to that drink sitting on a side table, but the ramifications could be long-lasting and severe. If you are having a couple of drinks or a gathering of friends, make sure to take these precautions and think of your pet first! Also, don’t delay seeking treatment if you think your pet is experiencing symptoms of alcohol toxicity – just like with humans, every second counts.