No Alcohol for Pets This Christmas, Says British Vets

December 11th, 2019

Christmas is a time when we tend to overindulge in the celebrations so much that we kick our diet goals and get merry for the festivities. It is also a time when we invite guests and family members to spend some quality time. While we are busy bonding with the guests and family, the little pooch in our home may have a sip of the left over drinks or a quick bite of sweets and food.

This curiosity stunt of the pets may not work in their favour and they may end up having an upset stomach or alcohol poisoning. Even a small amount of alcohol is bad for your furry four-legged friends.

They may show reactions like increased anxiety and staggering, frequent urination and in extreme cases, slowed breathing and cardiac arrest.  The quote ‘curiosity kills the cat’ holds true here as vets suggest that alcohol poisoning can fatal for the animal.

Vets all over the world suggest keeping the pets away from alcoholic drinks of any kind. According to British Vets, the ratio of pets who have tried alcohol at least once in their life is one in four.

This means that 25% of all pets in the UK have tried alcohol at some point in their life and festive times like Christmas naturally increase the chances of such indulgence.

Last year, a number of veterinarians contacted the Veterinary Poisons Information Service (VPIS) to find the best treatment for drunken pets. As per reports, the number of cases recorded was 26 which used to be just 5 in the year 2000.

However, VPIS said that the actual number would be quite high as most of the cases go unreported. In fact, vets agree that during Christmas they encounter many cases where the major reason for the pet’s illness is either alcoholic drinks or toxic sweets.

Why is alcohol bad for your pets?

British vets give many reasons to support the fact that alcohol is bad for our furry friends. Some of the reasons are as follows:

Toxic ingredients: Well, the main ingredients of alcoholic beverages are extracted from plants that are toxic for dogs and cats. For example, grapes and raisins prove poisonous for animals and anything that contains them is toxic, be it wine or sweets.

Likewise, hops, the main ingredient of beer, can cause violent physical reactions in many canines. Not just immediate reactions like disorientation, vomiting or laboured breathing, but, hops can also have an adverse effect on your pet’s kidney.

Uncooked dough containing yeast is equally bad as it triggers the formation of raw alcohol in the pet’s body which leads to poisoning.

Animal physiology is not meant for alcohol: While your pet may have alcohol or eat sweets due to curiosity, hunger or boredom, they cannot digest it. Their physiology and small size are the main reasons for their alcohol intolerance.

In addition, their small size also plays a vital role in the spread of the poisonous substance which means that it takes far less alcohol to intoxicate an adult dog than an adult human. Therefore, even a small glass of wine, beer or even rum cake can trigger fatal reactions in your pet’s body.

Ethanol toxicity: Alcohol given in any configuration results in what is known as ethanol toxicity. Be it a night time cough syrup or a casual drink of wine, they all lead to alcohol poisoning or ethanol toxicosis, which affects many aspects of the animal physiology including their central nervous system and heart rates.

Digestive upsets including vomiting, diarrhoea, and troubled urination are some of the common symptoms observed when the pet ingests a small quantity of alcohol. However, if the alcohol content is more, the consequences are severe and the pet may even suffer from kidney failure and cardiac arrest.

For all these reasons, you should be very careful in keeping festive foods and drinks at the right places, which are away from the reach of your furry pals.

If you find that your cat or dog has just slurped that glass of wine or beer and is showing signs of disorientation, seizures or other abnormal behaviour then immediately contact a vet for emergency treatment.

Even other Christmas goodies like chocolates and raisins can have fatal effects on your pet’s health and should be kept at a place which is away from your pet’s reach.

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